Buying windows is something that happens very rarely in life. Therefore, people who face this situation do not want to make a mistake when choosing them. The decision is not usually easy, because there are a lot of types of windows, different models and varieties in each model, types of materials, and benefits depending on our choice.
For this reason, we always suggest speaking with several qualified professionals, capable of studying each project from scratch to determine the best solutions for specific needs.
We have compiled all the information available to help you decide what is the best type of window for your home, with a step-by-step guide to make things easier for you.
How to choose the type of window that best suits your home?
It might be difficult to choose the proper window styles for your home. There are so many different types of windows to pick from that it can be difficult to know where to begin.
There’s also the question of price and quality to consider: how do you know you’re not being overcharged and that the windows you choose will last? Windows are unquestionably a significant home investment — and one that may make or break your home’s design, so it pays to get the window type just right.
Not all windows are the same, you already know, and even more so if you have already begun to investigate this world.
We have put together a list of tips that will help you through the process of choosing the best window for your home.
What points should you take into account when choosing your windows?
- First of all, we must consider the type of frame that best suits our needs: PVC, aluminum, or wood.
- Secondly, glazing is a fundamental element in determining the benefits of a window and its greater orientation towards solving certain problems or challenges.
- We must also define what type of opening is the most convenient for us depending on how our interior and exterior spaces are and the type of use that we are going to give it.
- The shape of the windows is also a very important aspect when choosing one manufacturer or another.
- Increasingly, the degree of energy efficiency of a window is a fundamental decision element due to its greater contribution to savings, comfort, and the quality of life of families.
- Finally, another of the trends that are here to stay is the concern for the aesthetics of windows, becoming decisive elements for the style and decoration of the different spaces.
Types of windows according to the material
The grid is the type of material from which the window frames are made. Each material has a series of characteristics and properties that translate into specific benefits for users.
Therefore, it is very important to correctly choose the type of window that best suits your needs.
Wooden windows are the most traditional option. Wood is a good natural insulator and aesthetically they are very attractive. In addition, it allows being worked with relative ease, giving rise to true works of craftsmanship.
However, it also has its drawbacks.
It is the most expensive material, both in cost and maintenance. Wood absorbs moisture, which can cause it to swell, crack and warp, plus it is further affected by pollution and exposure to changes in temperature and sunlight. This affects its thermal and acoustic insulation properties.
In addition, despite being a natural material, the production of wooden windows causes the felling of numerous extensions of forests and the consequent impact on the environment.
Aluminum windows are offered in a wide range of colors and finishes, foliated or lacquered.
However, as a metal, aluminum is a good conductor of energy, so its insulating properties and energy efficiency are lower than those of other materials. In addition, this fact adds to the need to screw the corners as it is impossible to weld them hermetically, with the consequent entry of air and noise.
In contrast, high-end aluminum windows are currently designed with a Thermal Bridge Break: a plastic separation that is placed in the central area of the frames to reduce the entry of cold and loss of color.
Another of its strong points is the wide range of frames and accessories and the ease with which it can be worked, although at the cost of a more expensive price.
And finally, aluminum is a very light and resistant metal but it has a tendency to generate condensation and scratches, leaving it exposed to oxidation and corrosion.
More than 30 years ago it began to take its first steps in Europe due to its greater insulation and efficiency properties.
PVC, a resin composed of 57% common salt, was the last material to be added to this list. Today, it is the present and the future of windows.
PVC windows are characterized by their excellent thermal and acoustic insulation, since, in addition to the PVC itself, they are designed and extruded with several internal air chambers, adding in the case of Ecoven plus windows a reinforcement of galvanized steel in all frames.
It is a highly durable material with a very low maintenance cost, all you need is soap and water, as it is immune to contamination and highly resistant to condensation and inclement weather. The color remains stable over time and, thanks to new foliated technologies, they can be produced in a wide range of colors and wood and metallic finishes, smooth and textured, as well as the new ultra-matte Spectral finish, a great revolution for the aesthetic possibilities of windows.
Another of its great advantages is its ability to be 100% recycled and its lower environmental impact in the manufacturing process: according to a study by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, PVC windows are 45% more efficient than aluminum ones and 15% more than wood in reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
Types of windows according to efficiency, comfort, and savings
As we are seeing, not all windows are the same. Even less in terms of its benefits and its contribution to energy efficiency, comfort, and savings for its users.
We can establish a triple classification.
Passivhaus windows or high-efficiency windows
They represent the highest level. They are very high-performance windows, specifically designed to achieve the best performance in insulation and airtightness and comply with the demanding Passivhaus standard.
These windows have frames and sheets of great width (82 mm) and very powerful glazing, as well as their fittings to support the extra weight.
An important concept when talking about the efficiency of a window is its thermal transmittance, also called U-value. Without getting too technical, transmittance represents the rate at which the window lets heat and cold in and out.
The lower the transmittance, the greater the comfort.
For a window to be considered passivhaus, its transmittance must be Uw ≤ 0.8 W/m2K. But this is somewhat misleading because the Uw is the transmittance of the window as a whole, not that of the glazing (Ug), which is always lower and therefore they are not comparable.
In addition, the transmittance also depends on the size of the window and the proportion of glass, so two Uw cannot be compared without having more data.
In many cases, especially in reforms and rehabilitations, the windows must fulfill the function of substantially improving the insulation of the home, resulting in a very evident and direct way in comfort, savings, and quality of life.
Properly combining the different elements of the window frame, hardware, and glazing-, an expert should be able to advise the best solution for each particular need.
In the case of aluminum windows, as we have said, in order to break the good conduction of the metal and increase its insulation, it is necessary to resort to frames with Thermal Bridge Break (RPT) that incorporate a plastic element in their central area.
Of course, there are still low-end options on the market such as enclosure solutions. Narrow aluminum or wood windows with simple glass, PVC frames of Asian origin… are very economical options, although, logically, the features are not the same.
Although practicality is very important, we must not underestimate the design of the openings that we choose for our home. Windows are very important elements in the aesthetics of our house and if we choose ones that we do not like too much, too small, or that do not ventilate enough, we can have a bad experience and worsen our quality of life.
In some cases, it is better to opt for distributed glass to reduce the risk of cuts. However, if this aesthetic does not satisfy us enough, you can opt for a full laminated glass. In this way, we avoid the risk of cuts and we do not lose the visual field.