What are French windows & how much do they cost?
Standard French Window design is a set of double-leaf windows that open either inwardly or outwardly from the centre. The traditional look is to have several panes of glass in a lattice, but modern doors also come in a single large pane of glass for unobstructed views; French Windows may also have side panels as well.
In terms of materials, consumers can opt for wood, uPVC or aluminium, but most builders will tell you that your best bet is uPVC or aluminium. Aluminium, however, is much higher in cost and offers little in the way of advantage over uPVC beyond a smaller profile, which makes uPVC a better option for most homeowners.
French Windows have always been an admired aesthetic in the home, whether in a period home or something more modern.
Their versatility in look and style gives them maximum flexibility to fit in seamlessly with any available architectural design, and modern materials make them more than just artistic additions to the house.
Whether used for interiors or exteriors, French Windows are an excellent addition to any home.
The Advantages of French Windows
There are several reasons why upgrading to French Windows is a good idea beyond the aesthetic look.
#1 – Energy Savings
Fitted as standard, double-paned sealed glass ensures better temperature control than single glazed doors by reducing the amount of heat and cold losses with the outside.
Combined with the latest uPVC or aluminium frames, which are also designed for maximum insulation and sealing when closed, French windows can provide outstanding energy efficiency.
#2 – Light and View
French Windows offer just as much natural lighting as other windows when closed, but when you open the both sections, you allow a lot more natural light to enter the house. This wide opening and clear view not only makes rooms brighter, but can also increase the feeling of space within a room.
Homeowners with scenery may also want to consider French Windows as they allow for a mostly unrestricted view.
Using French Windows inside can allow for the passage of light throughout the house, particularly for rooms that do not have windows or access to exterior lighting.
For those concerned about privacy, glass treatment options can include tinting or reflective surfacing to prevent people from looking into the house (though reflective surfacing is less effective at night). You can also opt for patterned or obscure glass sections.
#3 – Security and Sound
With modern locks and catchments, French Windows are exceedingly hard to pick. Reinforced frame designs have taken care of the traditional exploit of levering the opening sections, and while glass may seem fragile, a sealed double glazed unit of 2 x 6mm panes of glass is quite difficult to break without using a tool and making a lot of noise.
You can opt for laminated and toughened glazing or even use an aftermarket film to make it stronger or more resistant to projectiles and penetration. All in all, French Windows are quite secure.
These same features also play a role in reducing street or exterior noise sources as well, which is great when coupled with uPVC windows.
#4 – Improved Ventilation
The great thing about French Windows is the amount of ventilation that is possible with them. As most French Windows are double casements, opening them both all the way can allow the passage of air and create a nice, cool, breezeway.
If you live in a home that has needs for a lot of natural ventilation, this is definitely a bonus for you.
#5 – Reduced Maintenance
With the latest materials in use such as uPVC & aluminium, these French Window designs require less maintenance than timber versions and are easy to clean. Also, unlike wooden frames, they do not expand or contract based on environmental temperatures or humidity (the latter of which can be a problem in many regions of the UK). With proper care, they should outlast any wooden window style, and with far less upkeep.
How much do French Windows Cost?
Prices in the UK will vary based on material choices, size, any special treatments for the glass, and of course, the amount of labour needed to fit them. It will also depend on whether window set has side or top panels built-in.
For traditional set of uPVC French Windows, prices start around £250, based on size and design; with installation fee, this can go upwards of £500.
For French windows used as doors, prices start around £600 without installation, and begin at £850 with installation fees added.
These prices are based on white uPVC frames; for those who wish to consider aluminium, the prices will be much higher.
However, window and door replacements can not only add value to your home, but also start saving you money right away – anywhere from £60 – £120 a year reduction on home heating bills – savings that over the lifetime of the window add up to a decent amount.
Like any other type of home improvement, shop around. Free quotes are your best bet to find the right prices for you, and experts can also advise on possible glass treatments based on your location (i.e. if you plan to install a new door in an area that gets direct sunlight for a good portion of the day).