Glazing and Windows – what are your options?
Is glazing and windows on your list of options to consider for an upgrade? Here’s a quick guide into a some of the different options when deciding on what type of window or glass door to put into your new house.
Transparency in Glass
Windows are more than shape, size and style, their most important jobs are to let in sunlight, keep out the unwanted weather, open up the view and capture the breeze. However, it is not all clear vistas from your windows as they have the biggest transfer of heat in the whole house losing up to 47 per cent in winter and gaining an even greater percentage in summer and they also allow the transference of noise.
How do you find the balance between flooding your house with light and fresh air while keeping the room at the best temperature?
The following choices will create a fresh breeze on your new dream home ideas.
Sliding Windows: These are the most common windows in Australia. They are come in a range of sizes and easily slide open on their aluminium frames.
Double Hung Windows: The windows slide vertically rather than horizontally. While these windows originally had wooden frames and were associated with older houses, they are still available today in newer aluminium frames and suit homes that are aiming for individual style.
Awning Windows: These windows are hinged at the top and open outwards; they are especially good for wet climates as water will be drained away from the window.
Clerestory Windows: While traditionally these were narrow strip of windows across the top of the building, now any high windows are referred to as clerestory. These windows have the advantage of being able to capture the best sunlight in rooms not oriented for passive solar design and they also help enlarge the window space in homes with high ceilings to capture views.
Skylights: A window set into the roof can capture extra precious daylight in dark rooms. They can also add a sense of space especially in a bedroom where you can dream away the night away underneath the stars.
Sawtooth Windows: These are a roof window without the openness of a skylight. Set on an angle the windows will allow light in, but not the sky. Originally designed for industrial buildings they are good for dark rooms and help create a stylistic industrial home.
Transoms and Fanlights: Traditional fancy windows around a door which allow extra lighting and viewing around a hard surface; additionally, they create interest and style at the home’s entrance.
Louvre: Louvre windows are second to none for capturing the breeze and keeping out the weather. The windows have a series of blades that open, rather than a wide glass base. The blades can be made of aluminium, glass or wood. They are often associated with the tropics, but they can be used anywhere and are wonderful in narrow spaces like a bathroom to allow a long vertical window strip.
Bay Windows: A bay window is made to project outside of the building although it often uses conventional window frames within the structure. Bay windows are an excellent way to add character to a room or building and extend the house into the environment.
Flyscreens: If you look on any architecturally designed house on the internet it probably does not include the humble flyscreen as they take away from the look of the house and restrict natural airflow. However, if you have flies or mozzies on the go, them life without them can be miserable. Flyscreens are an excellent way to let the outside in without letting the whole of nature in with it.
Sliding Doors: These traditional glass doors let in full swathes of sunlight and airflow. They are an economical way to connect living spaces and create a flow between inside and outside areas. One drawback of sliding doors is the tracks need to be cleaned regularly otherwise dirt builds up and takes away from the clean lines.
Bi-fold Doors: The recent innovation of rolling hardware without an additional structural beam has made bi-fold doors a must have for families that want an alfresco dining experience. The doors completely fold back to connect spaces, and when there is no step it creates the perfect indoor/outdoor entertainment area.
Single Hinged or Panelled doors: Just as Transom windows add interest around a front door, panelled doors also add additional glass sections to let in the extra light which can be perfect for a connecting dark corridor. On a private door it is possible to have an all glass single door for understated elegance.
French Doors: French doors are two single hinged doors that open outwards. Usually the doors are made from wood with panelled glass and are placed leading out to a veranda or between internal rooms. They add a touch of class and provincial French culture.
Pivot Doors: Pivot doors open on a central picot and are generally joined together in pairs or more. When opened the doors can be opened to direct the breeze into the house, they also add a dramatic statement like boat sails cutting through the house edge. However, the doors pivot on the spot and cannot move out of the way making them impractical for many householders.
Paradoxical as it sounds, glass is a suitable material for front doors and other private spaces because of its opacity, yet transparent, nature.
Textured glass: Textured glass is both a beautiful and practical addition to any door as it allows clear light although not clear sight. There are several varieties of textured glass such as frosted, glazed, ripple, water glass and opaque white. The glass adds its own sense of beauty and ornamentation.
Stained Glass: Perfect for a period house in need of a renovation or a house borrowing from the refined past. Stained glass is a combination of coloured glass and lead, it can be bright and colourful with a stunning picture detail or it can be dignified and understated.
Toughened Glass: This glass has been treated to be more resistant to breakages and once it does break, it will split in predictable ways. This is an important addition for anybody thinking of incorporating paid childcare facilities within a house and is also good for householders who are concerned about accidents or other dangers.
Double Glazed: Everyone is talking about double glass for its exceptional thermal and noise-deadening qualities. Much of a house’s heat flow is transferred through its windows. Double glazed windows significantly reduce this problem by adding two layers of glass with a vacuum or layer of gas (usually argon) between them. For even more thermal qualities it is possible to have triple glazed windows. This is perfect for homeowners that do not want to add any window furnishings but also want to conserve heat. Window furnishings – now that is a whole different story.
Connecting to Passive Design
The secret of a liveable house is to match the style and size of windows to your climate, sun direction, wind direction and stylistic needs. To create a house that is moderate in temperature all year around, you need to be clever about where you place windows and how you shade them.
Some quick tips include:
Cross Ventilation: Place windows opposite each other to create an air flow throughout the house to allow the exchange of fresh air.
Shading: Keep the worst of summer sun at bay through clever shading ideas including correctly proportioned eaves, trees, deciduous vines, shutters, window treatments or outdoor areas such as verandas.
Vents: Use vents to transfer heat out of the house.
No matter what your actual window style is, visit the article on passive solar design for more information on these crucial factors in making the best window placement decision.