WHICH WINDOWS WILL WORK FOR YOU?
Doors and windows have a HUGE impact on the interior of your home but I’m afraid to say they’re often an afterthought for many renovators who get distracted by more glamorous decisions involving their kitchens, flooring and furniture.
But long after those items have fallen out of fashion, your windows and doors will endure. They’ll still be there. So, think of them like a Chanel ‘Little Black Jacket’. They’re a major investment that will last a lifetime.
I guarantee if you don’t invest time in this area you’ll end up kicking yourself later when you realise your doors aren’t right and the breeze you’re supposed to be feeling inside can’t make it into your house thanks to your poorly chosen window placement. So, which window should you use where?
Start by asking yourself these questions:
+ What’s the purpose of this window? #light #airflow #view
+ How often am I going to use this window?
+ Who is going to use it? #onlyme #kids
+ Will it be left open a lot of the time? #yesorno
+ What style of window do you want? #gasstrutgal
+ What can I afford?
Once you’ve nailed the answers to all those questions, here are the main window types for you to consider:
Fixed windows are an economical choice when you don’t need airflow but are after natural light and perhaps a view. We love boxing them out and creating a picture window with built-in bench seating.
In House 9, we started out thinking we’d use bi-fold windows beside the dining table but as the reno progressed and the budget got squeezed, Erin talked us into a fixed picture window. It works perfectly in this space because there’s plenty of airflow from the kitchen doors and it literally frames the view to the garden. We used ‘ComfortHush’ glass from Viridian to block out the noise from the main road out the back.
Awning windows are very common – you’ve probably got some in your home. They look like a fixed pane of glass but are hinged at the top and crank open at the bottom. As their name suggests they create an awning when open so they can still provide great ventilation even in wet weather. They’re also a great option for windows located higher up in a house as they can be smaller in size. Lana chose this style of window in her master suite along with Virdian’s ‘ComfortHush’ glass to help reduce noise from the street. Awning windows close airtight so are a good choice when noise control and energy efficiency are important.
Sliding windows have been around for donkey’s years and we often find them in the houses we renovate. They’re easy to use and allow good airflow into a room.
Casement windows are the ‘sideways sister’ of awning windows. They’re hinged at the side and open out sideways. They allow for greater airflow as they are open from top to bottom.
Double hung windows are one of the most popular styles of windows around, and are found in lots of original and new homes. These guys can be opened at the top and bottom allowing cool air to enter through gap at the bottom and warmer air to escape through the gap at the top. Lana chose to keep her original double hung windows when she did her reno, and even though she installed a fixed pane window next to them they still looked fine – in fact doing that made a nice feature of the double hung windows.
Sashless windows are the naked version of double hung windows. There’s no frame to obstruct the view but be prepared to pay a premium for that.
Louvre windows are perfect when you want to control airflow with ease. The window consists of individual glass slats, which open a bit like plantation shutters to let in lots of air. And, unlike casement or awning windows, it doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing – you’ll always get a breeze into your home with louvres.
Bi-fold windows aren’t cheap but they are a popular choice when opening up a wide space and they are great if you want to connect that space with an alfresco area. I put some in at my Beach Shack and loved them so much I used them again along the indoor/outdoor servery at my Forever Home.
Gas strut windows are the bee’s knees so I saved the best for last! When we were renovating our first house (AKA the Hoarder’s House) Lana was ringing around to see who had the cheapest bi-fold windows. Then, boom! Garry, from Decorative Building Products suggested we try a gas-strut window instead. He told us it would be cheaper than bi-folds and that was all we needed to hear to place an order. And holy moly we’ve never looked back! In case you haven’t already worked it out from the picture, here’s why a gas- strut window is so great:
1. It offers an unobstructed view when closed versus bi-folds, which have framework around each little window.
2. The ease of opening and closing. You literally nudge the window and it opens up like it’s motorised. But watch out because if you make the window too tall, you might need a stool (or a tall friend) to help you close it.
3. It’s such a space saver compared to bi-folds, which stack up to one side and take up valuable servery and seating space
4. When open, it acts as an awning and provides cover from rain.
5. Umm, it just looks hot!
Aluminium or Timber?
This is another key decision you’ll have to make for your windows and doors. Personally, I love the look of timber and how it makes me feel but sometimes you might not have a choice. Depending on the BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) rating of your house, you might not be allowed to have timber framework. This was the case in my Forever Home where I had to use aluminium along the back of my house, which is BAL 40 rated. At the front of my house, I used timber. So, I have both types of window frames in my house and it’s very hard to spot the difference. Aluminium windows are also cheaper to buy, install and maintain, and they now come in loads of sleek designs with great powder-coated finishes.
Windows and doors can cost a bomb so don’t go OTT crazy on buying new ones if you’ve got existing ones that are still in reasonable nick. Lana re-used several windows and bi-fold doors in her reno, saving her tens of thousands of dollars.