Beware of replacement window pain
IF you're thinking of giving your windows the heave-ho before winter sets in, make sure your glass is classy.
If you get your new windows installed by a firm registered under the FENSA (www.fensa.org.uk) scheme, your installer will make sure they comply with building regulations and issue a certificate saying so.
Find out if a company is registered on the Glass and Glazing Federation site (www.ggf.org.uk).
If you buy new windows from your local DIY store, you can fit them yourself but you'll need to make a Building Regulations Application.
The council will inspect the work and issue a certificate. This is the case even if you replace just one window. It's a good idea to leave the labels on the glass until you've got approval, as they show important information useful to the building control officer.
If you don't bother, you could get a nasty surprise when you come to sell your home, as solicitors will check for the relevant approval when the property is sold.
Building regulations are hot on keeping the weather out and the warmth in. Any new glazing mustn't exceed a certain 'U Value' which measures the amount of heat that can pass through the glass and frame.
But the regulations don't stop there. Windows also need to comply with Health and Safety aspects including:
Escape Route — All first floor windows (and those in bungalows) must meet minimum requirements on the size of openings so you can get out in case of fire.
Ventilation — There must be opening windows totaling at least 5 per cent of the floor area to prevent mould growth and build up of pollutants.
Kitchens and bathrooms may also require an extractor fan.
Safety Glazing — Any glazing within 800mm of floor level or 300mm from a door (and glazing in doors within 1500mm of floor level) should generally be toughened or laminated so that if broken, it will break safely.
Structural safety ? — If new windows are wider than those they replace, or involve the replacement of bay windows, then proper structural support such as a lintel may be required. Check this with your local authority.
Types of Window
Replacement windows come in all shapes and sizes and it is possible to match almost any kind of window or door to keep the building looking the same. The most popular types are:
Fixed — This window cannot be opened. It is usually inexpensive and best in places where little or no extra ventilation is required.
Double hung – Consists of two sashes that move up and down. Only half of the window can be open at one time. These are popular in period homes. Single hung windows are fixed at the top so only the bottom sash moves.
Casement — These are hinged vertically to swing in and out like a door.
Awning — Similar to casement windows but hinged horizontally.
Picture — Picture windows are large fixed windows with casement or double-hung windows either side.
Sliding – Sliding windows move on top and bottom tracks. They are ideal for small rooms where there is a lack of space.
Bay windows — are glazed on three sides, so they catch the daylight from different angles. They may have sashed openings and make an attractive feature. Bow windows are similar but less angular than a bay window. If you are adding extra windows, consider a different shape or style to make a feature:
Arched — Can be placed above double hung or fixed windows for a dramatic look. A Paladian window is a group of three windows with an arch over the center.
Rotating windows — Operate from a central ball or pivot so they can be opened from top or bottom or either side. They can be circular as well as squared or rectangular. They are easy to clean on both sides.
Windowscapes — A window that runs across the whole wall for maximum light and to get the most of outdoor views. They are very expensive but fantastic for ultra-modern homes.