Why Double Glazing
By Matthew Anthony
Why replace your single-glazed windows with double glazing ? For most, the precipitating factor for looking into double glazing is a need for new construction (or renovation) to conform to modern energy standards. Others decide to replace their windows as an energy saving measure. The main advantage that double glazing offers over traditional windows is insulation. Because nearly 25% of your heat is lost through your windows, well-made and well-fitted double glazing can reduce your heating costs by as much as half depending on the amount of glass in your home.
Some of the things to consider when shopping for double glazing for your home are safety, energy conservation, style, type of frame, type of glass, cost and installation. Each of these are important in your choice. Most will affect the price that you pay - and all will affect your pleasure and comfort in your home for years to come.
Single pane windows are most often made of a single sheet of regular glass which shatters into long, sharp shards when hit. When shopping for double glazing, you have a choice of several different kinds of glass, each of which are safer on breaking than traditional window panes. If nothing else, the double thickness reduces the chances that both panes will be broken. Whether you use security glass, toughened glass or shatterproof glass, double glazing offers some measure of safety over single glazing.
There's no doubt that double glazing makes it more difficult for a thief or intruder to break into your home by the simple expedient of breaking a window pane and reaching through the hole - but real security has more to do with the window frames and locking systems than with the glass itself. Be sure to choose windows with frames that can be securely locked from the inside.
Double glazing can reduce heat lost through windows by as much as 50%, thereby reducing your heating bills, keeping your house warmer and helping you do your bit in the conservation of natural resources. Especially in rooms with large windows, the difference in temperature in the room is easily noticeable. Sitting by a large, double-glazed picture window is far, far more comfortable on a chill winter night.
Style and Design
Double glazing is available in many different styles and types, and most people attempt to match the style of their old windows with the new if at all possible, especially when doing restoration work. A good, reputable contractor will work with you to find double glazing windows that suit your architecture and enhance your home's beauty.
The three main frame types are PVCu, aluminum and wood, and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. In a nutshell - PVCu frames are best at energy conservation, aluminum frames are the sturdiest, and wooden frames are the most attractive - at least in the view of some. For more detailed information about the advantages of each, see the related articles.
Type of Glass
Safety glass, tempered glass, low-e glass, Pilkington K glass - there are many types of glass that are used in double glazing. Glass with energy coatings - the low-e and Pilkington K among them - add further insulating properties to your windows, and can certainly be worth that additional expense.
Shop for a contractor and supplier as carefully as you do for glass. Shoddily done work can negate all the advantages gained in choosing to replace your current windows with double glazing. Look into the company's history and check for any complaints against them, even ask for references from others for whom they have done work. Installing double glazing throughout your house is an expensive proposition - it only makes sense to know the people who will be doing the work.
About the Author
Matthew Anthony regularly contributes sites such as double glazing.
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