Upgrading your windows is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to level up your home’s exterior. From the material and colour of the frames to the type of glass, subtle changes can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your house. However, as designs and technology continue to develop, understanding the market and what’s best for your property has become increasingly difficult. That’s why, in this article, we’ll use our wealth of experience fitting windows in Harpenden to walk you through the options and help you select the right window types for your home.

Window Types: Everything You Need To Know

In recent years, the world of windows has undergone a transformation. With new technologies popping up all the time and a range of styles coming in and out of fashion, there’s never been a better time to get creative with your windows. That said, knowing where to start with your window renovation can be tricky. So, if you’re looking to reinvent the profile of your property, keep reading as we guide you through the materials, colourways, and potential costs involved in your makeover.

house front profile

Types Of Windows

With massive variations in styles, homeowners today are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the type of windows for their homes. While plenty of influence is taken from other countries, there remain eight main types of windows in the UK. These are as follows:

Casement: A traditional yet versatile style, these windows are usually attached to their frame by side hinges, so they open like a door but can also be opened from the top or bottom. Casement windows suit any style of house, making them one of the most popular choices in the UK.

Sash: These windows consist of two framed window sashes, one positioned in front of the other. They open vertically by sliding one frame onto the other. Typically associated with traditional architecture, sash windows are a common choice for homes in conservation areas.

Tilt-and-turn: Tilt-and-turn windows offer flexible ventilation as they can be fully opened from the side or partially tilted inwards. They’re commonly found in urban areas because they offer greater security.

Sliding: Like a patio door, sliding windows open horizontally by sliding along a window track. They allow for an unobstructed view of the surroundings and work well in limited space.

Bay: These windows project outwards from the face of the building, creating extra space inside the property. They consist of three window panes and can extend across two storeys.

Bow: Very similar to bay windows, these consist of four or more windows, creating a more subtle curve projecting from the face of the property. They’re typically installed in living and dining rooms for some extra space.

Skylight: Unlike the other styles, these windows are found on a property’s roof. They sit flush with the roof line or protrude from the roof (dormer). They’re commonplace in loft conversions.

Transom: Also known as a fanlight, these windows sit above a doorway, allowing for more natural light at an entrance. They can’t usually be opened.

Choosing the right style for your property comes down to a range of factors. Firstly, take some time to understand the architecture of your property. More traditional houses with Edwardian, Victorian, or similar styles of architecture are likely to be better suited to casement, sash, and bay windows. Alternatively, those living in urban areas with more modern architecture might prefer the security and convenience of tilt-and-turn or sliding frames.

For many, cost will be the main factor in deciding which window type is best for them. So, if you’re on a budget, casement windows are your best option. On the other hand, bay and bow windows are the most complicated to install and manufacture, so they’re usually the most expensive choice.

Modern windows CS

Window Materials

Whatever material you choose for your window frames, it’s likely to have a huge impact on the final look and cost of your renovation. That’s why selecting the right material is just as important as choosing the right style of window for your home. Window frames are constructed of five main materials, each with different pros and cons:

uPVC: Since its introduction in 1935, uPVC has dominated the window market. It doesn’t rot or warp over time and is by far the cheapest frame material available, making it the UK’s most popular choice.

Timber: Often installed in period-style homes for their feel and authenticity, timber frames are timeless. They can be constructed from hardwoods and softwoods. Softwood is cheaper but less stable and requires more maintenance.

Aluminium: Aluminium frames are hugely popular right now as they deliver a premium contemporary finish. Due to its strength, the frames can be super thin and easily accommodate triple glazing. They’re available in any colour, maintenance-free, and dimensionally stable.

Composite: These frames combine materials for a wide range of finishes. Often, composite frames are designed to look like timber frames while offering greater structural integrity and less maintenance.

Steel: Commonplace in mainland Europe, steel window frames are rising in popularity in the UK as homeowners look to add more of a modern touch to their properties. This does come at a cost, however, as steel frames are among the most expensive options.

uPVC is still the most popular framing material in the UK due to its affordability and low maintenance. Additionally, uPVC can be manufactured in a wide range of colours, often grained with wood finishes to boost its visual appeal. Alternatively, aluminium frames are the go-to option for more contemporary properties. While the initial investment may be higher than uPVC windows, aluminium frames provide better insulation and more significant savings on energy costs.

uPVC Window

Window Colours

Today, windows of all materials are available in almost every colour you can think of. While you’re spoilt for choice, choosing a colourway that works with your style of property and its surroundings is important. Again, the first factor to consider is the architectural style of your home. If you live in an older property, more traditional or muted colours are likely to work best. For example, white, cream, or dark grey perfectly complements a red-brick Victorian house. Alternatively, modern properties give you the chance to get creative and go bold. Anthracite grey is a popular choice for white properties, or make a statement with a shade of blue or red.

It’s also worth considering how your new frames will work with your home’s existing features. For example, choosing a colour that complements your front door is often a good idea. Our article ‘11 Types Of Doors‘ will help you better understand how to align your doors and windows. Additionally, think about how the frames will work with your internal walls. It may be worth investing in dual colour frames if the external design doesn’t work with your interior.

Modern house with blue double glazed windows

Window Glass Type

The final, and arguably most important, variable you have to decide on for your windows is the glass. There are six main types of glass, each serving a different purpose:

Float: The most budget-friendly option, float glass provides less insulation than other options. It will break into shards when hit with force but can undergo chemical strengthening processes.

Laminated: Laminated glass is typically used in places where damage to the glass would cause concern. It will crack when it breaks but won’t leave its frame.

Obscured: In rooms where privacy is paramount, like a bathroom, obscured glass will limit visibility inside.

Tempered: As it is much stronger than regular glass and resistant to heat, tempered glass is very popular in kitchens and bathrooms.

Insulated: Specially designed by layering glass, insulated glass creates a barrier to outside heat and cold, making it highly efficient. It is also nearly impossible to shatter.

Low-E: Low-E glass keeps the heat out but lets the sunlight in by blocking UV rays. It’s best suited in places that need plenty of natural light.

In addition to the type of glass, you’ll need to consider the level of glazing you want for your windows. Glazing refers to the number of glass panes within a window. Triple glazing has become the standard solution for most homes in the UK due to its increased energy performance and greater noise-cancelling capabilities. Double-glazed windows are considerably cheaper and offer similar advantages, just to a lesser extent. To understand double glazing in greater detail, check out our article: ‘What Is Double Glazing‘. We’ve been helping homeowners reap the rewards of triple and double glazing in Harpenden for over ten years, so if you’ve got any questions about your windows, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Windows ready to be installed

Ready To Upgrade Your Home?

Choosing the right windows for your property is often trickier than it might appear. But now that you’re equipped with all of the information you need to make an educated decision, you can confidently move forward with levelling up your home’s exterior. If you’ve got any more questions about replacing your windows or want to arrange an installation, get in touch with us at CS Windows. We’ve developed a first-class reputation for installing windows and conservatories in Harpenden, so you can have confidence you’re in the best hands possible.