Windows – back to the future

Windows have a fascinating history and are handy aids to understanding a property’s past. Crittall’s new HomelightPlus residential window shows just how far they have evolved over the centuries…                                                                                                      

The ‘eyes of the home’, windows are a property’s most prominent feature. Through the window design, the type, style, number installed, architectural expression and local identity, they define a home’s character, and its status.

With the desire in a home for light, air, views, and social status and making an impression, windows have evolved as fashions and aesthetics have changed; as functional needs, technological advances and materials have impacted.

In medieval times, domestic windows were much simpler, less sophisticated than today, often designed as a symbol of wealth and social standing.  Only the richest could afford glass and it was rarely used domestically. For centuries, smaller homes did not have glass for the windows made of wood or stone – they just had internal timber shutters or sack-cloth to keep out the elements, allow smoke to escape.

By the 16th Century, windows became larger and taller. Technical innovation made glass more readily available, but still only for the wealthiest. Window shape related to the proportions of rooms – tall mullioned windows for the main hall and horizontal windows for low ceiling, less important, rooms.

There was a revolution in window design during the 18th Century Notably, Georgian vertically-sliding sash windows with vertical proportions suiting grander, taller, rooms were symbolic of houses of that period. Frames were oak or hardwood. Earlier thick glazing bars became thinner and more refined.

During Victorian times, cheaper, larger sheet glass became more accessible and sash windows with two or four panes replaced the earlier 12 and 16 pane types. The Industrial Revolution saw enhanced manufacturing processes and revival styles, each with its own window style, like the Gothic Revival.

The early 20th Century saw backward-looking revival style windows, often featuring the lead light mullioned style typical of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Those of the Modern Movement were stylish, minimal, steel windows like those made famous by Crittall Windows. Post-war, functionalism prevailed with picture windows and top-hung fanlights, curtain walling by the 1980s, double glazing and PVCu  and aluminium frames.

Whether it’s a restoration, renovation, extension or a replacement, there’s now an extensive choice of windows suiting every style of home. You can personalise your home’s appearance, bring the heritage of your home to life. Reputable window installers (like those registered with FENSA) will know which aspects of the Building Regulations are applicable to your property.

Without necessary consent, altering a listed building is a criminal offence. Listed Building consent is required for internal and external work, including windows, which affect a property’s character. Unlisted buildings too may have permitted development rights removed. This often includes windows so that planning permission is needed for replacement or change.

New from Crittall, the pioneers of steel frame window manufacture for nearly 170 years, is the HomelightPlus range of residential windows. It is the 21st Century enhanced version of the successful Homelight window first made by the company during the 1920s. It brings new-look styling and window profiling, plus higher energy-savings, performance, and enhanced security.

Stuart Judge, the company’s managing director says:

“With the cold, long, dark nights, we especially start thinking about home comforts, keeping down those energy bills – and security. You can significantly save on costly energy bills by choosing high quality,    well designed, stylish steel windows, and considering the newest in window frame development.”

“HomelightPlus is a modern, authentic, ‘like for like’ steel window offering significant energy savings – thermally improved to meet Part L of Building Regulations by achieving either a window energy rating Band B or a centre pane U-value of 1.2w/m2k. An improved, robust, security multi-point locking option ensures the window is especially secure.”

For year-round comfort, it features high performance double glazing that retains heat during cold winters, and controls heat during the summer, whilst generally reducing noise levelsEven slimmer ‘timeless’ frame and sight-lines, present a light delicate feel inside and out, creating a welcome sense of airiness and space. To maximise daylight, the window’s design incorporates larger areas of glass than any other window of a similar size.

Quality-made, galvanised steel windows like this will last 60+ years. They are competitively priced, economical to maintain long-term. Polyester powder coated, they ensure a consistent, even, coating, not requiring redecoration for 25 – 30 years. The window is available through Crittall’s network of local Crittall Window Specialists in a choice of styles (including true divided glazing bar options) and colours, plus a dual colour option. The steel window frames can match – or contrast with – your interior décor.

Do it in style
Stuart Judge adds:

“Ensure the windows you choose match the style of the home. They have a dramatic impact on the look – personality – of your home, even affecting its value. Installed appropriately, quality steel windows can enhance a property. Don’t spoil the look of a property for the sake of a cheap installation. Install the window brand it says it is – only the original, genuine, make. Being the original steel window company, we know there are window companies claiming to be providing that, but are not.”