There are so many different windows around that choosing the right ones can be a bit of a baffling process. However, it’s important to get windows that suit you and your property so that you’re happy with them and they’re worth the investment.
There are two main things that you have to pick when choosing new windows: material and style. You also need to check whether you need to apply for planning permission to fit new windows in your home.
Read on to learn more about window materials, styles and planning law.
1. Pick the material
The most common window frame materials are uPVC, wood and aluminium. Different ones tend to suit different properties and people.
uPVC is affordable and generally the cheapest window material. It’s also durable, low maintenance and long-lasting. uPVC is energy-efficient as it is a good insulator, so will keep your energy bills down. It’s also available in lots of different colours and finishes – so white isn’t your only option.
However, uPVC does have its downsides. It can become brittle over time and isn’t particularly environmentally-friendly as it isn’t biodegradable. uPVC can also look cheap compared to other materials and can look a bit a bit odd in period properties.
Wood is another option when you’re choosing a frame material. It’s long-lasting and environmentally-friendly, as it can be recycled. Wood has great thermal efficiency to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. It also has lots of character and can look particularly good in older buildings.
Unfortunately, wood frames aren’t perfect. They need maintaining, more so than uPVC. If not they can crack, rot or warp out of shape. Wood is also considerably more expensive than uPVC frames.
Aluminium is another popular window frame material. Like uPVC and wood it is long-lasting. It’s also low maintenance and durable. Lots of people choose to use aluminium because it’s versatile; it comes in lots of different colours and can be made to fit any size or shape of window.
However, there are some downsides to aluminium. Poor-quality aluminium can be a bad insulator, so you need to make sure you get the right type. Aluminium frames can also be very expensive, so aren’t ideal if you’re on a budget.
2. Select your style
There are lots of different window styles available. What you choose depends on the look you’re after and how you want to use your windows. These are some of the most popular styles available:
Casement windows are a really popular style. They have hinges on one side and either come in singles or in a pair. Pairs share a frame and are hinged on the sides furthest away from each other. You can find casement windows in most domestic homes and can get them in uPVC, wood and aluminium.
Awning windows hinge at the top and open outwards. They’re usually relatively small and are fitted above casement windows. Awning windows are popular because, as they are quite small, you can open them to ventilate a room without losing too much heat.
Sash windows are a fairly old style of window. They were introduced in the late 17th century and are commonly found in Georgian and Victorian properties. Sash windows open at the bottom and slide up horizontally.
3. Check planning law
Before you go ahead and get the windows that you want, make sure you check to see whether you need planning permission. If you’re replacing existing windows with similar-looking ones, you shouldn’t normally need to apply for planning permission. But if your home is listed or on designated land you probably will need to apply for planning permission. Take a look at our article on window planning permission for more information.