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What to Expect from Your New Windows

27th February 2024 - By Danelle Vanstone

When embarking on the journey to select new glazing for your home, you are not just choosing a window, you are choosing a view, light, warmth, and the aesthetic character of your living space. The quest for the perfect window installation should guide you towards a balance of beauty, performance, and compliance with building regulations.

Glass is an elemental part of our daily lives, filling our homes with light and offering a view of the outside world. However, perfection in glass is a balance rather than an absolute. While no glass is perfect, industry standards define what is acceptable and what is not. These standards are your assurance that the windows you select meet a level of quality that has been agreed upon by professionals in the field.

When assessing your newly installed windows, it is important to inspect from at least 3 metres away. Why this distance? It’s based on the principle that if a person with standard vision can read a car number plate at 20 metres, they should be able to assess the clarity of glazing from 3 metres. This distance allows you to view the window in its entirety and inspect for uniformity and any visual defects that might be apparent from where you normally stand or sit in a room.

Domestic glazing installers also follow strict checking criteria to ensure that the windows they install in your home are of acceptable quality. The window should be viewed directly at a 90-degree angle, not from the side. This head-on approach is essential to truly assess the flatness and clarity of the glass. It’s also important that the glass is dry, and that the inspection is carried out in natural daylight. Avoiding direct sunlight which can cast shadows and make subtle imperfections harder to spot.

Acceptable surface tolerances in the glass are a testament to the reality of manufacturing processes. Slight imperfections such as bubbles, blisters, or fine scratches less than 25mm long are deemed acceptable – they’re part of the glass’s character and do not generally affect its performance or your view. However, these imperfections should not be clustered or obstructive, as that would diminish the visual clarity and the overall aesthetic appeal of the window.

The manufacturing process of toughened glass involves high temperatures and rapid cooling, which can introduce slight distortions known as ‘roller wave distortion’. While this can sometimes be seen as a ripple effect, it does not typically affect the strength or performance of the glass. In fact, as the thickness of the glass increases, the likelihood and visibility of this distortion decrease. Building Regulations account for these variances, setting standards that ensure the performance of the glass without unnecessarily discarding material for minor imperfections that do not affect its function.

Coatings applied to glass for energy efficiency, like low-emissivity (low-E) coatings, might alter the appearance of objects behind the glass, making your net curtains look slightly darker or creating a slight haze. This is a trade-off for improved thermal performance, which can significantly reduce energy costs by keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It’s a visual effect that signals energy savings and comfort, not a flaw.

As you live with your new windows, you may notice light phenomena such as a rainbow effect or reflections, particularly with double or triple glazing. These effects are the result of light passing through multiple layers of glass and interacting with the coatings. They are normal and usually transient, varying with the time of day and angle of sunlight.

When selecting a glazing installer, it’s crucial to ensure they are knowledgeable about current building regulations. These regulations are designed not just for safety and energy efficiency but also to ensure that your windows provide the level of comfort and visual quality you deserve. A reputable installer will be familiar with these standards and will be able to guide you in choosing the right windows for your home.

In conclusion, understanding what to expect from your new windows allows you to make an informed choice that will bring both elegance and efficiency to your living space. High-quality glazing not only adds to the beauty of your home but also contributes to a comfortable, energy-efficient living environment. Remember that when it comes to windows, the clarity of view, strength, and energy efficiency are all part of the same package – one that enhances the way you live with natural light.

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