In the frame
Good windows can make a big difference to your home’s looks as well as its practicality, says Julia Gray
Windows might seem to be only functional – they let in light, they keep you warm (both, admittedly, pretty important jobs). But they also can make a huge impact on the aesthetics of your home, and this makes choosing the right ones doubly important.
Window frames are made of three main materials: wood, UPVC and metal. You can also get composite frames, which are plastic or metal over a wooden core. The type of windows you choose is usually governed by your budget, the style and period of your home, if it’s listed or on ‘designated land’ (such as a conservation area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), how long you plan to live there and even what sort of windows neighbouring houses have.
Replacing all your home’s windows generally costs thousands of pounds, with wood and metal the most expensive, so it’s not an investment to take lightly. New windows can affect the value of your home, as well as making it warmer and quieter if you upgrade from single to double or triple glazing, which makes choosing the right style and material all the more important.
Wooden windows look lovely, especially in period properties, but they require most upkeep. You often have to paint new wooden windows because they’re supplied unpainted, and you have to keep on top of wood rot and chipped and flaking paint over the years, plus occasionally repainting the full frames.
If you can afford them and don’t plan to move home in the foreseeable future, wooden windows offer good value for money because they last a long time. Window frames made by members of the Wood Window Alliance (www.woodwindowalliance.com), for example, have an estimated service life of 60 years or more when well maintained.
Metal, UPVC and composite window frames require less maintenance than wood, so they’re an easier option in that aspect, but they don’t last forever. Past-their-best UPVC and metal windows aren’t pretty either, and the seals on double glazing can deteriorate, so moisture gets in. White UPVC frames often yellow over time too, and although you can in theory paint them, most people don’t.
For something different, consider grey UPVC frames (or another colour), which are available grey inside and outside, or grey outside and white inside for a more conventional look internally. For period style on a budget, UPVC sash windows are a great choice, because they’re much cheaper than wooden ones, come double glazed and with built-in locks and vents as standard and can add value in areas where the original sash windows have been removed in many of the houses.
If you live in a listed building, changing the windows can be an expensive and drawn-out process, with listed building consent usually required from the local council. If consent is granted, expect to have to record the appearance of each window, then replace them like for like, so the overall look of the building is unchanged.
Councils are also concerned about the appearance of buildings on designated land and may have rules or guidelines for changing windows here. Sometimes houses on designated land have had their permitted development rights removed by the council, so planning permission is required to fit new windows – this also applies to all flats and maisonettes, wherever they are.
All new windows must comply with building regulations, which govern the glazing, safety and means of escape in the event of a fire. You can fit new windows yourself, or get a builder to do it, but you’ll need a certificate to confirm they comply with building regulations, issued by a building control officer from the local council, or an approved inspector, who does the same job but for a private company.
The alternative is having the windows fitted by an installer registered with a competent-person scheme, such as FENSA (www.fensa.co.uk) or Certass (www.certass.co.uk). They can self-certify that their work complies, which makes things easier for you.
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- The Silent Disease… Prevention and You - November 21, 2017
- 10 tips to make perfect sausage rolls at home - November 16, 2017
- Are you offended by the Greggs Christmas Advert? - November 16, 2017
- Gino D’Acampo’s Mamma Alba’s meatballs - November 16, 2017
- Win ONE of TEN 2018 Dairy Diaries and fabulous cookbook sets! - November 16, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!