Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Putting Windows Right in the Frame ; Good Windows Can Make a Big Difference to Your Home's Looks. JULIA GRAY Assesses the Options Open to You

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Putting Windows Right in the Frame ; Good Windows Can Make a Big Difference to Your Home's Looks. JULIA GRAY Assesses the Options Open to You

Article excerpt

WINDOWS might seem to be only functional - they let in light, they keep you warm (both, admittedly, pretty important jobs). But they also can make a huge impact on the aesthetics of your home, and this makes choosing the right ones doubly important.

Window frames are made of three main materials: wood, UPVC and metal. You can also get composite frames, which are plastic or metal over a wooden core. The type of windows you choose is usually governed by your budget, the style and period of your home, if it's listed or on 'designated land' (such as a conservation area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), how long you plan to live there and even what sort of windows neighbouring houses have.

Replacing all your home's windows generally costs thousands of pounds, with wood and metal the most expensive, so it's not an investment to take lightly. New windows can affect the value of your home, as well as making it warmer and quieter if you upgrade from single to double or triple glazing, which makes choosing the right style and material all the more important.

Wooden windows look lovely, especially in period properties, but they require the most upkeep. You often have to paint new wooden windows because they're supplied unpainted, and you have to keep on top of wood rot and chipped and flaking paint over the years, plus occasionally repainting the full frames.

If you can afford them and don't plan to move home in the foreseeable future, wooden windows offer good value for money because they last a long time. Window frames made by members of the Wood Window Alliance (www.woodwindowalliance.com), for example, have an estimated service life of 60 years or more when well maintained.

Metal, UPVC and composite window frames require less maintenance than wood, so they're an easier option in that aspect, but they don't last forever.

Past-their-best UPVC and metal windows aren't pretty either, and the seals on double glazing can deteriorate, so moisture gets in. White UPVC frames often yellow over time too, and although you can in theory paint them, most people don't. …

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