Double glazing is fast becoming the standard form of glazing throughout the United Kingdom. Most companies that carry out window installation now only like to deal with double glazing (and above). Single glazing is becoming a thing of the past, as people are now realising it is quite simply not up to the task of providing ample insulation to 21st century homes – put plainly, it lets too much heat out and too much noise in. This is something you don’t have to worry about with double glazing.
Of course, having double glazing installed means that you’ll pay quite a bit more for your windows than you would if you were to have single glazing installed. This is for a reason. Double glazing can actually save you money in the long run – as you won’t be losing the valuable heat you pay for through your electricity and heating bills. Whilst you save money on your central heating, you will also enjoy a much better level of comfort within your own home.
Double glazing dramatically reduces the amount of noise pollution you are subjected to within your home. As you will know all too well if you have ever lived on or near a main road with single glazed windows, the noise of traffic can often be unbearable. This is only magnified if you live near a dual carriageway or a motorway, as the traffic travels even faster and is thereby even louder. If you were to have double glazing installed, however, you would instantly notice a vast improvement – you would be able to enjoy a quiet and tranquil home, as opposed to one which lets far too much outside noise in.
Given that the UK is a fairly damp part of the world no matter which part of it you live in, we often have problems with regards to the development of damp and mold. With double glazing, your chances of suffering from this irritating and highly inconvenient problem are dramatically slashed, and you will be able to enjoy a much drier and fresher home.
Many people associate double glazing solely with white PVCu windows – as though this is the only way you can have double glazing. Though white PVCu windows are extremely popular throughout the UK and are the predominant choice for most of its households and homes, some people are put off by it – everyone has different tastes, after all. You can get double glazing installed not only by way of installing PVCu windows, but you can also have traditional timber windows double glazed as well. This is great for those who have a classic or period home, and would like to keep the traditional aesthetics of their home, whilst simultaneously upgrading its glazing to ensure that more heat stays in and noise stays out.
PVCu windows are very popular with the vast majority of homeowners, however. This is because they are highly convenient, and the upkeep of them involves almost no effort whatsoever. PVCu windows don’t warp or lose their shape like some older window frames can – primarily those made out of substandard wooden materials. ‘PVCu’ stands for ‘polyvinyl chloride unplasticated’, which is essentially made up of several natural materials – and it can be recycled. Cleaning PVCu window frames is extremely easy – you literally just have to wipe it down with a damp cloth and don’t have to worry about any rotting like you would with old wooden windows.
If you are thinking about getting double glazing installed, the default option will probably be PVCu ones, but do bear in mind that any company worth their salt will also offer the option of timber (or other more traditional-looking) window frames.
One step further: triple glazing
Though double glazing is of course a superb option for any household, those who require (or just want) even thicker and more advanced glazing can have it. Of course, triple glazing can be considerably more expensive than double glazing, but once again the difference is instantly noticeable.
As its name may give away, a triple glazing unit is comprised of three panes of glass as opposed to the two you get with double glazing, and there are two spacers filled with inert gas, allowing for even more heat retention. Whilst heat is prevented from escaping, thermal energy still comes in – especially on sunny or hot days – so the situation is a win-win.
As for the reduction in noise pollution, you wouldn’t believe how effective triple glazing is at keeping out that unwanted outside noise – not until you’ve been in a triple glazed home, that is. You can barely hear anything and it quite simply makes for a much more relaxing atmosphere overall. For this reason, triple glazing would definitely be something to consider if you live near a particularly busy road, a motorway or an airport; no longer would you have to deal with the sound of engines and fast-moving vehicles, and you could enjoy tranquility like never before. A peaceful and quiet home is something we should all have to enjoy, at the end of the day (especially after a hard day at work!).
Debunking the myths surrounding double glazing
If you are considering replacing your home’s existing windows, or simply fancy upgrading them with the introduction of double glazing, you may come across a few myths, some of which are bizarrely believed to be the truth by many. These range from mere over-exaggerations to complete and utter fallacies with no grounding whatsoever. Here are some of the common misconceptions which are all too often associated with double glazing:
Myth 1: Any changes undertaken will require planning permission
There is, in fairness, some truth to this statement: if your home is a listed building or is situated in a conservation area, then planning permission will be required before you proceed with the installation of double glazing. If your home is not included in either of these restrictions, however, then double glazing is classed as permitted development and does not require planning permission. This just further reinforces the assertion that double glazing is a feature all homes should have in the 21st century, because the benefits of it cannot be ignored anymore. There is nothing gimmicky about double glazing – it really does conserve heat and eliminate a vast amount of outside noise.
Any development, however, will of course need to comply with building regulations. Having your installation carried out by a licensed and reputable contractor means you will be provided with certificates stating that your new windows are compliant with said regulations, and you will have done both yourself and your home a great favour. Also – if or when you ever come to sell your house, potential buyers will find double glazing highly attractive; if you have it in ready for them – it has become something most house buyers expect, and quite rightly so.
Myth 2: The cost of double glazing outweighs any potential savings
Although double glazing window units do indeed cost more than single glazed units of the equivalent size, there is a very valid reason – their thermal efficiency is much higher. As well as your roof, your windows are the area through which the majority of your household’s heat is lost. Installing double glazing with high thermal efficiency will cut down this loss by a significant amount (any double glazing will be an improvement on single glazing). This will mean that the savings you make will accumulate over time, and the windows will eventually pay for themselves, in effect.
Myth 3: Gases can leak into the home
Certain types of double glazings have inert gases trapped between the panes of glass. These are there to improve the window unit’s thermal efficiency and are instrumental in cutting down on the amount of heat that is allowed to escape. Modern double glazing units are manufactured to a very high standard, so this idea that gas will leak out is quite ridiculous, really; the windows are designed to retain these gases, so that they can continue to carry out their function for many years. If your window is damaged in whatever circumstance, and any of this gas does manage to escape, the amount released will actually be totally harmless anyway.
Myth 4: Secondary glazing can perform to the same standards
Secondary glazing is when another pane of glass is attached to a single glazed window, doubling its thickness. Although secondary glazing can help to slightly cut down your heating expenses, the amount of savings it provides will be nowhere near those provided by double glazing. Double glazing does indeed involve two panes of glass being closely attached together, but the science behind it is not the same. For starters, the space between them is not sealed by inert gas – when double glazing window units are manufactured, great care is taken to ensure that the ‘spacer’ (the space between the two panes of glass) is properly filled with these appropriate inert gases, and the would-be weak points in the unit are secured by strong seals.
Myth 5: If there is condensation inside your double glazing, it cannot be fixed
Condensation can form inside your double glazing if the unit is of low quality or it is installed incorrectly. If you are worried about condensation, warm edge spacer bars can be fitted, reducing the risk of it forming even further.
Myth 6: Double glazing is only available with white PVCu frames
Whilst white PVCu frames are the most popular type, many other different styles and finishes are widely available. You can even have double glazing installed in PVCu window frames which have wood finishes (which are extremely convincing and authentic in appearance). These wood finishes are a great option for people who want their home to have a more traditional look but don’t really fancy having wooden or timber windows, as there is a little more maintenance and care required for those. PVCu window frames also come in metal finishes for those ultra-modern properties – the possibilities of PVCu are more numerous than you’d think; it is a very durable material lasts decades before requiring replacement, which is one of the main reasons it is such a popular option throughout the UK.
Double glazing if definitely something to consider
If you have lived in your home with single glazing for a number of years now, you may well be used to the temperature and not even notice the loss of heat which occurs every day – but make no mistake, you definitely are losing quite a lot of the heat that you pay for with your hard-earned money (and a lot of it).
Though upgrading from single to double glazing will require some expense on your part, it is most definitely a worthwhile one. If you are planning to stay in your current home (which is single glazed at present) for some time to come, the investment is a no-brainer – you will definitely find that your heating goes a lot further once you do upgrade. Double glazing units are designed to prevent heat escaping, whilst letting thermal and solar energy in – and this is something you will realise very quickly and enjoy.
If your home is susceptible to the development of damp and mold, double (or triple) glazing could be the ideal solution, as it will make sure that everything is done to prevent unwanted moisture from passing through.
As outlined in this blog post there are many advantages of insulated glazing, and in this day and age it is something every home and its inhabitants deserve. It is simply another example of how homes have evolved for the better and become much more comforting, which is the whole function of the home after all!
As for the common myths surrounding double glazing – can you think of any more? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below!