How to find the perfect Windows for your Home?

Just as you’d take plenty of time when choosing new furniture or décor, selecting the ideal windows for your home is an important decision that requires plenty of consideration. With so many styles, finishes and openings to choose from, it’s essential that you choose glazing that will enhance the exterior of your house whilst ensuring your home remains insulated and secure.

Whilst the cheapest way of fitting windows to a new house is to use white PVCu windows, hardwood, composite and aluminium windows offer a lot for design options and a wealth of stunning finishes. With all this in mind, the team at Martindale Windows Northampton have taken a look through the world of windows to give you a deep insight into what each style of window will provide along with the pro’s, con’s and sots of each.

PVCu Windows

PVCu (plastic) windows have dominated the windows market since their original introduction in the 1990s as a they offer the simplest of all window solutions. Whilst his solution is no longer deemed to be environmentally friendly, at an average cost of between £4000 and £15000 per property, they do offer a relatively cost-effective solution and require little maintenance. However, they can look cheap and reduce the value of period homes and can be difficult to repair if broken.

Composite Windows

Formed around a timber window frame with a weather-proof capping, composite windows are generally used on houses that have harsher climates as they are extremely durable. Available with triple glazing and in range of modern designs, composite windows provide a very low maintenance solution that offers extraordinary insulation. However, at around £10,000 to £25,000 per home, composite windows are one of the most costlier solutions.

Hardwood Windows

As a solution that is extremely durable and more aesthetically pleasing than PVCu windows, hardwood windows are often used for traditional homes and can be tailored to your style with a range of different stains. Whilst slightly more expensive than PVCu windows at between £8000 and £22,000, hardwood windows provide a much more natural look and great longevity.

Metal/Fibreglass Windows

Made from either steel, aluminium or fibreglass, this particular type of window is often used on more contemporary homes to give a sleek and sophisticated style. Whilst metal/fibreglass windows offer a very low maintenance solution and are more stylish than PVCu windows, they’re not as thermally efficient as wooden windows and as slightly more costly than PVCu windows at around £8000 – £20,000 per home.

Window Style: Casement, Tilt or Sash?

Although you may now know the type of windows that you’d like to go for, before fitting your next set of windows it’s also important to consider the style of windows opening that you’d like to go for. With 3 options to consider, there’s a range of benefits from each type.

Open-out Casement system

As a traditionally British option that has been very popular across the UK for a number of years, open-out casements are available in a variety of styles and finishes. Whilst large casements tend to be the cheapest, but you can also select a slightly more expensive small glazed (Georgian style) solution that is often used in country style houses. This particular style is usually made in modular, standard sizes, keeping costs at a minimum.

Tilt and Turn system

This particular design provides a more continental-style window opening that opens inwards and looks best on modern homes. The ‘tilt’ option provides ventilation with security but are typically made to order, meaning that the overall cost can be quite a lot more.

Sash window system

As the mainstay of Georgian and Victorian housing, the sash window is still widely used on traditional-style new builds. Because the sash window is normally made to specification, sizes can typically be non-standard and so can carry quite varying costs depending on the size of your home.

Conclusion

With such a wealth of different options available, finding the right windows for your home is mainly down to the budget you have and the style of property your looking to improve. For a typical town home, we’d opt for either composite or PVCu windows with an open out or tilt and turn finish, whereas if you’re looking to fit-out a traditional rural home we’d recommend either hardwood or composite windows as they offer a much larger selection of stunning colours and glazing finishes.

 

 

 

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Why Noisy Neighbours Are Not The Only Reason You Should Soundproof Your Windows

Don’t you just love the sound of squealing brakes, screaming babies and blaring music first thing in the morning? No? Not very idyllic, is it?

Unfortunately, with more people, high roads on our doorstep and an increase in the number of cars on the road, unwanted noises are making a greater appearance in our lives and homes. The issue of noise is no longer limited to inner-city areas – the rise in the development of suburban and residential regions means the ‘quiet life’ has become all but a dream for many of us. So what can we do to get some peace and quiet?

One solution comes in the form of noise reducing windows. The process is not as technical as it sounds – it simply involves upgrading your windows to keep 90-95% of unwanted nuisance sounds at bay. Oh, and don’t forget, they add an extra layer of security to your home and can even increase the value of your property!

The day to day sounds we encounter are not actually classed as noise, in fact for a sound to be considered noise it must be “loud, irritating and unwanted”. As you can imagine, the constant bombardment of noise can not only become very, very annoying but can truly begin to affect the quality of life.

Aircraft Noise

Aircraft can create some of the most disruptive and disturbing noises which is expected from engines that produce 100,000+ horse power! The noise produced from aircraft is a real concern, not only for comfort but also for health, as frequent exposure can begin to have a physical impact on the body. A study published by the British Medical Journal revealed that people who lived by airports were at a higher risk of developing health issues such as stroke and heart disease.

Many airports have reacted accordingly and now offer soundproofing grants for homes affected by aircraft noise pollution. So, if you happen to live nearby an airport and currently do not have sound proofing, be sure to contact the airport to see how your situation can be improved.

Road Traffic & Rail Noise

During the day, noise from vehicles and trains is not particularly bothersome. After all, these sounds are part and parcel of living in modern cities and towns. Living near a busy road or train station can be advantageous for many people, simply due to ease of travel. However, these types of noises become inconvenient during the night and evening, when the desired sound levels for comfort drops.

Although unassuming, noise from cars and trains can contribute to disturbing and disrupting sleep, which can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Many people have taken to sound reducing windows, to eliminate virtually all noise created from these sources during the night, helping them sleep soundly whilst continuing to reap the benefits of living in areas with great travel links.

 

Noise from Neighbours

Noise from next door is at an all-time high for many of us! This is especially true in cities and towns as we live in increasingly close quarters. When anti-social noise is mentioned, we often picture screaming kids, over-exuberant musicians or yappy dogs, however, poor soundproofing in your home can mean even low-level sounds seep through. Sound reducing windows will contribute to reducing irksome sounds from neighbours and busy residential roads.

Which sound reducing option is best for you?

Suppliers are able to reduce the level of noise by adding layering to the materials your windows are made of, improving their ability to absorb and reflect sound. Your supplier will evaluate your home and consult you on which option is aesthetically and functionally best for you. Soundproofing can be applied to many types of windows, including PVCu and wooden framed windows and rarely requires planning permission, so there’s little reason to worry whether your home is suitable.

Triple Glazing

Not heard of triple glazing before? You wouldn’t be the first. Triple glazing is the less popular alternative to double glazing and involves adding an extra pane of glass to your windows. Although there are many benefits to adding triple glazing to your home, such as improved heat insulation, if noise is your grievance, it may not be the best option for you. Adding an extra pane of glass does have some noise limiting qualities, however, the type of glass used is typically of the same density and thickness – which does little for sound reduction. That makes triple glazing a solution best suitable for low-level, anti-social noise.

Double Glazing 

Double glazing can work wonders for soundproofing your property – with its effects being most remarkable in houses with single pane or old windows. Typically installed on the outside of your home, units are specifically designed to combat noise, with the added benefit of improving energy efficiency and home security.

Double glazing’s soundproofing power comes from the space between the two panes of glass and the thickness of each sheet. These factors combined help to effectively dissipate and disperse sounds of certain frequencies, making it great for eliminating road and rail noise.

For extra sound reducing qualities, ask about laminated panes.

Secondary Glazing

Secondary glazing is an option you should consider if you are having issues with unwanted noise. Of the three options, secondary glazing is the most effective method for sound reduction, which could explain why it has been growing in popularity amongst home owners. Typically, units are installed internally within your existing window frame, which not only makes secondary glazing suitable for properties with traditional or listed features but also causes the gap between the two panes of glass to be far wider than double glazed windows. Secondary glazed windows are designed to keep 90% of unwanted external noise out of your home, making it an effective solution for homes affected by aircraft noise pollution.

To find solutions that best suit your needs, contact Bennbrook Windows, as one of the largest UK regional suppliers of windows, doors & conservatories, you can count on us for top quality products, speedy installation and excellent after care for long lasting and effective results. Call for a quote on 01992 574 555 or visit our website at http://bennbrookwindows.co.uk/ .

 

5 Ways to Increase Natural Light in Your Home

Natural light boasts many health benefits, as well as saving you cash on your utility bills and generally creating a better aesthetic in your home or property (avoiding that orangery glow of lamp uplighters in every room).  So, ensuring your home is making the most of natural light can transform your property, not only making it a better place to live, but also adding value to the property too.

Some of the Health Benefits associated with natural light are:

  • Increased Serotonin (the body’s natural anti-depressant)
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Improved circulation
  • Increased levels of vitamin D (required for healthy bones)

These health benefits can contribute to a better quality of life in general.

As a result of these benefits, many builders, employers, and home owners are now looking for ways to increase the amount of natural light in their properties due to the numerous benefits it offers.  This technique is known as ‘daylighting’: increasing the amount of daylight entering a property so as to reduce utility costs, and take advantage from its health benefits.

Natural light is a practical solution to expensive lighting and heating bills, and creating effective natural light sources in properties is increasingly important.  You will notice that many newly built properties now feature larger windows and skylight windows to take advantage of opportunities to use natural light throughout the property.

Here are some ways you can increase natural light in your property:

  1. Skylight Windows:Installing flat roof skylights is by far the best method for increasing natural light in your property.  Flat roof skylights can flood a room with natural light.  This is a particularly useful method for extensions, and darker spaces such as narrow hallways and bathrooms.
  2. 2. Bi-Folding Doors: These are a great feature in Kitchens and Living Rooms, bringing a little bit of the outside in.  Bi-Folding doors cover a vast area of space, and you can install them to almost take up space across thewhole wall, letting in lots of natural light.
  3. Making use of slopedceilings and roofs:  If your property has sloped ceilings, they can be practical in directing natural light into your property.  Slopes facing away from the fenestration area (the placement of the windows/doors) improve surface brightness, so they act to direct more light into the space as they can help direct more light into the room.

You can also install skylight windows into sloped roofs to optimise daylighting, which is great for loft conversions and attic rooms.

  1. Reflection: Carefully planning reflection of the natural light entering your property can also make a huge difference for darker spaces.  Reflection of natural light can be achieved through the careful placement of mirrors to reflect light back into a room; large shiny tiles can have a similar effect.  However, you will need to take care to avoid direct beams of light as this can pose some health and safety issues as well as leading to discomfort (from overheating, glare etc.)

Alternatively, you can decorate using specific colour schemes, such as bright whites, and pastels, which absorb less of the natural light entering the room almost making it ‘bounce’ back off the surface and lighten up a room.

  1. High Windows:Installing high windows is one of the most effective methods for increasing natural light into a property, and this is best achieved through the installation of skylight windows.  High windows allow for more daylight to enter the property due to their positioning, without creating too much brightness.  Skylight windows can also offer a practical solution to rooms and spaces where a regular window would be difficult to install e.g. basement conversions, exterior walls with an obstructed view.

Creating more natural light in a property has no end of benefits, and can even add to the design of your property.  Think carefully about what you want to achieve with natural light in a particular space, then consider the best option from there.

Achieve Multiple Goals With Replacement Windows

With all the talk about energy efficiency and rising gas prices within the news you may be wondering how you and your family can make an impact and do something about it within your home. With up to 20% of heat loss being attributed to old, faulty windows a good place to start in any property is by investing in energy rated windows.

Replacement energy efficient windows can help to make a real impact on the amount of energy you use heating your home, this in turn will help to reduce your bills, giving you more money for the things you prefer to spend your disposable income on.

If you are unsure as to which windows will be most suitable for your home then the glazing industry has made it a little easier with the clear window ratings scheme giving the manufacturers an official scale in which to adhere to and then rate their products.  All windows are now rated in terms of their energy efficiency just like household appliances such as fridges and freezers. This will help to give you a clearer idea of how much difference your new windows are likely to make to your home.

Most glazing installers and suppliers would sell a C rated window as standard but an A rated window using low e glass, is at the tipping point where windows move from costing you money to actually saving you money. Therefore if you can, always enquire about energy efficient windows for your home.

Taking the decision to install new windows now will prove to be a sound investment in the future regardless of whether you stay in the property or decide to sell. Any potential buyers who see that you have energy efficient windows installed will surely be more likely to make a bid, safe in the knowledge that they will have lower energy bills.

If you opt for triple glazing your energy savings will be even more substantial than the aforementioned double glazing and although it will be a more sizeable initial outlay, it will repay you even quicker.

Not only will new replacement windows lower your energy bills but you are also going to dramatically improve the look of your home. You will also be able to rely on your new double glazing to ensure your home is safe for many years into the future.

Home Improvements that enhance your home in more ways than one are often hard to come by but investing in replacement windows is a sure fire way to achieve a better home.

How Green Is Your House?

With more homeowners than ever looking to go green it is perhaps time to consider whether your own property is as environmentally friendly as it could be. The following are a few simple questions to get you thinking along the right lines.

What Light Bulbs Do You Use?

An incredibly simple way of cutting down on the amount of energy you consume is to switch over to energy efficient light bulbs. This won’t cost you much and will only take a few minutes of your time. You will then spend less on lighting your home and the bulbs should last a lot longer as well.  If you haven’t done this already then it is something you should think about doing as a matter of urgency.

Are Your Appliances Energy Efficient?

If you can’t remember the distant day on which you bought your current fridge or dishwasher then there is a good chance that they aren’t very energy efficient. Huge advances have been made in this area in recent years and you should be able to find a machine which gives you a better, cleaner performance and uses up fewer resources as well. It might be a reasonably big investment but you are unlikely to regret it.

Do You Waste Water?

Any fairly easy way in which to make an improvement is concerning your water usage. Many people have got bad habits which involve using a lot more of wet stuff than they really need to. There are some green products you can buy to help you with this but it is just as important that you use common sense when taking a shower, washing your car or flushing the toilet. If you really want to improve in this respect then you could buy a rainwater storage tank to give you water for the plants and look at the options for environmentally friendly shower head and toilets among other things.

Do Your Windows and Doors Let the Heat Escape?

A popular complaint in many home is that the heating needs to be turned up full when the cold months come around. This means using a lot of energy and it is hard to be green when you do this. In many cases the simple reason for this is that the property’s windows are not double glazing and let too much heat escape. By making the change to double glazed uPVC windows and well fitted doors you can ensure that you are heating up your home effectively instead of wasting energy and money. If you aren’t sure how to make a start on doing this then you only have to check out the website of a nig name company like Anglian Home Improvements to find out more details and work out what suits you best.

Capture The Sun With Modern Double Glazing

With advances in modern technology and continuous scientific innovation often comes great change, double glazing glass is no exception to this. Windows were once purely inventions of necessity; a way to get light into a home however, with modern life there is a need for more modern solutions that carry modern benefits. At first this meant moving from the use of a single glass pane to the use of double glazed windows, the extra glass still allows light to enter but reduces the amount of heat that can escape. Now however, double glazing alone is not enough. Instead a new innovation was needed that focuses on the glass itself rather than purely increasing the quantity (and cost) of glass used in each windows unit.

This latest innovation in glass production involves the use of a special coating to create a low emissivity glass. This coating makes the glass very effective at capturing energy from the sun while at the same time making sure that any internal heat cannot escape through improved thermal insulation. By capturing energy directly from the sun and ensuring that this energy cannot escape, these new windows allow for solar heat gain which means that more often than not the windows actually produce energy rather than simply try to avoid the loss of it.

There are many other ways in which glass has been constantly improved though new production process. One such technique involves creating a glass product that is clearer and contains fewer imperfections than normal glass. This is achieved by using high quality, low iron sand which ultimately creates a far purer form of glass. The benefit of using this glass is that it is effectively more see through than standard glass; more light (and therefore heat) can pass through into the home.

When all of these innovations are put together in one double glazed unit the results are quite incredible. The end product allows increased levels of light and heat into the home while at the same time stopping almost all heat transfer to the outside; the windows go from simply cutting the amount of energy usage to producing small amounts of energy.

When you are thinking about replacing your homes windows make sure that you contact your local double glazing installers in order to find out about the best possible glass products for your home. The installers are very experienced and will always know of the latest glass innovations to ensure that you are always getting the most efficient glass for your windows to help save you money instantly on your energy bills.

Get The Right Hardware For The Right Window

A window is only as safe as its lock; no matter how much time and care is spent during the building or installing process, the security of a window is almost completely dependent on the strength and reliability of its locking system. PVC or aluminium frames are strong, tough and resistant to force entry, the double glazing itself is often very hard to break and certainly hard to break quietly.

However, no matter how strong these elements are, a cheap or ill fitted lock will render a window completely unsecured. From cheap metals to poor keys, there are many ways that window locks can be unsafe for use. Ultimately, when deciding what lock to use, it is always worth paying extra and getting a high quality lock to ensure you have high quality security.

It is not just the quality of lock that will effect how secure it is; it must also be suitable for the person using the lock. For instance, fitting a lock too high for the user will mean they cannot lock the window if it was ever opened by someone else, it can also be easy to forget that it is unlocked if it is not easy to check. Security is not the only important factor with windows locks, it is important to get the right colour in order to fit in with the style of the house; chrome is mainly for more modern homes and white looks perfect in almost any style of home.

Another important piece of window hardware to get right is window handles. These are the one component of the window that will be used the most, often every day. A good quality handle must be chosen so that it does not wear out quickly or fail after only a few years. A good window handle will have a smooth but firm action and come with a strong, reasonable sized, key. Small keys are a very big issue with window handles; they can easily break or be lost due to their flimsiness and the fact that they are only small. The finish on the handle must also be of sufficient quality to not start to fade or wear over time, white handles will rarely do this; however, it can be an issue with gold handles. Chrome handles are generally the toughest and are unlikely to ever fade; the issue here is normally the metal scratching easily which can damage its aesthetic value. Some manufacturers have reacted to the fading of their handles and added quality coats to ensure they last for up to 10 years.

Overall, it is important to select good quality window hardware to go with newly built or newly installed windows. If not, security and style may be needlessly compromised.