A buyer’s guide for windows & doors
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been thinking about investing in new windows or doors. Here at Eurocell Home we want to ensure you make the right choices before you commit. We have developed a customer journey that puts you firmly in the driving seat, so you can go at your own pace.
A little time invested now could make all the difference to the appearance, comfort and security of your home.
Regulation & Planning Permission
You don’t need planning permission for replacement windows but, if you’re in a conservation area or your property is listed, there may be restrictions on what type or style of window you can have.
Please check with your local authority for advice if you’re not sure or follow this link to find out more
If you’re OK to go ahead, that’s great, but it’s worth knowing that replacing windows comes under the scope of the Building Regulations. These are designed to ensure safety, energy efficiency and adequate ventilation.
Following completion of your installation, you will receive certification to prove your job’s done right through the post. Please note our service does not include obtaining permissions, so you should ensure you have fully checked requirements prior to placing your order.
Replacement windows and doors use an ‘A‘ to ‘E’ energy rating labelling system, similar to that operated for electrical goods such as fridges, freezers and washing machines. An ‘A/ A++‘rating is the best performing and ‘E’ the worst.
The Windows (and Doors) Energy Rating (WER & DER) schemes are independently operated by the British Fenestration Ratings Council (BFRC), a subsidiary of the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF), the leading trade body of the fenestration industry.
A-ratings are becoming increasingly popular for replacement window projects, as they usually offer a very substantial improvement in performance over what’s being replaced for a relatively modest price premium over ‘C’ rated windows, the minimum standard required to comply with current Building Regulations.
A-rated windows are affordable because they are achieved using double-glazing, the same as lower performance ratings (but with higher specification glass).
It’s also worth noting that 95% of BFRC-certified A++ rated windows are made from PVC-U. For more information, visit our Energy efficiency page here.
Energy efficiency is a major contributing factor to Sustainability. To find out what more Eurocell Home is doing about sustainability, visit the page here
Designing your windows & doors
The windows you choose should complement the architecture of your home. That may mean that you don’t want a like for like replacement.
Stroll around the area where you live. Look for properties where the windows and doors add to the appearance of a home. Here are some things to consider:
Window type fashions have changed over the years. In the UK, the most common type of window by far remains the casement, with its side opening ‘sashes’ and smaller top opening ‘lights’.
In recent years, the trend has been to maximise the amount of natural light entering the home, so window design has become simpler. Smaller opening top ‘lights’ are far less popular now, as they make the frame design more complex and bulkier, for little benefit other than ventilation. Modern casement window opening ‘sashes’ have a ‘night vent’ position to facilitate ventilation with the sash only being open a few millimetres, so security isn’t compromised.
There are three basic styles of UPVC window frames available on the market today:
This is where the sash (the opening part) of the window sits on top of, and lines up exactly with, the outer frame of the window, giving it a ‘flush’ appearance. The window bead (the part that holds the glazing unit in place) is typically a simple square shape. The overall look of a flush sash window is a traditional, classic and premium. They are versatile enough to be used on contemporary architectural style properties, especially when in modern colours like grey, and usually carry a price premium over chamfered or ovolo styles.
Are a simple angled shape to the top and bottom of the frame. When closed, the sash overlaps the outer frame, creating a ‘lip’, what’s technically known as a rebate. Chamfered frames are more popular on modern architectural style properties and are widely fitted on new build houses.
Ovolo is a sculptured shape to the top and bottom of the frame, instead of an angle. Ovolo frames also have a rebate, like chamfered. The design is carried over from that used on timber windows in the past, so tend to be used on traditional style properties, such as Victorian, Edwardian or cottages.
In the early days of UPVC windows, white was the only option, but now, there’s a whole palette of colours. You can select something that truly complements your home and works with the building materials. You can choose to blend with the environment or to make a bold statement. You can pick from realistic and beautiful wood effects or strong solid colours.
Although White is still the most popular choice, Grey has become a strong contender. Anthracite Grey (RAL 7016) is now one of the best-selling colours for windows and doors, especially for modern properties. We also offer other greys, as demand for all things grey continues to grow. For traditional properties, what’s known as ‘heritage’ colours have become increasing popular as more colourful alternatives to the wood-effect finishes and are particularly well suited to stone-built houses, for example. Chartwell Green has been the most popular of these, which is why we offer it in our Eurocell Home Ovolo style frames, and our PVC and composite entrance doors.
Many customers want their windows and door colours to match – and Eurocell Home offers this compatibility. However, it’s also common for customers to want a different colour for their front door, either to subtly complement their windows, or to make a statement by choosing something that stands out. That is why our entrance door ranges offer a wider choice of colours.
Privacy is important, both from a home security point of view and for shielding from nosy neighbours and unwelcome visitors. Entrance areas, bathrooms and upstairs landings are all areas where privacy glazing is commonly used in windows to obscure the view inside permanently.
Likewise, composite and PVC entrance doors offer what are called ‘backing’ glasses in frosted patterns which sit behind the decorative glass style chosen, again to obscure the view inside.
But obscure glass is not the only way to create some privacy with your windows and doors. The use of roller or venetian blinds can temporarily close views in or out of any room. When white or bright colours are chosen, the light is diffused, so the interior remains bright and attractive. Plus, adding another layer between you and the glass will increase your comfort and aid energy efficiency further.
Keeping your loved ones and possessions safe is always a priority. The security features of windows and doors have advanced in recent years, so there are minimum standards you should now expect, such as:
3-star-rated cylinder door locks – the highest rating currently available, which are anti-bump, anti-snap, anti-pick and anti-drill.
Locks on all windows – So windows can’t be forced or opened accidentally
Internal glazing beads – To prevent intruder access by being able to remove beads and glazing units from the outside.
Features like these are incorporated into enhanced security standards set out in specific documents. The main documents are:
PAS24 - A voluntary enhanced security standard widely adopted by the fenestration industry. As part of the test, windows and doors must withstand attack from a burglar using a standard set of tools for three minutes. Other tests as part of PAS24 include impact and mechanical load testing.
Care & maintenance
It is well-known that UPVC windows and doors require very little maintenance. That’s one reason why they are the first choice as replacement products over other materials.
They won’t rust or rot, but your new windows and doors will need some care and attention over their lifespan. It’s important that this basic maintenance is carried out for your product guarantees to remain valid.
We have outlined these basic steps for you here - also available to download and keep in our handy Care & Maintenance booklet.
Quality & durability
Choosing windows and doors that will give many years of hassle-free high performance is a requirement we often hear at Eurocell Home. After all, you don’t want to be re-investing in products before you really need to.
Millions of first-generation PVC-U windows are providing faithful service long after the 35-year average design life awarded by the BRE (Building Research Establishment). To help ensure longevity, there are some other points to look for:
BBA–certified systems – A British Board of Agrement (BBA) certificate is recognised throughout the construction industry as a symbol of quality and reassurance. Eurocell Home window, French and bi-fold door systems are BBA-certified.
CE Marking – This is how a product complies with UK and EU safety, health and environmental requirements. All windows and doors should be CE marked.
British Standards – Are voluntary and set out rules for following best practices in specific subjects. Doors and windows have their own British Standards, which Eurocell Home products are manufactured to (BS6375 and BS476)
When combined with minimal maintenance required, products with these accreditations will give you the hassle-free long-life performance you want and need.