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Talk to me about windows

(16 Posts)
padancestudio1 Sun 13-Sep-15 10:06:12

We have just decided to replace our old grubby windows and I am so undecided on styles etc. We live in a large 5 bed 1930s house with amazing views which we want to maximise. We have already decided on 2 sets of bifolds at the back of the house which I think we are pretty certain on aluminium (unless anyone can let me know a reason why this would be a big mistake?) I'm just so confused on the rest of the 17 windows in the house. Should we go Ali to match the bifolds (at the back and not overlooked) or upvc or wood? Should we go with a company or buy direct and get a builder to fit? Pros and cons? Georgian bars?
We had a company (safestyle) who gave us 4 prices on the same products in the space of 10 mins...I'm just confused as never bought new windows before.

wowfudge Sun 13-Sep-15 10:41:46

Don't use Safestyle - awful sales-driven company. MN is anti UPVC but many have them with no issues, including us in our 30s house. Many 30s house would have had metal window frames - the Crittel Company is a well-know window manufacturer of the time and still around today.

I don't think the material really matters but do think about the maintenance required for different types and whether you have the time and money for it on an ongoing basis. Do try to be sympathetic to the house - so don't alter the original window design. For example, our box bays have four long window panels with stained glass lights above; the original design. Across the road, there is one huge window with one large light across the top on the front of the bay's - doesn't look right. If you have original stained glass, consider encapsulating it in double glazed units - a past owner of our house do that and they look lovely. All part of the character of the house.

The windows are often integral to the structure of the bays so make sure the frames, etc supplied are structurally strong enough for your house.

Try a local window company - they'll be familiar with the style of windows and houses locally and independents won't muck you about on price. Do you have neighbours whose houses have nice windows? Speak to them and ask who they used.

wowfudge Sun 13-Sep-15 10:43:11

To clarify - not saying don't do bifolds, but a sympathetic approach to the front of the house facing the street doesn't jar.

padancestudio1 Sun 13-Sep-15 12:44:18

Thanks wowfudge. I am pretty anti upvc as well as I just think they are bulky and cumbersome, but worry about aluminium frames being cold. We Def want to be sympathetic style wise, and have the square bays which currently have picture windows which we hate and want to return to panels. I wish we had some stained glass, unfortunately previous owners liked '90's chic'grin

wowfudge Sun 13-Sep-15 23:00:34

If there are other houses on the street with stained glass lights, you could ask a glass merchants whether they can recreate a similar pattern which can be encapsulated in double glazed units or you could have modern stained glass units? I have no idea of the cost though.

Marmitelover55 Sun 13-Sep-15 23:09:07

We have aluminium bifolds and windows on our lively new extension. However, you are righ re cold. Last winter they felt like giant big panels of ice radiating cold...sad

Marmitelover55 Sun 13-Sep-15 23:09:25


needacoffeenow Sun 13-Sep-15 23:31:58

Do not use Safestyle, their reps notorious for giving high prices then dodgy discounts. Would use local firm. As pp said, I would keep the window designs as you have now. It is tempting to take an opener out here and there to reduce cost but cosmetically it does not look right.

I went upvc for both windows and bi-folds but it does depend on the window designs as obviously more openings give more plastic iykwim.

yomellamoHelly Mon 14-Sep-15 09:19:28

I was told that modern UPVC does not need to have bulky frames any more, so if you're careful about what you want you can avoid that situation.
We have UPVC with the two windows and three doors we've put in so far. We've also got aluminium bifolds and there's very little difference between the aluminium and UPVC doors. The bifolds have a slightly thinner frame. Maybe 1 cm less all round. Certainly not noticeable.
In terms of the bifolds aluminium is the way to go (I was told). Stronger frame and therefore more durable / less prone to problems.

yomellamoHelly Mon 14-Sep-15 09:21:04

They're all A rated as well. So actually warmer (in theory) than a single brick walls!

BerylStreep Mon 14-Sep-15 09:31:15

We're getting new windows done at the moment, in UPVC. Our window guy advised us to have 28mm void and special heat retaining glass. You can also get acoustic glass which reduces road noise if that's an issue for you.

In the past we have had wooden sliding sash windows with small georgian panes made, and spray painted before fitting. They look absolutely gorgeous, but they have really narrow voids in the double glazing units, so still let a lot of road noise in. They were very, very expensive.

When we did our extension, we got a local company to make UPVC sliding sash windows with individual georgian panes (as opposed to a large sheet of glass with bars on the surface). They did them in wood grain finish, and I am so much happier with these windows than the wooden ones. Not only that, but there is minimal maintenance. In terms of price differential a standard UPVC casement window approx 6' x 3' would be about £400. The UPVC sliding sash is about £800.

Can you post a photo of your existing windows? nosey

RaphaellaTheSpanishWaterDog Mon 14-Sep-15 14:17:21

I also hate UPVC, but like Beryl at our last 200 yr old house we paid a small fortune - 10k for seven spray painted hardwood replacement sliding sash windows at the front on the lower two floors only & God knows what it would have cost to do the entire house confused - only to find the reduction in road noise was minimal.

We paid extra for acoustic glazing too....grrr!

Our current house was built in the 1850s but when it was extended in the 1920s it had a makeover of sorts and Crittall windows were installed. These suit the very Arts & Crafts vibe the house now has, but they are blooming cold!

Were I to be putting in replacement DG now I think I'd opt for aluminium as I don't think I could ever bring myself to put in UPVC on a period house, especially as it doesn't last as well as hardwood that is properly maintained.

If we stay here - which is very doubtful - we'll put in decent secondary glazing, not for road noise as it's much quieter here than our last (more rural [cinfused] location), but for warmth!

RaphaellaTheSpanishWaterDog Mon 14-Sep-15 14:18:39

That was meant to say confused!

bilbodog Mon 14-Sep-15 15:27:54

Is the house fitted with original wooden winDows? If they are in good condition it makes more sense to have them reconditioned and painted. Original windows make such a difference to the look of a house - you could still put modern doors in the back. If you want to stop noise and/or cold good secondary glazing is much more efficient.

shovetheholly Mon 14-Sep-15 15:42:29

I think aluminium is fine, provided you go for something energy efficient. Check the U-values!

I had an old and inefficient aluminium back door and it was like the freezer was constantly open in the winter. SO cold! But my friend has new, architecty-style aluminium windows by Kloeber (I hear Schueco are also very good) and is toasty.

BerylStreep Mon 14-Sep-15 15:45:50

Where did anyone get their secondary glazing? I would love to get it, but haven't been able to find anyone in Ireland who does it.

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