5 things to consider before buying windows

Avoid pitfalls and learn how to choose the right style of windows for your self-build or renovation project with our top 5 factors to consider before you buy new or replacement windows.

By Rebecca Foster | 8 January 2019

From glazing and frame options to planning permissions, we explain the technical and style factors you should think about when choosing windows for your self-build or renovation project.

House with aluminium casement windows and toughened panes with low e coating kloeber-improvments-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Klöeber

When it comes to choosing windows for a self-build or renovation project, it’s easy to focus on the aesthetics over planning implications and potential pitfalls.

We round up the top 5 factors you need to consider when purchasing new windows, so you can ensure they complement the style of your project and meet building regulations.

Your frame options

House with guillotine window frames iq-glass-improvements-granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: IQ Glass UK

Thanks to modern techniques, there’s a host of options when it comes to choosing the design and opening configuration of your windows. From traditional casement designs to sleek tilt-and-turn versions, it’s important to research which solution best complements your property.

Metal, timber and PVCu are the main framing materials. PVCu is a budget-conscious choice, available in a number of colours and woodgrain finishes. Expect to pay from £150 per sqm.With its innate character, timber is often the first choice for traditional projects. Well-maintained units offer a service life of 50 years and more. Expect to pay around £200 per sqm for untreated softwood products and £300-plus per sqm for hardwood alternatives.

Metal frames come in bronze, steel and aluminium. ‘For a modern look, aluminium windows are generally used more often as they offer a slimmer profile than timber units,’ says David Flower, a director at FlowerKittle Architects. ‘Composite products with an aluminium finish on the exterior and timber on the interiorare an alternative.’ These offer the low-maintenance qualities of metal and the characterful warmth of wood.

‘Steel gives the narrowest sightlines for a hinged window and the welded corners create a smooth finish with no mitre joints or junctions. It also offers an artisan industrial style, which is on trend at the moment,’ says Rebecca Clayton, director of marketing and communications at IQ Glass. ‘Frameless windows made from structural glass are also available for fixed glazing, with fixings hidden by the building finishes.’ Frameless designs from IQ Glass start at £900 per sqm; aluminium casements from £650 per sqm; while thermally broken steel costs from £1,200 per sqm.

Your choice of frame will also be influenced by the size of window required. ‘Opening windows with heights of up to 1,200mm are available in our slimmest frame choice,’ says Carl Farrow, technical development manager at IDSystems. Anything taller, or triple-glazed, calls for a larger framing profile and a heavier duty hinge that’s capable of withstanding the additional load.’