ARTICLE Joanna Mathers PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy of Viridian
We may take them for granted and moan about cleaning them, but windows are an essential feature of any home.
Letting in light, keeping out wind and rain, and providing us with a visual link to the outdoor; they serve a multiplicity of important functions.
The most commonly used contemporary household glass is known as float glass. This is available in a wide range of widths, but most common is 4-6mm for a single glaze.
This basic glass is cost-effective and while perfectly serviceable, it doesn’t have the features found in the more sophisticated (and expensive) products on the market.
If you are planning a renovation project that involves installing new glass, you should think carefully about which windows would best suit your requirements.
Do you require privacy, is safety paramount, or are you concerned about keeping your home warm and dry?
Whatever you needs, there’s bound to be a window to suit. Here’s Renovate’s rundown of all the best in the world of windows.
How can I keep my house cool in summer and warm in winter?
Keeping the interior of your home cool in summer and warm in winter can sometimes feel like a losing battle. We all know that wall and roof insulation can help keep the house warm, dry and airy; but so too can windows.
Thermal performance glass allows for warmth generated by the sun to remain inside, and reduces the amount of heat loss (or gain) between indoors and outdoors. The effectiveness of the thermal glass depends on the width – it can range in width from 4mm to 58mm, depending on whether it is single or double-glazed, and this will affect how well it performs.
Low emission (low-e) glass is a high-quality thermal glass covered by an extremely thin transparent coating that filters infrared energy and heat. It reflects long wave radiation, helping to keep warm air in over the cool months, and allows for cool air to be trapped inside over summer.
There are two types of low-e glass, hard coat and soft coat. Hard coat low-e glass has the coating applied while the glass is in a semi-molten state; low-e glass can be applied to a single pane, eliminating the need for double-glazing.
Soft coat low-e glass needs to be attached to glass that has already been made, and is used with double-glazing.
“Used in double-glazing it will reduce the transfer of heat from inside to out by up to 40 per cent more than standard double-glazing,” says Rodney Maker from Viridian Glass.
Double-glazed units, where two or more panels of glass are bonded to a perimeter spacer, also provide excellent insulation. Most types of glass can be incorporated into an insulating glass unit.
Costs for low-e glass
From $185 per square metre.
Costs for double-glazed units
From $200 per square metre.
How do I reduce noise from outside?
City dwellers will be well aware of how noisy things can get at night. The right glass can help alleviate this problem and ensure that everyone in the household gets a good night’s sleep.
Composed of two or more layers of glass permanently bonded together with an interlayer of resin, acoustic laminate glass provides super noise protection. The interlayer is designed to hold glass together, so it also can be used as safety glass.
“Virtually all glass types can be laminated, and the thickness and type of interlayer can be varied to also provide safety or physical attack resistance,” says Maker from Viridian.
He says that laminated glass can also be cut and processed further according to the customer’s requirements.
Metro Performance Glass has an acoustic laminated glass called SoundStop. This acoustic laminate glass can reduce sound by use of a vibration dampening interlayer that fits between two sheets of laminated glass.
Costs for acoustic laminated glass
From $330 per square metre.
Which glass windows increase my privacy?
The densification of our cities can leave us feeling like we are living in a fishbowl. Drawing the curtains to block out prying eyes isn’t ideal (no one wants to live in a dingy den), but glass can be of great use when it comes to maximising privacy without compromising light.
One option for improved privacy is tinted glass. Tinted glass is created by the addition of an oxide during the manufacturing process – the thickness of the glass determines the darkness of the tint. It can be tinted in a range of colours depending on the clients’ needs; for example green tints offer superior light transmission to standard tints (which tend to be grey or bronze).
Tinting can also be achieved through laminating and this colour doesn’t change according to thickness; here the tint is contained in an interlayer between two panes of glass.
Tinted glass is often only used for key windows that require screening – the bedroom for example. Using tinted glass through the whole house can make it seem dark, so be careful about where you choose to install it.
Switchable glass is another option for privacy; this glass changes from clear to opaque electronically. The glass has an interlayer containing an emulsion – this changes colour immediately when the switch is pressed. Switchable glass is often used for partitioning within the house, but is also an excellent alternative to blinds and curtains for areas like the bathroom.
Costs for tinted glass
From $40 per square metre.
Which glass windows are clearer?
Low Iron glass is idea for homes that require windows with crystal clear clarity. Regular glass (known as float glass) has a greenish tinge. Reducing the iron content in the manufacturing process make the glass become clearer.
Often used for shop-fronts and display cases, low iron glass is becoming increasingly popular in the home, especially for high-spec, architecturally designed properties.
“It is also recommended for applications such as splashbacks and showerglass where clarity is important,” says Maker from Viridian.
Low Iron glass can be tempered, laminated and painted just like regular float glass; and can be used virtually anywhere regular float glass can. It is particularly effective when laminated, as it adds extra clarity to the toughened glass.
Costs for low iron glass
From $140 per square metre.
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This home renovation advice article featured on page 38 of Issue 014 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
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*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.