Checklist for choosing replacement windows

When the time comes to replace your windows, making the right choice from the huge variety that’s available can be daunting.

But, with a little help, you can quickly narrow down the options and find the perfect new windows for your home.

Style

When choosing replacement windows, you should start by considering the style and character of your home. Is it a period property or a contemporary design? Do you want to choose windows which will subtly blend in with your home or make a dramatic statement by making a radical change?

PVCu windows
These dark grey PVCu windows create a striking contrast to the brickwork and timber cladding.

There are no right or wrong answers here, the choice is entirely yours!

More about choosing windows for a period property.

Type

Windows are available in many styles, sizes and finishes, either “off the shelf” or manufactured to your unique requirements. Generally, homeowners tend to opt for replacement windows to match the original ones, however you don’t necessarily have to do this. A change might enhance the character and style of your property.

For example, bow or bay windows will tend to give any room a more spacious feel and can create an open, expansive view of the garden.

PVCu bay window fitted at a characterful property in Haywards Heath.

To really bring the outside into your home, large picture windows are a fabulous choice.

Or something more unusual, such as a round, semi-circle or arched window, will provide a more unique feature.

Frames

When selecting the type of material for your window frames there are a few things to consider…

Material

Generally, window frames are made from either PVCu, aluminium or timber. Each of these options has its own pros and cons.

While timber provides a traditional finish, it requires much more ongoing maintenance than the alternatives. Both PVCu and aluminium frames are robust, long-lasting and low maintenance. Aluminium gives you a slightly slimmer profile, reminiscent of Crittal windows, and particularly suitable for contemporary homes. PVCu windows provide you with a totally maintenance free and stylish option with a slightly lower cost.

Like timber, both aluminium and PVCu can be colour coated to any RAL colour you choose. In addition, woodgrain finishes are available, which can be almost indistinguishable from real timber frames.

Slim aluminium window frames fitted at a property in Maresfield.

White is enduringly popular, a variety of popular colour options are also gaining favour. For rural properties, in particular, many are choosing heritage pastel colours, such as sage green, agate grey and cream. Dual colour coatings are also an option but come with a premium in cost.

Profile dimensions

The width of the frame will not only impact the appearance of your windows, but also the amount of light which enters your home. Thanks to modern manufacturing methods, ultra slim frames are available in both PVCu and aluminium.

Our Sheerline aluminium windows have slim frames that allow the light to flood in.

Glazing

Double glazed windows suit most homeowners and provide a good level of energy efficiency, though some prefer triple glazing in order to further enhance the sound insulation.

The energy efficient sealed units incorporate argon gas between the two panes, maximising the energy efficiency of the windows and helping prevent condensation accumulating between the panes or even on the surfaces. Ideally you should look for windows with an energy efficiency ‘A’ rating.

For large expanses of glazing you can also consider using glass with a UV protective coating, to minimise the risk of furniture or carpets fading.

Operation

Most windows, except large picture windows, will open to some extent. The way they open will have a bearing on how you can ventilate your home, the safety of young children and how easy they are to clean.

Sliding sash windows

These windows have two or more sections (called “sashes”) which slide vertically to open.

“Tilt and turn” style windows can sometimes provide a practical alternative. This is where the opening sashes tilt inwards for ease of cleaning.

Traditional casement style windows

Casement is the terminology for conventionally opening windows, usually hinged at the side, opening out and operated with either a handle or a crank.

Fanlight or “top hung” windows

Like casement windows, these are hinged, the opening is “push out” and “top hung”. These are often smaller windows ideal for providing ventilation.

This configuration includes two casement windows, a fixed central window and an awning window at the top.

Decorative features

A range of decorative features are available to complete the look of your windows. These include:

Astragal bars can form a stylish decorative border around your windows.

Window furniture (hardware)

“Window furniture” refers to all the fixings which enable the window to operate, these are both aesthetic as well as practical, functional choices, including handles, hinges, catches, pulleys and locks.

“Monkey tail” handles complete a traditional look.

Due to the fact that most of the window furniture is on the inside of the windows, you’ll be spending a lot of time looking at it, so it’s important to be happy with your choices.

Energy efficiency

All windows have an official energy efficiency rating, with A++ being the most efficient. An energy efficiency rating of C is the minimum permitted by Building Regulations in the UK (unless you have a listed property).

Energy efficiency doesn’t just come from the insulated glazing in your window. The frames should also be designed with insulating chambers.

The more energy efficient your window is, the better it will keep your home at a comfortable temperature, with minimal heating costs, year round.

Noise

Well insulated windows don’t just keep your home warm, they also substantially reduce noise pollution from outside. If you have a particular problem with noise, then you might want to consider choosing triple glazed windows or acoustic glass, although a combination of 4mm glass and 6mm forming the “sealed unit” will greatly enhance the sound insulation.

Security

High quality modern windows, particularly PVCu and aluminium, are generally robust and secure. Hinges are concealed and strong bolts and locking mechanisms ensure high security.

Casement windows tend to be a little more secure than sliding sashes. However, you can include discreet additional security features on sliding sash windows, such as anti-jemmy bars, to increase security.

If you are particularly concerned about the security of your windows then you should seek out options which confirm to BS 7950:1997 and/or meet the requirements of the police’s Secured By Design standard.

Secured By Design

Maintenance

PVCu and aluminium windows are great choices for longevity and minimal maintenance. If you are set on the traditional charm of timber windows, then be prepared for regular stripping and re-painting every 3 or 4 years!

Environmental impact

Aluminium windows are the environmentally friendly option, as aluminium is so easily recycled. Having said that, modern PVCu windows have vastly improved their “green credentials”. Most are now made lead-free, and the waste products produced in the manufacturing process are re-purposed.

Thanks to the ease of recycling it, 75% of the aluminium ever produced in still in use.

These days there are many excellent window manufacturers and profile extruders within the UK, so there’s no need to add to your carbon footprint by importing from abroad.

Plus, the insulating properties of modern windows reduce energy consumption (and your heating bills).

Choose your perfect replacement windows

We’re dedicated to helping you find the right replacement windows for your home.

Call us on 01444 45 71 45 or email admin@windowwise.co.uk to arrange a design consultation.