Choosing the Right Exterior Window Style in London

White wooden framed glass windows
Are you thinking about updating the windows of your London home? When it comes to how to choose windows that suit your home, there are some key things to consider. From energy efficiency to functionality, this guide will break down everything you need to know.

The Different Types of Windows

If you’re confused about the different types of windows, here are some pros and cons of the most popular types:

Sash Windows

A sash window is made of two framed panes which overlap. The different parts of the window overlap to open and close. 

Made from: uPVC, wood or aluminium

Pros

  • Double or triple glazed are extremely energy efficient
  • Well-insulated so don’t allow a draft in
  • Side-hung offer good ventilation

Cons

  • Fairly easy to snap in high winds when fully opened
  • Side-hung can pose a risk if installed in a child’s room
  • Opening them can be obstructed by screens or trees outside the window

Casement Windows

These are widely used in new-build properties. They have a hinged pane which opens outwards using a lever handle. 

Casement windows can either be side-hung or top-hung. Top-hung have small windows that open at the top, whereas side-hung have large windows which open up half of the entire window. 

Made from: uPVC, aluminium or timber

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Easy to clean and open

Cons

  • Older versions used for restorations are not as energy efficient as new models
  • Can only be opened halfway, limiting ventilation
The different types of windows and styles

Bay Windows

These are the large, rounded windows you often find on the front of Victorian homes. Just like a glass extension, bay windows increase living space and offer a lovely focal point, increasing the value of your property. 

Made from: uPVC, wood or aluminium

Pros

  • Add more floor space
  • Allows a lot of light into the room
  • Add value by making the front of the house aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • One of the most expensive options
  • Harder to install or replace
  • Take up outside space if installing for the first time

Tilt & Turn Windows

As the name suggests, these windows tilt and turn to open. The hinged mechanism allows the top of the window to tilt open, giving just a few inches of open space. Or when the handle is turned, the window opens fully, giving fantastic ventilation. 

Made from: uPVC or aluminium

Pros

  • Good security
  • Safe for children as the “turn” feature can be locked
  • Great ventilation

Cons

  • Limit the use of blinds since they open inwards
  • Can allow rain to enter if tilted open during a storm
  • Expensive to install or replace

How to Choose Windows

Choosing new windows

Here are the top three factors to key in mind when choosing windows:

Functionality

Above all else, you need to consider the functionality of new windows. Do your current windows function well? If not, what are the issues you need to overcome?

For example, if you struggle with ventilation, your best option is windows that have wide openings to allow better airflow. 

Your Home’s Style

If you live in a 19th-century cottage, anthracite aluminium windows are going to look out of place. On the other hand, if you live in a modern new build, vintage casement windows might not be a good fit. 

Energy-Efficiency

When it comes to the type of glass for windows, ensure they carry an approved energy efficiency rating. This is usually a star system. If you’re unsure, your builder or supplier should be able to help.

Window Installation: What you need to know

Windows with a black frame

If you’ve never had windows professionally refurbished before and you’re wondering what the process is, here is what you can expect:

Step 1: Measure the Window

Your contractor will come to your property and measure the openings of your existing windows. This will ensure they order the correct size for an air-tight fit. 

Step 2: Remove the Old Window

On the day of installation, all parts of the window will be removed, including the glass, window frame, and all traces of sealant around the opening.

Step 3: Weatherproof the Opening

This step is known as flashing and research shows 60% of builders don’t get this right, leading to issues with drafts and leaks down the road. 

Installing flashing correctly ensures the window is completely waterproof and any rainwater can easily run off without causing damage. 

Step 4: Installing the Window 

The frame is then lifted and gradually pushed in until the nailing fins are flush with the wall. Nails and screws are used to secure the window firmly in place. Finally, sealants are used to make the glass airtight. 

Final Thoughts

Replacing your home’s windows is a great way to update your home, increase energy efficiency, and increase the value.  If you’re still stuck on how to choose windows and you need help determining which window style is best for your home, let us know. We’re experts in window installation in London and are happy to help!

What You Need to Know About Second Floor Home Additions in London

Do you wish your house had more functional space? Adding a traditional extension to the back of your home is a nice idea, but it can eat into precious garden space, which is rare enough in London. Instead, why not think about adding a second floor to your London home? UK planning regulations have changed recently making this a much smoother process.  If you’re wondering if this is a viable option for you, this guide will give you everything you need to know. 

How Much Does it Cost to Add a Second Story?

Cost of adding a second floor

The building cost of adding a second story to your house in London will cost on average £2,200 per square metre. For an 85 sq metre home (the average size of a house in London), a second floor addition would cost £187,000. 

When calculating the cost of your addition, you also need to factor in costs such as upgrading plumbing and adding a staircase, which can cost around £15,000-£20,000 more. 

Building Regulations for a Second Floor Addition in London

From September 2020, planning regulations have changed in the UK. Old planning laws restricted extensions above a certain height and the planning process was lengthy. This put many homeowners off adding a second floor to their home. 
White house with second floor additions

However, new regulations have sped up the approval process, cutting it down by half to just eight weeks. And although local authorities will still have to liaise with neighbours, the ability to block extension plans is greatly reduced.  

Under new guidelines, you can add up to two storeys to your home with a relatively straightforward planning process. 

Of course, if you live in a conservation area, you’ll need to go through the full planning process to get permission.

Reasons for Adding a Second Floor

Benefits of adding a second floor

If you’re wondering why you’d add a second floor to your home, rather than the usual single-storey extension, here are X reasons to consider it. 

1. A Chance to Redesign

Adding a second story to your house completely changes the functionality and aesthetics. You can take this opportunity to create a design that works perfectly for your family. It’s also an opportunity to make some upgrades to the first floor, since your contractor will be making necessary adjustments anyway. 

2. Not Losing Outside Space

A normal extension to the rear of the property eats into usable garden space. By adding a second floor, you don’t lose any valuable garden space. 

3. No Need to Move

Most families move when they outgrow their home, but if you’ve been in the same house for years, it’s incredibly hard to let go. Adding a second floor means you don’t need to move and can keep the family home you’ve created all your memories in. 

What and Who Do You Need?

If you’re overwhelmed thinking about the logistics of a second floor addition in London, here are some key things you’ll need.
Remodelled attic as a second floor

A Reliable Contractor

Your contractor will oversee the entire project, bring in specialists as needed, manage the build team, and ensure your project stays on budget and on time. This will be the person you check in with for updates throughout the extension process. 

A Structural Engineer

They will assess the foundations of your house to ensure they are strong enough to withstand a second floor. If not, they will give you recommendations on how to build a second floor. 

An Architect

The architect will draw up a plan for the second floor, including room sizes, shape, materials, etc. This will be used by the build team to get the project completed. This is an important step as your architect will be able to give their expert advice on roofing, window placement, optimal layout, and more. 

Timeline of Second Story Additions

White house with a second story

As you can imagine, it’s not a quick process adding an entire second floor addition to a house. Here is a rough timeline to give you an idea of what you can expect:

Preparation: 2 – 4 weeks

We cannot stress how important it is to take the time to plan your extension. In the first few weeks, you should:

  • Finalise your budget
  • Put together some ideas of what you need (number of rooms, bathrooms, etc.)
  • Get quotes from several architects for design plans
  • Research the planning permission process in your area

Design: 2 – 5 weeks

Once you’ve found your architect, they will need several weeks to draw up design plans. This will involve a survey of your home to get measurements, a meeting to discuss your second story addition ideas, and drafting up the plans. 

Planning: 8 weeks

Thanks to new laws, submitting plans for second story additions is now relatively easy and should take no longer than eight weeks. 

Tender process: 2 – 4 weeks

Once plans have been approved, you can submit them to builders to get quotes for the build. Make sure to look at past projects to get a sense of the quality of the build they offer. 

Building: 2 – 4 months

The build time will vary depending on the size of the extension and the level of complexity in the build. For example, large windows or fully glazed extensions take longer than traditional builds. 

Adding Another Level of Space and Functionality to Your Home

Wondering if you should have a second floor addition? They can be a great way to increase the curb appeal of your home and bring more life to it. Contact us today and let’s build it together!