This month, Quickslide’s Ade looks at how windows and doors can be the fix or fail of add-on space.
During the past year or so we have adapted our homes, to create more space, more flexibility and perhaps even more separation, as locked-down families created more space and zones for working, exercise, study, relaxation and entertainment and, actually, just to have a break from each other. The demand continues for home extensions, loft conversions and even independent garden rooms and annexes, and this shows no signs of abating. But as you would expect me to urge, don’t forget the glazing when you are helping your customers put their designs together, because the windows and doors chosen can turn a good space into a great one – or even a massive fail.
Space and light are the main drivers for extensions, conversions and garden rooms, and careful thought about the types of windows and garden doors, can make a huge difference to how successful the new space is.
High on the wish list for many homeowners are bi-folding doors, and why not? They can transform a space from being a stuffy dark room into a bright, attractive area that can directly connect the house to the garden. But in tighter spaces, the folding mechanism of a bi-folding door requires space to operate that may severely restrict smaller room and patio layouts. If lateral space is available, install a sliding door instead.
The latest aluminium framed sliding ‘patio’ doors are magnificent. The advantage of these over bi-folds is simple: even with the best of British weather they will be closed most of the time, and sliders simply offer minimal framing and, therefore, the least obstructed view at all times.
And for smaller openings, don’t discount good old fashioned French doors. They are often a better choice than smaller bi-folds, offering just as wide an opening but with a tad more style.
The balance between light and ventilation must be considered for windows. Larger unfettered glass areas will increase heat build-up, which should be offset by ventilation. Like most things in life, balance is everything! Choose just enough openers for decent ventilation but which still allow the clearest view in and out.
Don’t stint on security. Garden rooms and annexes might be a target so make sure that the locks and handles and even the glass (choose laminated), are top spec to protect your valuable computers, gym gear and other expensive kit.
There is no such thing as ‘standard’ glass and building and installing something new offers the opportunity to ‘tune’ the windows and doors to be more fit for purpose. Whilst the standards of thermal insulation is defined by the Building Regulations to prevent heat loss, you can choose solar control glass when speccing garden doors (especially) and windows that are south and west facing, to reduce heat gain. They won’t stop heat build-up entirely but they will reduce it and it’s worth thinking about.
For work and study rooms near noisy roads, railways or neighbours, if you are piling in the wall and roof insulation to counter this, have a look at noise control glass, which is widely available.
And as always, make sure you buy your windows and doors from a company that can give you all the answers you might need!