Choosing The Right Windows and Doors
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Published by TOP4 Team
Windows and doors are important investments in any newly built home or major renovation. They’re expensive items and can put a dent in the bottom line, but in terms of aesthetic impact, they represent great value for money and significantly affect the overall look of your home.
Contemporary house designs can have the windows and doors covering more than half the wall area, and as most people will only buy them once or twice in their lifetime, it’s a decision everyone should consider carefully.
Decisions about the placement of your windows are best made in consultation with your architect, builder or supplier. But there’s more to windows than just positioning. Other things to be considered are your lifestyle, aesthetics, climate, aspect, accessibility and materials. When you have some of these ideas, source the best product for the job rather than simply finding the cheapest option.
The overall standard of quality of a project will dictate the cost of windows and doors. For a low-cost renovation you should allocate up to 10 per cent of the budget and 20 per cent for a substantial renovation.
The front door is often one of the most overlooked items in a renovation. But it can say a lot about the inhabitants and interiors of a house. Styles to choose from include pivoted, frosted-glass and panelled-timber doors with optional glass sidelights. Costs vary according to what you choose; like for example, a pivoting single door that gives a generous opening (about 200mm additional space) will have a modern appearance that works naturally with contemporary design, but may cost twice as much as a standard-width single door.
From awning, casement and double-hung to sashless and louvre, there is a style of window to suit every house, aspect, location and lifestyle. There are options with framing too. And flexibility doesn’t stop there because you also have the freedom to select the timber type and order your windows or doors pre-primed so you can paint them in your desired colour. Choice of glass is important, too, if you want to reduce the noise or lift the window’s energy rating.
Window technology has moved apace in the last few years. It has ushered in the era of ‘high-performance- windows that can help you to radically improve the energy efficiency of your home, in turn, reducing your heating and cooling bills. Windows and doors are considered as effective as climate-control appliances for the home as they regulate about 50 per cent of the flow of heat gained and lost in a house.
To maximise your windows’ energy efficiency, research the many different types of glass available on the market; for example, clear-float, toned-float, toughened, laminated, double-glazed, and low-emissivity (low-e). And, research your local government-mandated energy-performance standards for residential buildings.
The Building Code of Australia has window and door standards that outline energy-efficiency levels and performance standards for designated zones of your home. For example, in NSW, homes must comply with Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) requirements.