Replacing tired old windows can be very beneficial both in terms of revamping the appearance of your home as well as adding extra insulating properties that increase energy efficiency and cut long-term heating and cooling costs. Observing them being fitted may lead some people to think that this is a job that possibly falls into the realm of DIY. Particularly as many of the larger DIY superstores have them ready to buy off the shelf. However there are some aspects and considerations that mean replacing windows is a job that is better left to the professionals.
Should I Consider Renovating Rather then Replacing?
If you live in a period property then it can be a huge advantage to consider renovating rather than replacing. Keeping the original windows that fit with the era in which the property was built can increase the resale value of your home if they have been renovated sensitively. Retention of period features is hugely in demand and may also be required by regulations for certain homes. Checking with the local authority before starting out is always a wise move.
What are the Best Materials to Use?
When replacing windows you have three main options to consider:
- 1. UPVC
UPVC windows are less popular than they used to be, but still remain a convenient and hard-wearing option. Although classed as hard wearing, they won’t last forever. There are mixed opinions on this but experts state that you have done well if you get 35 years out of them. Along the way, weather and temperature extremes and other environmental factors can cause that new white to fade or yellow after a few years as well as cause them to go brittle. One of the main benefits of UPVC is that after installation, it is virtually maintenance free and easy to clean.
- 2. Wood
Wood is the fashionable material for replacement windows and some people are even taking out UPVC and installing wood to improve the resale value of a property. Period properties with the original wooden windows lend themselves to renovation or replacing like for like if they have simply deteriorated too far. Wood windows require ongoing maintenance to ensure make sure that they stay in good condition and last a long time. If they are looked after well, wooden windows can last for centuries.
- 3. Metal (Steel)
Having fallen out of favor many years ago, metal windows have seen something of a renaissance in Art Deco architecture and loft apartments where the impact can be stunning. This is because they are stronger and the frames can therefore be thinner which is a bonus when attempting to achieve a glass wall effect with big uninterrupted expanses of glass.
Older metal windows could only be fitted with single glazing and as we all know, this can lead to problems with cold and damp. In some buildings where retained original features are important, it is beneficial to attempt to renovate these windows and use special glass to improve their performance. Be warned though, that this is a specialist job and not in the realm of DIY.
A Word About Glazing
Of course glass makes up the majority of a window and is the main factor in retaining heat and keeping out noise. Most glass units fitted in modern homes are double or even triple glazed and many will have gas layers between the sealed glass units to increase effectiveness. Try to budget for the best quality glass that you can afford and benefit from the added insulating and sound proofing properties you get from it.