Windows are a crucial architectural element of any property. In many ways they play the largest role of any feature in defining the overall character and appearance of a building. In period properties, too, the vital role played by windows in giving the property its charm and aesthetic appeal is brought into even sharper focus.
If you own a period property, therefore, and need or want to replace the windows it is an important project which you will need to get just right. In order to do so, you will want to make the right choice when it comes to glazing, style of frame and frame material. That’s why below we have included brief guides to each of those crucial decisions, to help you on your way toward choosing the perfect windows for your period property.
Glazing Choices for Period Properties
Due to the time when they were built, the original windows of most period properties are single glazed. In the past that meant that homeowners had a choice of whether to retain single glazing for aesthetic reasons when replacing windows or to upgrade to double glazing for improved insulation and security.
Today, however, building regulations generally dictate that all properties must have double glazing in order to adhere to energy efficiency standards. What period property owners must decide, therefore, is whether to opt for standard double glazing or what are known as slim-line double glazing units.
Slim-line units appear more similar to single glazing from both inside and out, and as such are favoured by some as they can help to maintain a more authentic look for a period property. The units, too, are suitable for most types of window and in some case can even be retrofitted to original frames.
Depending upon their age, period properties tend to have either side-hung casement windows or sash windows. The former are single unit windows which swing open on a hinge like a door, whilst the latter comprise two frames that slide vertically in grooves and which are held open by a system of weights and pulleys.
In order to maintain the aesthetic of a period property, it is always advisable to replace like for like when it comes to the overall style of the window frames. That being said, however, slight changes in colour or additions of tasteful stained glass style patterns can still be used to enhance the appeal of traditionally styled frames.
New builds and more modern properties tend to now be fitted with uPVC window frames almost as standard. Those frames have notable benefits when it comes to longevity and cost but tend to do very little for the aesthetics of a period property. A better choice for a period property, therefore, tends to be to opt for either wooden or metal window frames.
These frames are unquestionably more striking and better looking, and thanks to recent technological innovations are now far closer to uPVC options when it comes to durability and heat-saving. Hardwood or chemically improved softwood frames, for instance, tend to perform extremely well when it comes to insulation and now have much better longevity than older wooden frame options.