Building or renovating your dream home is a wonderful project to engage in, and to see your dreams come to life, step by step. Yet it can also be quite a daunting experience, with all the options and decisions you are faced with!
Among all the other considerations, is the question of your windows and doors – an integral part of your home that is responsible for so much of the flow, functionality and aesthetics. It’s important to make the right decisions with regards to your fenestration, after all, you will be living with them for years to come – possibly even a lifetime!
To help you with your planning, we’ve created this short guide to choosing your windows and doors. This will help you approach the process with more clarity and confidence.
What styles of windows to choose? What about the sizes and configurations? How bright do you want your house to be? Should you replace a window with a door? What specialised glass can you choose, and why? Or should you opt for double glazing? What about installation? These are some of the considerations we will guide you through here.
The look and feel
First you should take some time to decide on the look and feel of your home. If you’re working with an architect, no doubt they will lead your hand through this process. If you’re undertaking renovations or prefer to get more involved, we walk you through the factors to consider…
Are you looking to create a bright and airy space? Are you going for an ultra modern look? Is rustic and cottage more your style? Or are you aiming to create an upmarket classic, with stately features? The style you choose will determine many of the characteristics of your windows and doors.
Your windows and doors are essentially what give your home its natural flow and play a pivotal role in adding brightness to your space.
So for example you might want to go for large windows to take advantage of the surrounding views. You might opt for cottage pane style windows and doors. Or you may decide on huge sliding doors or stacking doors to open up your living room onto the garden. Choosing the most appropriate glass fixtures will go a long way towards creating the space you want.
There are many aspects of choosing the right windows and doors. First let’s take a look at the different types of windows and doors.
Types of windows
When you know about the different types of windows and doors available, you can be more creative with your space, and more confident in choosing what is best. So let’s take a closer look at the different types:
Casement windows have ’sashes’ that swing out from the window’s outer frame, allowing them to open very widely and thus making them perfect for ventilation. They can be top-hung or side-hung, and their units usually come as a combination of fixed panes as well as opening sashes. Top-hung casement windows are a good solution for the weather-facing side of any building, as you can have them open without admitting any rain or severe winds.
Sliding windows, a classic choice. They have an unobtrusive design, perfect for settings where space does not allow for sashes to project outwards. Or you may just enjoy the sleek design and practicality. Sliding windows come in 2, 3 or 4 panes, depending on the width of the window. They are designed to fit seamlessly next to other fixtures such as fixed-pane windows, sliding doors or folding doors.
Stacking windows, also called concertina windows or sliding-folding windows, open and fold back, essentially opening up the entire window space. These can be perfect for a serving hatch, for rooms where you need maximum ventilation, or if you want to create a more open feel towards your garden or pool area. These windows are available between 3 panels and 10 panels, depending on the total width.
Types of Doors
Next let’s take a look at the different types of doors available to you.
Sliding doors are always popular for their elegance and practicality. You can consider aluminium sliding doors for rooms where you want to maximise the view and invite more light into your space. They are available in 2, 3,4 and 6 panels, depending on the width.
Hinged/French doors: Hinged doors are one of the more standard designs. They are manufactured either as a single door, or as a double door, commonly referred to as a French door. A single hinged door can also be made as a stable door and is ideal for a kitchen entrance, while a French door is perfect for main entrances. The panels of these doors can be fitted with aluminium panelling or glass according to your requirements.
Sliding-folding doors, also called stacking doors, fold out and stack neatly to open up the entire width of the opening, which can be up to 9m wide! They are ideal if you want to open your lounge to your garden or patio, or expand your bedrooms onto an upper balcony. They can even be used as interior dividers between rooms to complement an open plan scheme. Depending on the entire width of the opening, we will manufacture them from a 3 panel door right up to a 10 panel door.
For areas of your home where you would simply like to let more light in or open up to the views outside, fixed-pane windows are an excellent choice. These are perfect for staircase landings, view windows, or feature windows. They have no opening sashes, and are custom made according to your specific dimensions. Fixed panes can span huge proportions, replacing entire walls or enclosing a double-volume feature of your house.
Sidelights and top-lights
Top-lights refer to the glass inserts above a window or door. Sidelights refer to the glass sections installed directly next to your door, either on one side or both. These fixtures are designed to compliment your windows and doors seamlessly. They are ideal for adding extra glass and therefore light to your home end effectively creating a glass feature instead of installing a single window or door.
Top lights and side lights can incorporate sections that are fixed panes of glass and others that are opening windows – usually in the form of top hung or side hung casement windows.
Styles and Profiles
Windows are windows, right? Well, not quite! Most homeowners are not aware that there is also a range of different “systems” or “profiles” when it comes to windows and doors.
If you have no particular preference or unique requirements, we will supply the most standard varieties. However, should you be looking for something more specific, or perhaps need to follow your body corporate specifications, this information will prove helpful.
Casement windows, for example, are available in the 30.5, the 34, 36 & 38mm profiles. The slimmer frames are more standard, feature more glass and less frame, and are synonymous with a modern sleek design. Whereas the bulkier frames (36 & 38) offer a more solid, stately and classic look. These are also more robust and are used in the manufacture of larger fixtures.
Similarly with sliding windows, there is more than one style or option to choose from. Two of our more popular ranges are the Knysna and Grecian systems. As an example, where the Grecian system is more standard, the Knysna system allows for an additional glazing adapter to accommodate double glazing.
When it comes to sliding doors, you also have a choice. Our range includes popular styles such as the Slenderline, Villa & Palace doors. It is also possible to have your sliding doors and sliding windows manufactured from the same profile system, for a uniform aesthetic to your entire property. This is available as part of our Knysna range.
Your decision here will be guided by aesthetics, by your budget, as well as the product specifications, so keep this in mind when ordering your fixtures.
Colours and Finishes
Next, let’s talk about colours and finishes. Aluminium frames can be anodised or powder coated in a range of colours. When choosing windows and doors, you will want to choose a colour that suits your home’s aesthetics.
We offer a range of finishes for your windows and doors. Our most popular finishes include the natural anodised (silver) finish as well as a range of standard powder coated colours such as: white, charcoal (grey) and bronze. Beyond this we offer a range of special powder coated colours like black and new silver. Keep in mind, however, that almost any custom colour is available if the size of the order warrants the customisation.
The natural anodized look is a good go-to option; it is cost-effective, and is a suitable complement to modern architecture. The white powder coated finish is very popular for modern, bright and open-planned layouts, whereas the charcoal grey is well suited to a more dignified and professional look. Again your decisions will be determined by your personal taste and budget.
Standard and Custom Sizes
At Pro Aluminium we manufacture your fixtures in both standard and custom sizes, depending on your building’s specifications! Standard sizes will cost you less, but certain designs may require custom manufactured sizes.
If your home design features unique fixtures like view windows, double volume windows, patio enclosures or doors with extended heights, speak to us for advice or a quote on custom sizes. However, if you require standard size windows and doors, here is an idea of standard sizes below. (link to other pages with size specs)
Casement windows’ dimensions range between a single window of 600 x 600 mm up to a unit of 1800 x 2400 mm, incorporating top-hung or side-hung sashes.
Sliding windows are available in a range of standard sizes, up to 3m in width, and up to 1.5m in height, but larger custom sizes are also possible.
Two-panel sliding doors range in sizes up to 3m in width, whereas four-panel doors go up to 6m in width. (with 2.1m being the standard height, and 2.4m also easily available)
You’d be interested to know that when it comes to folding doors, we don’t have standard sizes, as we manufacture each door to spec. Where patio doors and french doors are restricted to smaller areas, folding doors open up extremely wide spaces, as much as 9m wide. These doors can be manufactured to a height of up to 2.7m.
Next, let’s take a look at an important factor when it comes to your windows and doors – glass.
Choosing the best Glass
You really can’t go wrong with aluminium windows and doors. Just take a look at the list of advantages here. Strong, sustainable and stylish – they will last you a lifetime. But did you know that the more ‘hardworking’ component of your windows and doors is the glass?
Glass technologies have advanced significantly over time, and architectural glass offers a range of different benefits from energy saving, to security, to sound reduction and more. By choosing the right glass for your home, you can take advantage of these benefits.
Ordinary glass can be responsible for up to 40% of the energy lost through your doors and windows. Our specialised energy saving glass offers an effective way to achieve better energy efficiency by reducing the cost of heating and cooling. Consider this if you want to lower your electricity bills while maintaining more comfortable temperatures indoors.
Safety and security glass is a specialised performance glass that reduces the risk of accidental injury or protects against deliberate attack such as manual, ballistic or blast. This glass can add that extra layer of defence to your home – it will slow down a burglar and is therefore crucial in thwarting an attempted break-in.
Acoustic, or sound reduction glass, incorporates specific sound inhibiting qualities, and serves to combat levels of unwanted noise both in homes and offices. This is an ideal type of glass to consider if your home is in a busy city or near a highway.
Glass can also be manufactured with various aesthetic properties to enhance architectural designs. If you are looking to add style and sophistication to your building, consider our range of tinted, reflective or coloured glass that can enhance and add a unique visual element to your home (for more detailed info, read about our range of performance glass).
Continuing with glass options, you also have the choice of double glazed windows and doors. Double glazing comprises two pieces of glass fitted into an aluminium frame with a cavity that is filled with argon gas. The encapsulated space in-between reduces the transfer of sound, and thus makes a building quieter.
Double glazing is also used for its ability to reduce noise transmission. So it is especially useful if your home is on a busy street or near a playground for instance. Bear in mind that there is a higher cost factor to double glazing. Yet with the benefit it offers, you would do well to consider double glazing for your windows and doors.
Expert manufacture. Professional installations.
Finally, once you’ve decided on your key design, you want to make sure that your aluminium windows and doors are professionally manufactured and installed. So it’s important to work with a reputable company with all the necessary industry experience and accreditations.
At Pro Aluminium, we have been in the business for over 30 years and have performed countless successful installations for home owners just like you. (take a look at some of our customer comments here)
We offer a complete service for our clients, from early consultation to the manufacture and installation of quality aluminium and glass fixtures. And we guarantee a professional service, from start to finish, to leave your home with a comfortable interior, a stunning exterior, and to leave you satisfied with a job well done!
For more advice on the best solutions for your aluminium windows and doors, contact our friendly sales staff today at our Durban branch on 031 701 2001 or Joburg branch on 010 003 1889.