Over the last few months the comfort of our homes has come sharply into focus and this means making sure they are warm and free from draughts. It’s no surprise then that top of many 2021 wish lists for keeping homes cosy is new windows. Choosing windows can be overwhelming given all the styles, materials, colours and features available. Windows are also one of the largest outlays in any renovation and prices vary a lot depending on what you choose. I chatted with Owen Power of Senator windows to get some expert advice about how to choose the right windows for your home.
Get the right advice
Make sure you take the time to test out different products. ‘A visit to the showroom is a must as it gives people a much better sense of what the products look like and how they work,’ says Power.
You might find something you had liked in a catalogue actually looks very different in reality. ‘We often find during the consultation in the showroom people change their minds as they find out there is a better solution or a more cost-effective option for their home,’ explains Power.
Be upfront about your needs and budget with the salesperson, they will have a wealth of knowledge you can tap into. The more information you can share with them the better they will be able to tailor the specification to suit your individual requirements.
Ask the salesperson about hardware options available – there are normally a range of styles and finishes to choose from. Investigate how the locking mechanisms work as it’s important you are happy with how the system feels in your hand and are comfortable using it. The more time you put into the design and the specification the better the end result will be. That means seeking advice from the right people.
There are 4 measures you need to be aware of when purchasing windows,’ says Power. These are U-value, which indicates the amount of heat loss through the window. ‘You want the U-Value to be as low as possible,’ he recommends. A good U-Value would be 1.2 for double glazing and 1.0 for triple glazed windows. The next measure is the G-value. This is the measure of solar gain through the glass, a good G-Value would be .64 and a bad G-Value would be .3. The L-value relates to air leakage and finally there is the acoustic value of the glass, which refers to the reduction of sound traveling through the window.
Windows are made to order so each one is made specifically for your home. ‘We’ve made over a million windows and none of them have been the same, from different sizes to types of handle, glass and openings, every window is different,’ explains Power.
The specification of the widow will depend on a number of factors, from the kind of project you are doing to the orientation and location of your home. Customers typically fall into one of three categories, says Power. Replacement, extension or new build. Each of these customers will have very different needs,’ he explains.
When designing the specification of the window it’s very important for the window supplier to understand what materials are being used in building your home, how it’s being insulated and what heating system is being installed. ‘Your windows are part of the overall fabric of the building and it’s important to put all of these things together to make sure you create the best build environment you can get,’ says Power.
‘Glass technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last 10 years,’ says Power. There are a large number of options when it comes to the choice of glass. Speak to your window supplier about your needs so they can advise on the most suitable glazing options available.
For south-facing aspects, for example, where glare and sun damage might be a concern, there are several glass options available to minimise overheating and reduce glare. There are also solutions such as laminated glass to block UV light. This will help to prevent sun damage and fading to floor finishes, upholstery and artworks. You can also opt for glass with noise control. If you are living on a busy road and noise is an issue you might want to consider acoustic glazing which will reduce the noise as it goes through the window.
All windows are on a lead time, typically between 4-12 weeks, depending on the product you choose and where the windows are manufactured. So it’s important you familiarise yourself with the lead times as early in the process as you can. If you are extending or building a home, understanding how long things take to be delivered will help to avoid any delays, which can be stressful and costly. And if you are replacing your windows you will be able to coordinate any other trades you might need, such as painters, accordingly.
‘We fabricate our windows in Wexford, which gives us control over quality and lead times,’ says Power. For standard colours there is a 4-6 week lead time from ordering to installation. For non-standard or dual colours the lead time is between 10-12 weeks.
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