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How to choose the right windows: your questions answered

By July 30, 2020Home, Windows
Energy efficient - Windows

Windows are one of the most significant outlays in any home renovation project. Whether you’re planning a complete refurbishment of your home with brand new glazing or are simply replacing a few windows, you’ll have to make a lot of decisions. From the choice of colour to the style and specification, it can all be a little overwhelming. So it’s no surprise that windows are one of the items that we get asked the most questions about.

In today’s blog post, I answer some of the most commonly asked questions to help you make the right decisions when choosing windows for your home. 

Windows - double and triple glazing

Q: What’s the difference between Double & Triple glazing?

There are several differences between triple and double glazing, the first being the number of panes of glass that make up each window. Triple glazed windows have three panes, while double glazed windows have two. 

Between each pane of glass, there is generally a gap filled with an insulating gas such as Argon. The gas lets sunlight pass through the window and limits the amount of heat that can escape from the rooms inside. 

Because triple glazing has two layers of this gas, the windows give better thermal efficiency than double glazed windows. Triple glazing can be up to 30 percent more thermally efficient than double glazing. The energy savings are much higher, meaning your heating bills will be lower.

Triple glazing would also have a lower U-value rating thus reducing condensation issues and would also fare much better than single glazing relative to noise reduction from outside.


Q; I love the look of steel windows, are they a good choice?

Steel windows have become recently popular because of their industrial look, which works with interior trends at the moment. But they are an extremely costly option so you will need to manage your budget carefully if these are your preferred choice. 

They aren’t as thermally efficient as other types of glazing, meaning you will get more heat loss through the frames with this kind of glazing system than you would with aluminium or Aluclad systems.

A great alternative to steel is aluminium windows. They have come on dramatically since the 1970’s versions and are becoming very popular again. Aluminium offers very slender frames and large sizes of glazing panels which are suited to more contemporary designs such as floor to ceiling sliding doors. They also perform very well thermally making them really energy efficient.

Q: What are the differences between the UPVC, Timber and Aluclad windows? 

UPVC (unplasticised Ploy Vinyl Chloride) is the most cost-effective option, but just because it is a less expensive material doesn’t mean it is an inferior choice. UPVC is not an insulating material, but the better quality windows will have insulation built into the frame.

UPVC windows tend to have limited colour/style choices and their frames tend to be wider than the other windows options. However, some of the more expensive varieties of UPVC windows do come in a wide range of colours and with more slender frames, making them a great alternative to timber.

Timber windows have a natural insulating ability, and they can be painted in any colour, making them a popular choice. One of the major issues with timber windows is that they will require maintenance in time. 

Aluclad is probably the most attractive option for many people. These are timber windows with an external casing or cladding of aluminium. They offer the same low-maintenance qualities as UPVC while maintaining a more tactile timber finish internally.


Q: I can’t afford to replace all of my windows with triple glazing, is there a way to manage the cost?

If you have a restricted budget, you could consider installing triple glazing on the northern and eastern elevations where there is little or no solar gain. To reduce the cost, you could install double glazing throughout the rest of the house. 

Do bear in mind, however, that the additional expense for triple glazing is an upfront cost. Triple glazed windows will offer more significant savings on your heating bills over time so that you should recoup your investment in the long run.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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