Amy Blount of Reynaers at Home looks at the key considerations when specifying windows for your build – including security as well as material choices and installation issues
At their core, windows provide one of any property’s most vital functions – but that doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish. In fact, windows are one of the key aesthetic features of any new build project. However, with so many different options available, it can be difficult to decide which ones would best suit your requirements. To help you get started, we’ve put together a guide outlining some of the most important aspects to consider when selecting the right windows for your build.
When it comes to materials, there are an array of different options to choose from. The right one(s) for your project will depend very much on your personal preferences and needs.
Unplasticised polyvinylchloride (PVCu) is a popular low-cost choice which is widely used in the replacement windows market across the UK.
For those seeking a weather-resistant material that delivers good thermal results, a composite solution, made using two or more different base materials such as timber and aluminium, is a good choice. Timber also remains a popular option however, as sustainability is increasingly being seen as a key consideration for consumers, it may not be the best solution on a long-term basis, especially considering the cost of maintaining natural wood.
Another option is aluminium. This strong and lightweight material boasts strong eco credentials, being 100 per cent recyclable with no loss of quality. Its inherent strength means aluminium frames can be relatively narrow, especially compared to their PVCu counterparts. This means they can be used with larger glass panels that let in more light – perfect for getting your daily dose of vitamin D!
Energy efficient windows help to reduce a building’s carbon footprint and energy bills, so it is important to understand how their thermal performance is measured.
A U-value is a measure of heat loss within a building element such as a window or door. The lower the number, the better it is at conserving heat on a cold day – a particular bonus in the UK! The Energy Ratings system measures thermal performance on a scale from A+ to G and is illustrated using a similar graphic to the one that measures the performance of white goods. The higher the grade of a window, the more energy efficient it will be.
Window installation is probably one of the most difficult and important phases during house construction. For optimum installation, you need to make sure to allow a gap of approximately 10 mm between the frame and the brickwork surrounding the window. It is then recommended that this gap is properly filled and sealed to avoid any draughts.
Another factor to consider is the windows’ weight; windows (as well as doors) are supported by hinges when they move and, if not installed properly, in a way that takes their weight into account, they may drop over time. If this occurs, they inevitably become far more difficult to open, close and/ or lock, which can have serious security implications.
Any window is only as secure as its weakest point. If a window is not installed correctly, it may be possible for an intruder to remove it, so it is vital that your installer uses the correct tools.
To help you select the safest windows, look out for the various recognised security accreditations including PAS 24:2016, a British Standard qualification that requires a window or door to achieve a minimum standard of performance. The qualification process includes a test designed to replicate an opportunistic burglar, simulating attempts to break in using specified tools.
Windows and doors are a key feature of your new build project, so it is important to choose the right materials for your requirements, and to ensure they are fitted correctly. Seeking the advice of a specialist dealer can help ensure that all the finer details are taken care of, so that you can focus your efforts on the bigger picture.
Amy Blount is marketing executive at Reynaers at Home