Windows are an important aspect of house design impacting the aesthetics of your home both indoors and out. However with a huge variety of options on offer it can feel quite overwhelming when trying to decide what would be best for your home extension.
Your architectural team should support you on window choice, providing you with advice so that you can benefit from the most amount of natural light, while balancing it out against other considerations.
In this article, we will talk you through the key factors to consider before finalising your home improvement plans.
Five things to consider when selecting the right windows for your extension project
#1 – The existing style of your home
Planning authorities are more likely to grant approval for extensions that complement the existing style of the property, particularly in built up areas with neighbouring properties.
In architectural planning, the style features you should take into account:
- Existing window style (eg: sash & case or modern casement windows)
- Materials used in existing windows (timber, UPVC, aluminum, steel)
- Window frame colour
- Window frame opening mechanism
- Window placement (3 ft above floor, less than 18inches between ceiling or floor)
Not all of these need to match the existing home, but the aesthetics should complement rather than disrupt the surroundings.
#2 – The amount of light you would like/need
Letting light flood into your home, is usually a primary consideration when extending, but this has to also be balanced with energy efficiency and privacy.
Are you extending to create a new bedroom, bathroom or sunroom – or is it perhaps to create an open plan living space?
In a bedroom you might be looking to maximise the views you can see, but still maintain privacy. For a sunroom, floor-length windows might give you that perfect way to bring the outside, in. Skylights, Velux windows and other roof lights are great considerations to brighten potential dark spots without having to lose wall space.
#3 – Opening mechanism & casement style
In some circumstances this decision may be shortlisted or even decided for you due to the type of extension and space available. Think about how you will like to use the window; how often you are likely to open it; visual aesthetics – remember in Scotland the weather can be quite breezy!
Window opening mechanisms to consider include:
- Tilt and turn
- Casement windows
- Outward opening
- Pivoting horizontal/vertical
- Upward opening/ Double hung
- Velux windows
#4 – Energy Efficiency
The Window Energy Rating (WER) indicates the efficiency of the window- the better the rating, the better they are at insulating heat. The more effective they are at insulating heat, the less energy you’ll need to keep your house warm – saving you money on your fuel bills.
In October 2010 legislation was introduced that meant new windows needed to have a minimum window energy rating of band C in a conscious shift to look after the environment.
#5 – Cost
The price of windows can vary hugely from as little as £250 right into the thousands.
As with all purchase considerations – price plays a big role in determining the options that are available for your home in order to remain within budget.
The key factors that will alter window prices are
- The style of window for example: casement, tilt & turn, sash etc.
- The material selected for the frames, ie: UPVC, Aluminum and steel.
- The energy efficiency of the window frames, the higher the rating, the more expensive they are likely to be.
- The complexity & number of opening mechanisms required on the frames.
- The quantity which you’d like to order – if you are creating a sunroom with multiple windows you are far more likely to benefit from savings than just an order of one for a bathroom extension.
Summary : Extensions, how to choose the right windows
When considering window choice for your extension, always keep in mind how you are expecting to use the room(s). Windows are brilliant for increasing natural light but there are also considerations that need to be made for heat insulation. That is before you even get into the options of style, materials and opening mechanisms!
Our advice would be to write down your priorities then consider what you are willing to negotiate on, and what is essential for your home extension.