Phone 1300 ALSPEC1300 ALSPEC (1300 257 732)
Professionals access technical information here
Professionals access

Carinya Blog

Choosing the right windows for your home renovation or build

If there’s two people who know about the challenges of choosing windows and doors for renovations and new builds, it’s well-known home renovator Naomi Findlay and fabricator David Flynn from Cottons Glass and Aluminium. The pair recently got together on Naomi’s Reno Radio podcast to discuss how clients and fabricators can best work together to ensure both form and function needs are met.

Naomi is currently renovating Carrington House, a derelict 1880s cottage, and is sharing her "slow renovation" journey online, revealing each room one at a time. David and his team are an integral part of the project, providing the Alspec and Carinya aluminium window and door glazing solutions to help realise her vision.

Where do you start?

The first question which determines the elements to be considered is whether windows are being replaced within an existing structure, or are they being incorporated into an extension or new build?

Choosing the right windows for your home renovation or build

"The answer really matters!" says Naomi, who is passionate about getting the details right from the beginning. Which situation you are in will isolate the issues to focus on with the fabricator.

As David points out, in a retrofit situation, there may be limitations, such as the location of existing stud props and walls, but the fabricator still has some room to play with.

In a new build, there will be additional options to take the concept, look at form and functionality, and see what can be achieved, he says.

Communicate your vision – in whichever way works for you…

When Naomi talked to David about the latest room at Carrington House, he asked what her concept was.

"I said I want to go ‘ooohhhhh’ when I walk in," says Naomi, gesturing a wide space with her arms.

And David understood perfectly: she wanted to open up the space with larger windows which meant he needed to think about glass heat loads and window orientation.

Clients need to visualise the room and how they want to use it, and relay as many tangible elements as possible of that vision to the fabricator.

"Not all tradespeople will be good at asking questions of you, but they may have better solutions if you can tell them what you want to achieve," says David.

"You don’t want to look back and say ‘what if’ ", says David, who encourages spending the time up front to get the scope right.

Consider all the elements

Windows and doors play a significant role in how a room will function, which both David and Naomi agree is as important as the design and form.

"The function of a room is about what is in the room, who is going to use it and what they need the room to do," says Naomi.

The type and location of window and doors will impact on many elements such as airflow, visibility, privacy, security, acoustics and how the building will perform in terms of energy use, says David.

Compare the costs and benefits

While the glazier may understand your goals, they also need to know how much you want to spend to get there.

"Big windows will mean heat transfer which will increase energy costs, so it’s about what you are willing to spend to reduce that," says David.

That doesn’t mean a client can’t have large windows – they can still achieve energy savings by selecting products such as double glazed, laminated, or tinted glass panes to minimise heat gains and losses.

Choosing the right windows for your home renovation or build

A fabricator can help estimate cost savings that can be achieved with different glazing solutions and work through the potential combinations.

Leave window regulations to the experts

With so much to consider, luckily the client does not need to become an expert in home building regulations, says David.

A good fabricator will know the regulations around which windows and openings need restrictions or fall prevention measures, and ensure windows are functional without losing the client’s priorities.

Choosing the right windows for your home renovation or build

For example, an upstairs bedroom might pair double-hung aluminium windows with Invisi-Gard stainless steel mesh security screens. This arrangement allows the light, air and views to be preserved, while complying with window restriction regulations to ensure fall prevention.

Be an informed client

David’s final piece of advice is for clients to take a look first-hand at the styles and finishes available so they know as much as possible.

With an extensive variety of modern aluminium profiles available, and the multiple options for glazing, being well informed will help the client ask the right questions of their fabricator.

"Don’t just rely on the internet – go and look at profiles, visit showrooms and spend time with different providers to validate they can deliver to your needs," he says.

Choosing the right windows for your home renovation or build podcastTo hear Naomi and David’s full discussion of the challenges around doors and windows in renovations and buildings, you can listen to Naomi’s Reno Radio podcast here.

Follow Naomi's Carrington House renovation here.