Through the looking glass
Bethany Hayes of Home Design + Living Magazine
Bringing a passage of natural light to the home, providing unparalleled views of the outdoors, and of course, enabling cross ventilation, windows are a non-negotiable and stylish part of any home or building. Bethany Hayes sits down with Affinity Windows’ technical and product development manager, Ken Courtney, and shines his [natural] light on choosing the right window and glass products to complement your unique home and lifestyle.
A definite mood lifter, windows allow for natural light to roam freely through the home, which in turn, releases countless benefits for any homeowner. Helping regulate one’s circadian rhythm, negating the need for excess electricity to be used throughout the day, and allowing one to be mesmerized from outside views – windows are a design element you want to get right. As the team at Western Australia Home Design + Living learns, when choosing the right window and glass products for your abode, your land’s orientation, interior arrangements, slab thickness and personal preference all come into play.
Define your style
While you may not be able to define it clearly, each one of us has a personal style that influences our day to day choices – from the minute coffee preferences, to the major non-negotiables. The windows and glass you choose for your dwelling are no different. For Ken Courtney, whose experience in the window industry spans more than 45 years, the key to quality windows is to take into account their placement within the home, while also considering their acoustic and energy rating.
While it may sound surprising, Affinity Windows’ product development manager explains that the style of windows we see within homes and buildings has actually remained the same for long periods of time “In my opinion, the industry is about to enter a new, upcoming phase of window design,” he notes. “At Affinity Windows we are already planning technical and product development of new products and modifications to suit industry changes. ”
So what are the frequent flyers in terms of windows and glass products within the home? As it turns out, anything that slides. “The most popular windows available to all homeowners include sliding windows, sliding doors, hinged doors and awning windows,” Mr. Courtney explains. Superior to any other residential door in the market, Mr. Courtney dubs the MK4 Affinity sliding door as his personal favourite, with its impressive rating.
When choosing your windows, aside from just their aesthetic appeal, Mr. Courtney encourages homeowners to do some research and have a solid understanding of their home. “One of the main factors to touch upon when going about picking windows is the orientation of the home on the block,” he details. “Additionally, other factors like bushfire attack level rating, acoustic rating and energy rating are also essential to look at.”
“I would choose sliding doors and awning windows, due to their excellent acoustic and energy rating,” Mr Courtney says. “Awning windows will [also] always rate higher when compared to sliding windows.”
In terms of long-lasting materials for your windows and doors, think aluminium – which will have easy maintenance and extensive durability. “The ideal material will always be aluminium due to its hardy, low maintenance properties,” says the product development manager. “A quick wash with soapy water a couple of times a year and your windows, shower screens, and doors will last you forever!”
Get your glass on
Needless to say, the windows found in different parts of the home aren’t all the same – or created equally – either. The rules are more stringent when it comes to windows that appear in ‘liveable’ areas of the home, such as the kitchen, living room and master bedroom.
The bathroom, which Mr. Courtney explains is not classified as a ‘living area’ has less stringent rules, with homeowners unlikely to be spending as much time there. Consulting with a professional who understands these regulations, and that can ensure your windows all have a performance label, which confirms that they are certified to comply with Australian standards, will leave you in good stead.
Moving back into the tranquil sanctuary of the home, the place to unwind and wash away rigours of everyday living is undoubtedly the shower. Depending on what your preferences are, you can opt for either a semi frameless or fully-framed shower, each with its own merits and drawbacks. “Semi-frameless shower screens have a pivot or sliding door with no rail or aluminium, whereas a fully-framed one has all the glass enclosed in an aluminium frame,” Mr. Courtney says. “Homeowners generally prefer semi-frameless as they are easier to clean, and have a more modern and sleek design appearance.” He further notes that at least 80 percent of what Affinity Windows supply and install are semi frameless shower screens, with protective, laminated glass. “I recommend using laminated glass throughout the entire house to keep everyone safe from accidental breakages.”
Conjuring up images of luxurious alfresco spaces, sliding doors are also becoming increasing popular among homeowners, for their seamless appearance and user convenience, while offering an effortless transition from indoor to outdoor spaces. These sliding doors are also perfect for the bedroom as well, with handy space saving abilities. “With the full range of infill panels available for sliding doors, choices are endless! You can easily save space in your bedroom by avoiding hinged doors opening up to your room,” Mr. Courtney says.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Being used by magicians for centuries, no home and especially no bathroom, would be complete without a mirror. For a modern bathroom in particular, a frameless, polished edge mirror that is glued onto the wall is Affinity Windows’ recommendation, where fittings are carefully positioned out of sight. Ensuring your mirror is frameless, with your fixtures hiden, will help create an overall seamless appearance to the bathroom, enhancing a clean, cohesive line of sight within the space. The frameless style also makes it easier to clean. “To clean your mirrors, use methylated spirits and some water. Simple as that!” Mr. Courtney notes.
Don’t forget about double-glazing your windows, either! Apart from the obvious noise reduction benefits, Mr Courtney also highlights the “savings in terms of your energy consumption” when homeowners choose double-glazed units. “Different combinations of double-glazed units can drastically reduce your monthly energy bills,” he attests – not to mention shielding you from harmful UV rays.
As the givers of light within our home, it is imperative that the windows and glass products you invest in will not only complement and enhance your lifestyle, but will also be safely and properly installed by the experts. After all, the bespoke dwelling of your dreams deserves the very best windows, doors and optimal natural light, ensuring it remains the perfect place for you to call home.
If you would like further help in choosing window styles for your home, don’t hesitate to contact Affinity Windows, the Perth windows installation experts.