Crittall windows – finding a modern alternative to a modernist icon

The term Crittall is often used for any metal, particularly steel-framed windows. However, the name Crittall is a registered trademark, so only windows and doors made by the company have the right to use the name.

In the mid1920s and early 1930s, Crittall windows became associated with the Art Deco and Modernist movements. At this time, steel and concrete were the two materials most widely used in architecture.

‘Crittall style’ windows are easily recognisable for their slim casements and horizontal lines. Whilst they are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, they all have the iconic slimline metal frames and sharp, sleek look.

A brief history of Crittall windows

The story of the Crittall Windows company covers three centuries, beginning when Frances Berrington Crittall arrived in Braintree, Essex and bought Bank Street ironmongery. Following a series of developments and investments, Crittall Windows emerged as a globally recognised business whose name is synonymous with steel windows.

The first steel windows were manufactured by Francis Henry Crittall, who took over the business from his brother in 1884. The Crittall Manufacturing Company Limited was incorporated some years later followed by the building of the Manor Street Works.

The company headquarters is still in Braintree, and has been in operation for more than 160 years.

Replacing steel Crittall style windows

There is no doubt that steel casement windows have a certain aesthetic appeal.

When customers want to renovate their period homes sympathetically, windows are always deserving of the most careful consideration, as so much of a property’s character is held within them.

Old steel windows certainly have their ‘quirks’. Condensation and rust are well-known features of these windows. In addition, our customers often need to find a more practical and attractive solution to the secondary glazing that was put in place to mitigate loss of heat in the past.

Like for like – understanding steel

Replacing steel Crittall style windows with new steel casements isn’t always the most cost-effective solution.

As a material, steel is expensive, therefore there is certainly a cost consideration from the outset. The weight of the material also has a knock-on cost implication for both transport and installation.

Any replacement for steel windows will need to be rustproof. Whilst manufacturing techniques vary, a common option is to galvanise the steel frames in a hot dip, then apply a polyester powder coating to protect against rust.

Lead times can also be much longer, so this needs to be factored into any renovation project.

Aluminium – a practical, stylish alternative with a wealth of benefits

Aluminium windows are a popular choice for many of our customers who are looking to maintain the character and integrity of their home, when replacing Crittall style windows.

They provide a stylish and practical solution for modern and traditional homes alike – and with a 25-50 year life span, they are a real investment.

There are certain benefits associated with aluminium. These include subtle frames, strength and durability. Our Sheerline range offers a number of additional benefits.

The frames are exceptionally slim and as they do not have glazing beads, they allow maximum light into the room.

Despite the slimline aspect, Sheerline windows are incredibly secure. Specialist joining strengthens fames and glazing, multipoint locks and hinge protection add to their security.

Thermavic® insulation technology keeps homes warm and cosy throughout the colder months.

From an environmental perspective, aluminium is highly sustainable and it is also a particularly recyclable material.

The right windows for the particular style of your home

It’s critical that the chosen windows match the style of the home.

Our aluminium windows are available in a range of colours and finishes. Various profile and handle options make them a suitable choice for modern or period properties.

Our expert team are on hand to help you choose from the many design options available to help you find the most suitable option for your home. To book a design consultation, please call us on 01444 45 71 45.

Find out more about windows for period homes.