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If you are planning on replacing your windows and doors any time soon, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. Not the least of these is the style of window. You may, of course, want to simply replace existing old windows with the same design, but you might go for something completely different. That's fine, but with certain exceptions.
Chief of these is if your home is a listed building. If it is, it is almost certain that you will not be allowed to change the style of the windows, and very likely the material from which they are constructed too. The other possibility is that the same rules may apply if your home is not listed but is in a conservation area. In both cases, you should check with your local authority, because if you start changing things around you could very easily be hit with a £5,000 fine AND made to rip out the new installation and replace it with original looking windows.
Leaving those situations aside, there are many different styles of window that you can have, the most common being the casement window. These are hinged at the side and open outwards. They can also be hinged at the top when they are known as 'awning windows', and very rarely may be hinged at the bottom and open inwards, when they are called 'hoppers'.
Bow windows are made up of three, four, or five sections that bow outwards from the wall of the building. You might want to add bay windows to your home which involves building an outwards extension on to your wall and gives you more space inside the room. The finished windows usually consist of three or five windows, the side ones of which will open like casement windows. However, if you wish to add a bay window to your home it is regarded as an extension and you will have to get planning permission.
Sash windows are those which open by sliding up and down rather than opening on hinges. There are two windows, one above the other when they are closed. They can be single hung, which means that only one window - the bottom one - opens, or double hung which means that both windows can open. If your building is listed or in a conservation area it may very well have sash windows.
Tilt and turn windows are a relatively modern invention and they usually open inwards into the room, when hinged at the sides. One of the big advantages of tilt and turn windows is that you will never need a window cleaner again because you can clean the outside of it in your room. When the window is in the closed position, the handle can be twisted so that it disengages the side hinges and engages hinges at the bottom. The window can then be tilted open inwards at the top which means that you can have fresh air even if it is raining - as long as the rain is not pelting hard directly at the window.
French windows are two side hung casement windows which meet in the middle when closed. These give maximum view when open and can also be used as a means of escape from fire. When installed as full length windows that extend down to the floor, they are called French doors of course.
Those are just some of the different styles of windows: there are many more. Then there is also the question of materials. There is no doubt that uPVC windows are the most popular, largely because they are long lasting, need no maintenance, and are the least expensive material. People install uPVC doors in Essex for the same reason. They don't have to be white, although a lot of people still choose it. You can have uPVC windows and doors in quite a wide range of colours.
However, you can still have traditional windows made of wood, and of course you can get the wood grain effect which many people love, or they can just be painted. One of the problems is that they DO need maintenance and painting every few years.
There are also aluminium windows. These won't need maintenance and they have the advantage that the frames can be very narrow, allowing for maximum view of the outside world.
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