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Window Information

Windows Overview

This section covers all types of windows, from contemporary UPVC windows to reclaimed sash windows and even solar control glass. You will be able to find many types of manufacturers and suppliers of both glass and window frames in this section, including window furniture such as locks, stays and hinges. Whether your project is a large office block with sheet glass cladding or you are simply sourcing one skylight, The Construction Centre delivers the results you need....more

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Windows Explained

Whether refurbishing an existing building or specifying for a new build window choice can drastically alter the appearance of any building. Both window style and material selection play an important role in the end result.

A vast array of window styles can be purchased from window manufacturers and glazing companies manufactured from a selection of materials. The traditional choice of window frame material is wood which can provide that all important rustic look on a period property. Traditional wooden window frame styles include sash windows and casement windows. The basic sash window incorporates a sliding and a fixed glazed frame, of which the bottom frame can typically be slid upwards over the fixed upper frame. Where one glazed frame slides the window is referred to as a single hung sash window and where both upper and lower frames can slide open the window is known as a double hung sash window. Another variant of the sash window is the horizontal sliding sash window, where glazed frames stand vertically and slide horizontally from side to side. Replacement sash windows are necessary for period listed buildings and are important in maintaining the appearance of Georgian Era buildings.

Other timber window formats include casement windows, now viewed as the standard window frame configuration within the UK, due to their ease of manufacture, installation and functionality. Casement windows consist of a hinged glazed frame which may be side hung or top hung, with some window configurations offering a mixture of the two. Where replacement windows are necessary wooden windows can be readily customised and tailor made to suit existing window apertures. Although wooden windows are susceptible to rot, if not maintained regularly, they still have strong visual appeal and are manufactured from a sustainable material.

Aluminium windows and steel framed windows are available to combat maintenance issues and improve durability along with home security. Window frames are generally galvanised for rust protection purposes and plastic powder coated to produce the desired visual finish. Often marketed as composite windows aluminium and steel framed windows may be used to provide a structural frame on to which timber finishing strips are fastened to produce a natural wood finish internally. Internal wood finishes are popular to provide a warm feel to building interiors with the added benefit of durable aluminium or steel cladding on the outside. External aluminium and steel cladding can also be combined with a layer of insulation to reduce heat loss and improved insulation properties of the window frame.

Contemporary window frames tend to be manufactured from plastic. Plastic windows are often referred to as uPVC windows or PVCu windows as they are manufactured from the plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC windows are cheap to manufacture and purchase. They have the added benefit of being light weight and also offer good sound insulation properties. Plastic window frames are ideal for installing double glazing units in to reduce heat loss and further improve window insulation properties. PVC windows are generally constructed of plastic profiles which are trimmed to the required length and assembled to create the window frame. This makes the fabrication of bespoke windows particularly cost effective and quick. Due to PVCs versatility a wide range of pvc window frames are available on the market produced in many different styles and often with wood grain effect. Examples include imitation sash windows to suit older properties. Modern developments include tilt and turn window frames that allow the internal cleaning of external window panes.

Where windows are being replaced or made to measure a range of complementary window furniture is available to provide added security and functionality. Window furniture items include opening mechanisms, hinges and locks. PVC windows can provide enhanced levels of security over conventional windows where muti point locking systems are incorporated in to their design.

Window security is a key concern and can be improved by fitting products such as window handle locks, concealed casement locks and casement stay locks. In problem areas externally fitted window shutters or steel roller shutters can provide the best means of window protection.

In certain circumstances rooflights may be necessary to provide much needed light to a poorly illuminated room that may not contain conventional windows. Roof lights, often referred to as sky lights or roof lanterns, can provide natural light and are offered in many forms and configurations. The most common is the fixed rooflight which is usually low profile, offers little restriction to incoming light and does not open. Other common skylight formats include pyramid roof lights and octagonal rooflights. Where long lengths of rooflight are required, to illuminate large rooms or corridors, a vault rooflight could be used to increase natural light and create an external architectural feature. The majority of roof windows will require an opening mechanism to provide ventilation. Opening mechanisms are generally automatically controlled via electric motors, however manual openers, in the form of window winders, can still be purchased. More sophisticated opening systems include electronic precipitation sensors that automatically close the rooflight during rainfall.

When considering replacement windows or reglazing existing window frames glazing and glass quality should not be overlooked. Windows are the largest heat loss area within a house and fitting double glazing will instantly reduce heat loss. Triple glazed units are also available and offer further insulation improvements over double glazed units. Glazed units are also filled with inert argon gas to further increase their insulation properties. The heat loss characteristics of glass and glazed units are indicated by their U-value, the lower the U-value the less heat loss will occur through the window pane. U-values should be studied prior to purchasing windows and are particularly important when considering conservatories.