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Window Basics; What You Should Know

Date: September 2, 2023

When it comes to enhancing the functionality and aesthetics of your home, windows play a pivotal role. They provide a view to the outside world, allow natural light to flood in, and contribute to your home's overall energy efficiency. However, navigating the world of windows can be overwhelming, especially for those who are new to the subject. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the window basics to equip you with essential knowledge before making any decisions. Whether you're considering window replacements, upgrades, or exploring new options for your home, this guide is designed to empower you with the information you need to make informed choices.

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Understanding Window Basics

Have you ever found yourself wondering about the differences between PVC, timber, and aluminum-clad timber windows? The variety of materials available for windows can often leave you perplexed. While PVC windows are prevalent in other areas, it's important to acknowledge that they might not necessarily be the best fit for everyone. The emergence of aluminum-clad timber options offers extended durability, superior insulation, and minimal maintenance requirements. However, if you reside in a conservation area, your options might be limited to timber-only windows due to regulations. Be sure to consult your local council for guidance in such cases.

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PVC, Timber, or Aluminum-Clad Timber Window Options

While PVC windows dominate in the market, it's important to recognize that this might not be the ideal choice for everyone. The emergence of aluminum-clad timber options is gaining traction due to its extended durability, superior insulation properties, and minimal upkeep requirements. This makes it a highly favorable selection. However, it's worth noting that if your residence falls within a conservation area, your material and exterior color choices could be restricted. In such cases, timber windows might be the only permissible option. To eliminate uncertainty, it's advisable to consult your local council for clarification.

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Understanding U Values, Uw Values, and Ug Values Window

This is where some crafty suppliers can create an illusion of superior products. Consider a scenario where a company touts a window with a U value below 1 W/m^2k. On the surface, it sounds impressive! But let's delve into its significance. A U value essentially gauges a window's insulation efficiency – a higher figure indicates poorer insulation against external conditions. 

However, a word of caution – a Ug value, related to the glass, often tends to be much lower than the Uw value, which pertains to the overall window. When encountering seemingly too-good-to-be-true values, it's essential to ascertain what exactly is being referred to, in order to avoid potential pitfalls.

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Triple Glazing Window – Is it a Necessity?

At one point, triple glazing enjoyed a surge in popularity, making it a sought-after feature. Presently, double glazed units have surpassed older triple-glazed ones and provide ample insulation for most needs. Contemporary triple glazing is best suited for constructions where exceptional insulation is assured.

An analogy that succinctly captures this notion: investing in an inexpensive jacket with a costly zipper holds little logic.

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Side Hung or Side Guided? Exploring Various Window Opening Styles…

A seemingly simple yet frequently overlooked distinction. Side-hung windows operate akin to regular doors, pivoting on hinges affixed to the frame. Often, a built-in friction brake prevents the window from unexpectedly closing in gusty conditions. These hinges are typically visible from outside and are usually more budget-friendly than their guided counterparts.

On the other hand, side-guided windows offer a convenience for maintenance, particularly when it comes to cleaning. Guide-rails facilitate access to the exterior glass from within the house. However, this convenience comes at the cost of potentially offering a smaller clear opening during emergency situations like a fire.

This constitutes a crucial aspect of understanding window fundamentals and being well-informed about your purchase. Based on research indicates that most customers greatly value this distinction when they have the chance to view the windows in the showroom.

Tilt and turn windows have gained significant popularity in other countries, offering a distinct and highly practical solution. Although not common, they present a unique set of advantages. The option to switch between ventilation and full opening, coupled with their user-friendly cleaning features and impressive thermal efficiency, renders these windows a compelling choice well worth contemplating.

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Exploring Curtain Walling: Moving Beyond Window Basics

While delving deeper into considerations, early attention to curtain walling is crucial. In the realm of windows, curtain walling refers to window units that span multiple floors, a characteristic often seen in contemporary skyscrapers. It's important to note that not all suppliers and manufacturers offer products certified for this purpose. Consequently, they might decline to provide quotes featuring such specifications. To avoid any potential complications, it's recommended to inquire whether the supplier's products hold CWCT certification before proceeding with an order.

Post-Purchase Support

Congratulations on harnessing your newfound window knowledge to pinpoint your precise window requirements. With diligent research completed, you've successfully acquired two quotes from different companies, both seemingly identical. Similar U values and warranty durations are on the table. Yet, there's a significant price disparity. What's the reason behind this?

Here's where the often-overlooked factor of aftersales comes into play. In an ideal scenario, measurements align flawlessly, estimators interpret plans accurately, manufacturers execute orders to perfection, deliveries transpire smoothly, and installers fit windows without a hitch. But what if an issue arises post-purchase?

It's imperative to ensure that your chosen supplier boasts a robust after sales service. Regrettably, a notable number of suppliers and manufacturers withdraw support after payment is received. The experiences of others can offer invaluable insights into a company's commitment to customer satisfaction.

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It's important to remember that your choice of windows goes beyond just aesthetics – it impacts your home's energy efficiency, comfort, and long-term maintenance. Whether you're considering window replacements, upgrades, or exploring new options for your home, taking the time to understand these fundamental concepts can save you from potential pitfalls and help you invest wisely.

Professional Advice:

As you navigate the world of windows, it's always a wise move to seek professional advice from experts in the field. When it comes to making significant investments in your home, such as windows, consulting with professionals can provide you with personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Consider reaching out to reputable window suppliers or contractors who have a track record of delivering quality products and services. Discuss your requirements, preferences, and any unique challenges your home might present. A professional can offer insights into the best window options that align with your goals, energy efficiency needs, and budget.

Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask for references, look at online reviews, and even visit showrooms to get a firsthand experience of different window types and functionalities. A reliable supplier will not only provide you with high-quality windows but also offer excellent post-purchase support, ensuring that you're satisfied with your investment for years to come.

Remember, windows are a long-term investment that can significantly impact your home's functionality, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. With the right knowledge and guidance, you can confidently choose windows that enhance your living space and provide lasting value.

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