REPLACING YOUR WINDOWS – Why composite windows are the ideal choice
Deciding to replace the windows in your home can be a daunting task, so we’ve put together a list of questions and answers to help with your decision making process.
WHY REPLACE YOUR WINDOWS?
There can be many good reasons to consider replacing the windows in your home. If you have wooden windows, maybe they are beginning to deteriorate, or you find the up-keep too time consuming. Perhaps you only have single-glazing and would like to benefit from the energy efficiency of double or triple-glazing. If you have uPVC plastic windows, maybe they are looking a bit old and discoloured, or you would like the benefit of slimmer frames for a more stylish look.
IS REPLACING WINDOWS A GOOD INVESTMENT?
Around a third of a property’s heat is lost through poorly insulated windows. New windows can dramatically increase the energy efficiency of your home. According to the Energy Saving Trust, just by installing double-glazing to windows in an entirely single-glazed property you could save up to £115 per year.* Replacing your windows can also help to increase the value of your home, by improving the kerb-side appeal, upgrading the energy efficiency rating of the property and also help to make the interior more attractive. Read more in our Advice Centre article: INCREASE THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO REPLACE WINDOWS IN YOUR HOME?
There are so many choices of materials and styles that it’s difficult to put a price on replacing the windows in your home, however it’s likely to be more affordable that you might think. While the lower initial capital cost of plastic windows may be tempting, they are likely to need replacing more frequently, and may not be as aesthetically pleasing as other options. Composite windows are not the cheapest option, but certainly not the most expensive when you consider they are longer lasting that most alternatives, require minimal maintenance (unlike wood), look attractive, have an authentic real wood interior and potentially increase the value of your home. For further reading take a look at our article that compares the benefits of Composite Windows vs uPVC windows: COMPOSITE WINDOWS VS UPVC
HOW WILL COMPOSITE WINDOWS ENHANCE MY HOME?
The benefits of fitting composite windows are multiple:
- Improved energy efficiency – with Westcoast Windows the aluminium and timber are bonded to make a truly composite frame and sash. The timber element acts as a thermal break to ensure very high levels of insulation, and seals housed into the grooves within the sash create exceptional air and weather tightness.
- A peaceful home – while composite windows keep the heat in, they also insulate your home against external noise, such as traffic, railways or flight paths.
- Reduced condensation – our factory assembled sealed units incorporate the latest ‘warm edge’ technology, insulated super spacers and argon gas filling as standard, reducing the chance of condensation.
- Increased security – Westcoast Windows are a SBD license holder – SBD (Secured by Design) initiative is a quality standard for burglar-proof products developed by the PCPI (Police Crime Prevention Initiatives) to create secure windows and doors that reduce the risk of intrusion by 75%. Furthermore, all Westcoast Windows products have been successfully tested PAS 24:2016 along with regular independent UKAS accredited 3rd party auditing to ensure consistency of product quality and performance and evidencing compliance with Building Regulations Approved Document Q – Security.
- Low maintenance – no more annual painting of your old wooden windows, composite windows are constructed from a stylish aluminium exterior which is powder-coated in a colour of your choosing. They only require the occasional wipe over with a soft, damp cloth to keep them looking good.
- The warmth of wood indoors – composite windows are constructed of real wood internally, which can be left natural with a clear lacquer, a wood stain of your choice or painted fresh white for a crisp, contemporary feel. They come as standard in knot-free pine, or alternative species, such as oak, are also available.
- Bespoke design and finish – we have a wide range of window openings, styles and finishes to suit your home.
HOW TO MEASURE FOR REPLACING WINDOWS
Measuring for replacement windows is not as simple as it may seem. You need to get the measurements exactly right to ensure your new windows fit perfectly, otherwise it could be costly. To help your window suppler to provide you with an estimate of costs your own measurements should be sufficient, however we would always recommend that one of our certified distributor partners visits your home to make their own final measurements for the manufacture of the windows.
When measuring there are some simple rules:
- Use metric not imperial
- Measure the opening from the outside
- Measure brick to brick in at least three different places
- Deduct 10mm – this will allow for a small fitting allowance
- Never measure the old frame
- Be sure of your measurements – have a qualified fitter take their own measurements for the final manufacture of the windows
REPLACING WINDOWS IN A LISTED BUILDING OR CONSERVATION AREA
Ordinarily you wouldn’t need to apply for planning permission for replacing windows and doors that are of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the house. However the rules are different if your building is listed or in a conservation area.
If you live in a listed building, you will need listed building consent for any significant works – internal or external. If you house is in a designated area (conservation area, national park, area of outstanding beauty) there may be additional restrictions in place. In these cases you are strongly advised to check with your local planning authority before carrying out any work. Your local authority Conservation Officer will help advise on the type and style of appropriate windows, and liaising with them can often make the process go a lot smoother.
A good example of this is a Grade II listed corn mill in Cornwall fitted with Westcoast Windows, where the planning officer agreed to the use of composite windows for their appearance, energy efficiency and low maintenance benefits. The windows were designed to replicate the existing old wooden windows, which satisfied the Heritage officer. Read more about the project: COMPOSITE WINDOWS FOR LISTED BUILDING
REPLACING WINDOWS WITH FRENCH DOORS, BI-FOLD DOORS OR SLIDING DOORS
When deciding to replace your windows, you may also take the opportunity to enhance your home by increasing the window size or replacing the windows with doors. Bi-fold or sliding doors you can increase the natural light in your home and invite the outside in, making your rooms seem larger. These are particularly beneficial if you have the opportunity to open out onto a garden patio or deck, making ideal entertaining areas. Read more about the benefits of bi-fold or sliding doors in our Advice Centre article: SLIDING DOORS OR BI-FOLD DOORS?
FINDING A COMPANY TO REPLACE YOUR WINDOWS
Westcoast Windows have a nationwide network of approved Distributor partners who are highly experienced and skilled in supplying and installing our Swedish composite windows. They can help you plan your project, advise on window styles and finishes, and manage your project to ensure it is completed on time and on budget, with the minimal amount of hassle for you. Find a distributor in your area: WESTCOAST WINDOWS DISTRIBUTORS