Choosing the right glazing for your renovation project

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Windows and doors define the external appearance of your property and can be one of the biggest investments you ever make in your home. When we renovated our old home we installed full height and full width glass sliding doors along the entire length of our open plan kitchen living space. It was a big investment and took up a sizeable chunk of our budget for the project but we never for a moment regretted it. They totally transformed the space, giving it a real wow factor and were the first thing everybody commented on as soon as they walked into our home. The entire space had a bright, airy and open feel and this was probably one of the things that helped us to secure a quick sale for our property when we decided to put it on the market and move on.

The full width patio doors in our old 1960s style house

The full width patio doors in our old 1960s style house

Our old house was a 1960s style property, but our new home was built in the 1930s and is architecturally quite different, so we aren’t aiming to replicate the same thing here. The front of the house has classic 1930s style curved bay windows so we’ve replaced these with more thermally efficient modern double-glazed windows in the original style to maintain the character of the house, but for our new extension at the side and rear of the house we’ll be going for a more contemporary look with dark aluminium frames which will be contrasted against white render.

The bay window in our new 1930s style house

The bay window in our new 1930s style house

When we designed the extension we thought long and hard about whether or not to go for a single or double extension. In the end we decided on a single extension, sacrificing the additional space we’d gain upstairs for the benefit of being able to add a pitched roof to the ground floor giving us a vaulted ceiling for extra height and several roof lights to allow light to flood into the space from above. Light and height was really important to us, so choosing the right glazing was key. I’ve found this one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make with this house. Glazing makes up a hefty proportion of our budget for the project and I know it will have a big impact on the look and feel of the home we eventually end up with, so it’s really important that we get it right.

If you are about to embark on a renovation project or an extension build then one key piece of advice I’d offer is to do lots of research into different glazing options before plans are drawn up or any work begins. This is particularly important if the glass is a key architectural feature of your build. Once your project is underway you may well find that you have to make lots of interrelated decisions in quick succession. Try to avoid finding yourself in a position where you are put on the spot and need to make a hurried decision without having time to think through all the implications.

While the fun part may be deciding on the style, colour and finish of your design it’s also important to think about the technical specification and performance of the glass itself. Here are just a few key things that you may also want to consider.

Finding the right solution for a period property

If you live in a conservation area or a listed building you may need planning permission to alter any external features of your home such as doors or windows. Your local planning department may insist that you fit ‘like for like’ replacements for older sash windows. In the past this often meant sacrificing energy efficiency for a period look but new solutions like Pilkington Spacia™ now offer ultra-thin vacuum glazing that is both lightweight and energy efficient. This makes it ideal if you need to achieve an authentic period look but don’t want to compromise on performance levels.


Eco friendly options

High performance thermally insulating glass like Pilkington K Glass™ and Pilkington Optitherm™ help to reduce the amount of heat escaping from your home by reflecting it back in. As well as keeping your home cosy this can also help you to save money on energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint as less heat is required to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Image courtesy of Pilkington

Image courtesy of Pilkington

Choosing a temperature regulating glass

For most of us keeping our home warm in winter is probably one of our main concerns when choosing glazing, but for areas like conservatories, glass boxes or spaces fitted with large lanterns or roof lights excessive heat in summer can also be an issue. To counteract the effect of this you may want to choose a glass that has solar control properties. The Pilkington Activ™ self clearning glass range offers not only self-cleaning properties but also solar control and thermal insulation, helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year around.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Practical considerations like cleaning and maintenance may not be the most exciting aspect of planning your renovation but don’t overlook them. If you are planning a large glass box type extension, or installing windows or roof lights in inaccessible or hard to reach areas, then it may be worth considering self-cleaning glass - it could end up saving you lots of time and money in the long term.

Pilkington Activ™ has a unique coating which is activated by UV light and has photo-catalytic and hydrophilic properties. This means that when it rains, instead of forming droplets, the water spreads evenly over the surface of the glass, helping to wash away any dirt and reduce streaking, and because there is no need to use chemical cleaners it’s kinder to the environment too.

I’m excited to see what impact the glazing we’ve chosen will have on our new kitchen extension as it starts to take shape over the next few weeks. Have you recently embarked on a renovation project? How did you choose which type of windows to fit and what did you opt for? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experience.

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