With the nation now spending more time at home than ever, it becomes easy to start spotting ways in which you would like to enhance your property. Now that homeowners have plenty of time to see to the tedious DIY tasks that they have been brushing under the carpet for months, it is likely that you will start to spot areas of your property which you would quite like to upgrade. One of the most popular ways to give your home an instant refresh is to replace the windows. While this may appear to be a most costly investment, it more definitely comes alongside a wealth of benefits; however, only if you opt for quality windows sourced and fitted by a reliable company.
With this in mind, to ensure that you make a worthwhile investment and can reap the qualities of new windows, we have put together a guide to answering the question “what are the characteristics of a good window?”.
What Are The Characteristics Of A Good Window? 6 Qualities To Keep An Eye Out For
Having specialised in the design and installation of windows in Buckingham and the surrounding areas for many years, we are well-versed in the key characteristics of quality windows. We have visited many properties in the past for replacement projects which feature poorly fitted windows that have not stood the test of time. While in some cases, damage cannot be anticipated; if you opt for only fitting windows which boast sought-after features, you can dramatically minimise the likelihood of any problems. Windows should be able to withstand all manner of conditions without deterioration; however, this is only possible if you spend time researching into what to look out for when searching for products. So, to give you a checklist to refer back to, we have put together everything you need to know about the following characteristics:
- 1. Energy Efficiency
- 2. Maximised Heat Insulation
- 3. Guaranteed Security
- 4. Minimised Noise Pollution
- 5. Visually Pleasing
- 6. Durability & Reliability
Nowadays, we should all be actively working towards lowering our carbon footprint by building a household that is smart with energy usage. This means that when you are searching for new windows, your chosen product must be as environmentally friendly as possible. The most effective way to do this is by choosing more advanced glazing options, such as double or triple glazing. In fact, according to MoneySupermarket, fitting double glazing is within the ten essential steps to improving your home’s energy efficiency.
Particularly if you have an older home that is still equipped with its original windows, it is more than likely that these will be designed with single-pane glazing, which is one of the biggest culprits for wasting energy. Single pane windows not only allow draughts to seep into your property, making it trickier to maintain a comfortable temperature, but they are also prone to condensation, leading to damp. Due to this, almost all glazing installers have completely stopped offering single glazing to clients and now only provide double or triple alternatives. This includes our team here at Crown Windows, who specialise in the installation of double glazing in Milton Keynes. Regardless of the window style that our clients opt for, their frame will always be complete with double glazing to guarantee longevity. More information on the benefits of double glazing can be found in our previous article.
The above quality of energy efficiency ties hand in hand with our next essential characteristic – maximised heat insulation. Your windows must be able to keep your home at a comfortable temperature all year round, ensuring that it is cosy in the winter and cool in the summer. There should not be any draughts making their way into your home through the windows as this will force you to turn up your central heating to accommodate the drop in temperature, causing an increase in your energy bills. One of the easiest ways to spot whether your windows are letting in cold air is the candle test. Simply light a candle and slowly walk towards your window. Carefully move the candle around the frame, keeping an eye out for any movement of the flame. If the flame begins to flicker, then this is the spot in which a draught is seeping into your home.
When fitting new windows, insulation can be improved, again, through double glazing. Why? Because double glazing is designed with two panes of glass, separated in the middle by a layer of argon gas. As argon gas is unable to conduct heat, it means that it prevents any warm air from leaving your home. This also means that during the summer, warmth from the outdoors will not be able to reach inside your property. Cyber Physics has a super easy guide on how double glazing works for more information on the topic.
According to an article by Reader’s Digest, 23% of burglars break into your property through windows placed on the first floor. This means that your chosen windows must boast exceptional security to ensure that they can keep both your home and family protected against criminals. They must not only be able to lock with ease, but the glass must also be strong enough to withstand heavy force without shattering into pieces, creating the perfect entry point for intruders.
Luckily, with the innovative technology now used to design windows, regardless of the frame material that you opt for, they will provide you with guaranteed security. However, if you are particularly worried about the strength of frames, we would suggest choosing those made from either aluminium or hardwood as they remain the most robust. Alternatively, you could consider a composite door, which features a combination of materials, making it both durable and impact resistant.
Once you have chosen your frame material, windows must be complete with double glazing to guarantee security. Not only is double glazing designed to make it impossible for the panes to be removed from the outside of the property, but it is also fitted with tight seals around the frame. Policy Experts has put together a helpful article with more common ways that burglars break into properties, so you can ensure that your home never catches their eye!
Particularly if you live in a city nearby to the high street or a busy main road, trying to keep outdoor noise away from your home will be one of the main priorities. The sound of passersby late at night or early in the morning can be a significant nuisance; both of which can be minimised with the right windows. With this in mind, our next key characteristic of a good window is its ability to keep noise pollution at a low.
So how can your windows help to maintain a peaceful home? Well, with no surprise this is, again, down to double glazing. As mentioned previously, double glazing is equipped with two panes of glass, which means that sound finds it trickier to vibrate through. With a single glazed window, the moment that the sound hits the glass, it will vibrate the air directly on the inside of the home, echoing the noise. Whereas with double glazing, on the other hand, the sound has to travel through several layers, meaning that less noise will vibrate through.
While it is imperative that windows can stand the test of time and keep your home secure, it is also vital that they look visually pleasing. The appearance of windows plays a huge role in the overall aesthetics of your property, meaning that regardless of whether you are planning to sell up or not, your chosen windows do need to look good. Luckily, there are a whole host of window styles, each of which is best suited to a different property type, including the following:
- Tilt & Turn – Tilt and turn windows are ideal for all property types; they remain one of the most popular options amongst our clients interested in our conservatories in Ampthill. They can open two different ways based on the position that you turn the handle. If you tilt the handle, the top half will open while the bottom stays fixed to the frame. When you turn the handle, on the other hand, the entire window will open towards the inside of the room.
- Slide Sash – Best suited to traditional-style homes, slide sash window comes with vintage charm. Instead of opening outwards and inwards, the window is designed with two panes of glass which slide behind one another to open. The ‘sash’ is the component of the window which secures the panes together, which then ‘slides’ to open.
- Georgian – Georgian windows are most commonly associated with period properties; however, look great on newer homes due to their distinctive character. Their design features several panes of glass which are divided into small sections using bars. The bars can be fitted horizontally and vertically or in a diagonal design for something a little more unique.
- Casement – If you’re looking for a versatile frame style with a simple, clean design, then casement windows would be the best route. Not only are they available in many different colours, but they are also super easy to maintain, meaning that they’ll continue to look aesthetically pleasing for years to come.
- Lead – Similar to Georgian windows, lead windows have a more decorative feel, designed with lots of smaller panes of glass complete with lead cames. They are commonly seen on country homes, as well as churches due to their ability to create an eye-catching design.
Last but most definitely not least, your chosen windows must be able to provide you with guaranteed durability and reliability. They must be able to withstand the ever-changing British weather conditions, as well as general wear and tear, without starting to deteriorate. Every aspect of the windows from the frame and glazing to the seals and handles must be high performance, giving you peace of mind that the installation will stand the test of time.
To further enhance the longevity of your windows, we highly recommend scheduling regular maintenance. How often you care for your windows will depend on the frame material that you have chosen; for instance, timber frames will require significantly more maintenance than uPVC or aluminium. For the majority of windows, all that will be required is a simple clean using good quality products. For a full guide on how to clean windows yourself, take a look at our previous article.
Finding The Perfect Windows For Your Home
While it may take a considerable amount of research and planning to upgrade your windows, it is most definitely worth the time. In ensuring that you select the most effective frame material, style and glazing option for your home, you can ensure that you enjoy value for money. You will also have peace of mind that your windows will last you for years to come, experiencing little damage and keeping both your home and family safe.
If you are spending your lockdown period planning home renovations, then please do not hesitate to contact Crown Windows. While our doors are closed until further notice, we are still providing quotes remotely to clients interested in window replacement upon our reopening. All we will need from you are photos of your existing windows, measurements and an idea on the outcome you would like to achieve – it’s as easy as that!