A buyer's guide to windows

A buyer’s guide to windows

If you are considering replacing your current windows or designing a new home,  Neil Ginger, CEO of Origin, a UK specialist manufacturer of bi-folding doors and windows, has 10 tips to help you choose the right window for your property, things to look out for and the questions to ask.

What type of window do I need?
Selecting the right window for a home can be a daunting task given all the styles available. One of the easiest ways to choose is to decide upon the main function required– to let in more light, provide a view, add ventilation or to enhance the space within a room– this will enable you to choose which type you need, whether it’s a casement, bay or gable window,or perhaps a roof-light for extra light, or in fact a French Door to serve as an entrance.

What type of frame will suit my style of home?
Frame strength and durability are important factors to consider when investing in a window system.

uPVC – is usually the cheaper option and has thicker sightlines than aluminium, due to the material not being, in our opinion, as innately strong, meaning less glass and subsequently, less light.

Timber – can look great in certain types of property and offers a warm feel, but like uPVC, tends to have wide sightlines, and requires maintenance to keep it looking good and working well, especially when in direct sunlight.

Aluminium – offers strength and weight, allowing for narrow frames and better sightlines. It is low maintenance and tends to come with longer guarantees, as it is resilient to flexing, expanding or contracting.

How do I ensure my windows are thermally efficient?
The best indicators of thermal efficiency are U-Values. U-Values show the amount of heat lost in watts (W) per square metre of material, so the lower the number, the better the thermal efficiency. For windows, the U-Values in the UK must be 1.6 W/(m2K) for replacements and up to 2.0W/(m2K) for new builds and extensions.

Also enquire about additional upgrades to increase thermal performance. For example, Origin offers Aerogel which boosts the window’s thermal efficiency, making it capable of achieving a U-Value of 0.9 and energy rating of A++.

How can I be sure the windows will suit my style of home?
Depending on the style of your property, you may opt to enhance it by installing coloured exterior and/ or interior window frames. Many manufacturers offer a choice of finishes, colours and styling, allowing full customisation to create a perfectly integrated look.

I would also recommend looking for a supplier that can provide the option of having internal and external flush casement. This enables the sash of the window to sit perfectly in line with the frame, and with no overlapping profile, it ensures a smart and elegant appearance. This timeless finish therefore lends itself to all home styles, including traditional townhouses, new builds and projects under strict planning regulations.

What type of guarantee?
The standard industry guarantee is 10 years, but make sure you find out what’s included in this. Some manufacturers will offer different warranties on the paint and components. For example, the Origin guarantee is for 20 years on its window which covers all manufactured parts as well as the powder coated finish.

Budget required?
Prices can range drastically. The price for an aluminium window with an internal and external flush casement would be approximately £300 for 1200mm x 1200mm, without glazing or installation.

How quickly will the products be delivered?
Standard industry lead time can be anything from four to eight weeks. However, Origin can deliver your windows on an‘industry-first’one week lead time in eleven popular colours, and a three week lead time for the further 150 shades.

What security requirements should I look for?
There are a couple of things you should look out for when choosing a window:

  • That the whole system conforms to PAS 24 security standards
  • That the window has been installed with Yale’s highly renowned and dependable Encloser Lock, which features bi-directional locking technology
  • Hinge guards to be installed as standard – this protects the hinges as well as blocking intruders from jemmying the window open
  • Frames should be mechanically crimped for the most secure system

Determine the orientation of the sun before choosing your windows
If you are designing a new home, consider the direction of the rising and setting sun. This will enable you to determine the size of the window you require and the amount of light you’d like coming into a room, whether it be the morning or afternoon sun. Whatever window you choose, make sure it’s designed to keep your rooms cool in hot weather, and your home warm when it is chilly.

Try before you buy
We’d always recommend physically seeing the windows in-situ and operating them before you buy. The best place to do this is in a window & door showroom; they often have more than one window system in place, so you can compare and talk through any other questions with experts.

www.origin-global.com

About Georgina Bisby

Georgina Bisby
Georgina Bisby is a journalist and editor with extensive experience covering construction and industrial news and technology, including a particular focus on health and safety, energy and environmental issues.

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