11 Tips for Choosing the Right Windows & Doors for Your Home
If you’re in the market for windows and doors for your new or renovated home, you’ve probably noticed the wide range of options that are available.
With different sizes, frames, colours, glazing, and styles, the variety can be a little overwhelming.
So here are 11 tips to make it easier for you to choose the right windows and doors for your home.
It may sound obvious, but it’s important to make sure the windows and doors you choose comply with Australian standards. These standards apply to the windows themselves, and also to the ways in which they’re used. For example, opening restrictions and screens are mandatory for windows in certain places and heights in order to reduce the risks of small children falling through them. Consult with your builder and/or architect to find out which standards you need to look for and adhere to.
Where possible, visit showrooms so you can see potential windows and doors in person. You’ll get a much better idea of the look and feel of a window or door when it’s displayed in its proper context, or an imitation of its proper context. Visiting in person also allows you to touch and feel the windows and doors, so you can physically experience the quality – or lack thereof.
If you can’t visit a showroom, you can still look at the windows and doors you’re considering online. When browsing online, look for listings that show the products “in context” in people’s homes. You want to get a strong idea of the way the windows and doors you’re thinking about can fit into a home, so you can visualise how they’d fit into your home. You’ll also want to see full specifications, energy ratings, and other important details.
Another obvious tip, but you’d be surprised how often people forget it: make sure you choose windows and doors that match your home’s architectural look and style. For example, floor to ceiling glass is a striking yet contextual feature in a contemporary home. But in an otherwise un-renovated “Old Queenslander”, it looks pretty out of place. Your architect or building designer should be able to give you recommendations about the lifestyle of windows and doors you should choose to suit your property’s character.
The windows and doors you select also need to fit the purpose they’re meant to fulfil. If you want privacy in a ground-floor bathroom, for instance, you’ll want windows with obscure glass. For maximum light or showcasing a view, large glass sliding doors or bi-fold doors, or windows that come in large configurations, are probably what you’re looking for. If ventilation’s important to you, you’re obviously not going to want fixed windows. On the other hand, sliding and bi-fold doors, and awning, sliding and louvre windows will all fit the bill nicely.
You can’t have a home without windows and doors – that would be a doomsday bunker. But because windows and doors are a home’s weak point, it’s important to factor security options into your choices. Your window’s height relative to the ground, locks, the strength of the glass, and the quality of your security screens or safety screens will all factor into the security of your windows and doors.
You don’t just want to coordinate your windows and doors with your home’s architectural style. You also want to match or coordinate the frame colour with your roof, walls, and maybe even your driveway. Most aluminium window frames are available in greys, blacks, beiges, browns, and even yellows and blues. So there should always be a colour to suit your home.
Your windows and doors will be your home’s source of natural light. You don’t want to let in too little or too much sun, so it’s important to factor the orientation of the sun into your window choice. The size and orientation of your windows in relation to the sun, along with your type of glazing, will determine how much sunlight streams into each room. Keep in mind that roof overhangs prevent natural light from entering at certain angles. Your architect or building designer can recommend appropriately sized and placed windows and doors.
Approximately 40% of all energy consumed in Australian homes is used for cooling and heating. The vast majority of your home’s heat loss and heat gain come from windows, so choosing energy efficient windows can have a real effect on your power bills. Your window’s design, glass type, glazing, and seals determine how energy efficient it is. Toned or “tinted” glass, low-e glass, IGUs, and thermal breaks are all energy efficient features worth considering.
Do you live in a busy area? Then you may be interested in windows that are specifically designed for acoustic performance. These windows reduce the neighbourhood, traffic, and building noise from entering your home.
Of course, the windows and doors you buy ultimately have to fit within your budget. That’s why it’s important to prioritise which features are most important to you. Are you particularly concerned with energy efficiency and security? Then you need to invest in windows that fit this bill, even if that means you miss out on better acoustic shielding. By prioritising the features you’re looking for, you can ensure you choose the best windows and doors for your budget.
Our window and door selection guide covers these points and more.