There are lots of different windows around. This means that installing the best windows for your home can be a difficult process. However, it is very important to get new windows that suit you and your home. It means you’ll be happy with them for longer and they’ll be worth the money.

The two main things that you need to pick when looking for new windows are material and style. It’s also a good idea to check whether you need to submit a planning permission application before you install new windows in your home

Keep reading to find out more about window materials, styles and planning law.

1. Select a material

The most common window frame materials are uPVC, wood and aluminium. Different materials usually suit different properties and people.

uPVC

uPVC is relatively cheap, especially compared to other frame materials. It’s also long-lasting, durable and low maintenance. uPVC is very energy-efficient as it’s an excellent insulator, so can help to lower your energy bills. It’s available in a variety of colours and finishes – so white isn’t the only possibility.

However, there are downsides to uPVC. It gets brittle as it gets older and is not particularly environmentally-friendly as it is not biodegradable. uPVC can also look cheap next to other materials and doesn’t always suit older properties.

Wood

Window frames are also made out of wood. It’s long-lasting and environmentally-friendly, as it is recyclable. Wood is energy-efficient, so won’t let warm air out of your home. It also has character and can look really good in period properties.

However, wooden frames are not always ideal. They need maintaining, as they can crack, rot or warp out of shape if neglected. Wood also costs more than uPVC.

Aluminum

Aluminium is also a popular window material. Like wood and uPVC it is long-lasting. It is also low maintenance and durable. Lots of people choose to use aluminium as it’s versatile; it comes in a variety of colours and is suitable for lots of different window sizes and shapes.

However, aluminium isn’t perfect. If it’s poor-quality it can be a bad insulator, so you have to make sure you get the right type. Aluminium can also be very expensive, so isn’t ideal if you’re on a budget.

2. Choose your style

There are several different window styles available. What you select depends on how you’re going to use them and the look that you want. A few of the most popular styles are:

Casement

Casement windows are very popular. They have hinges on one side and come in both singles and pairs. Pairs share a frame and are hinged on the outer edges. You can find casement windows in lots of domestic homes in uPVC, wood and aluminium.

Awning

Awning windows open outwards and hinge at the top. They’re often relatively small and are placed above casement windows. Awning windows are often popular because, as they are usually small, you can open them to let fresh air in without affecting your room temperature too much.

Sash

Sash windows are quite an old window style. They were introduced in the late 1600s and are often found in Georgian and Victorian properties. Sash windows open at the bottom and slide up horizontally.

3. Check planning law

Before fitting the windows that you want, you should check whether you need to apply for planning permission. If you want to replace existing windows with similar-looking ones, you shouldn’t typically need to apply for planning permission. See our article on planning permission to find out more.