If you are renovating your home, one of the best ways to increase its energy efficiency and value is to replace old windows, and we know there are many advantages to this; lowering electricity bills, increasing in your home’s value, and improving your home's appearance are just a few. However, making the right choice about your windows is vital, and here are a few practical things that you will need to know about before deciding which windows your window fitter should use in your renovation.</>
By far the most popular frames are now vinyl, though wooden frames are still a popular choice. Wooden frames are great thermal insulators and look good, but they are very high maintenance. You need to decide if the cost of painting your windows every year is worth the touch of class that wood can bring to your home. Vinyl is also a great insulator, but is a very low maintenance. In my opinion vinyl’s only downfall is its strength, but this can be solved quite simply with strengthening rods. Other choices include aluminum (which is a terrible insulator) and fiberglass (probably the choice of the future), but they are not as good as wood or vinyl.
The most important thing about windows for many people is their contribution to the energy efficiency of a home; here are some of the window choices you have that can help with this. Single panels are available that have been specifically designed for their thermal attributes, and films and coatings can be applied to help the thermal qualities of any window pane. Another approach is to use double (or even treble) glazing, which can be filled with an inert glass (such as argon) and the glass can be coated too; you can see how seriously people can take the thermal properties of their windows. Window tinting and panel sizes are also important considerations, but these tend to be aesthetic choices.
Most windows come with a standard handle latch lock, which are often key lockable, but for your safety make sure that you have another level of security added. This could be with a dead bolt or multiple locking system such as those available in glazed units (you will want a minimum of three locking points here). Sliding windows can be fitted with sliding window locks, which will allow you to have your window open but locked into place, and a standard double hung window can be secured with either a folding wedge lock or a key-locked sash lock (either of which can easily be fitted by a professional window fitter or carpenter). Remember that your property’s security is of immense importance, and you should make sure your locks and fitted properly.
These parts determine how and where your window will open, but are often ignored when people choose a window. However, I believe this is one of the most important things that needs to be considered. The traditional butt hinge is the most basic mechanism, but even this humble hinge can be hung on either side, the top or the bottom of a window. Sliding windows can run on tracks horizontally or use weights if they open vertically, and these are a great way to open a window fully without reducing the space available in a room. Another popular choice is the pivot hinge, but if you are thinking about this method, consider that the window will be tilted open into your room, and that a better choice maybe the friction hinge. Friction hinges are fitted on either side of a window, allowing it to tilt out into the world with an opening that you decide.
These are the main practical points when having windows fitted, and I hope that they help you make a clear choice about the windows you have fitted.