The basic purpose of a window is to let light into the room, and here you must strike a balance. Too little glass makes the room dingy. However,too large of an expanse of sunlight will result in soaring temperatures in the summer. Windows also provide ventilation which is so vital for dispelling stale air, preventing mold, reducing condensation and so on. As a general rule the area of openable glass must be at least 5 per cent of the floor area if the room is to be lived in for part of the day.
A window can not be simply lifted out and replaced like a cupboard. Despite the large amount of work and expense involved there are still times when it is necessary to have one or more replacement windows installed. The wooden frame may have rotted, you may wish to modernize your home or you may be tired of having to paint steel-framed windows every few years. It is, of course, sensible to install double-glazed replacement windows when such needs arise, but to put in double glazing solely to cut down on heating bills may not be worthwhile.
Consider all the factors before deciding to tear out your windows. If the house was built many years ago then the windows will not be standard size and you won’t be able to buy a replacement off the shelf. Pick a suitable style and construction material. Always insist on safety glass in any high-risk zone such as patio doors or child-high panes of glass. Many thousands go to the hospital each year because this simple rule is often ignored. Before fitting a replacement window, check with the installer that the work will comply with the Building Regulations.
In addition to providing light and ventilation, windows give a view of the world outside. This means that during daylight hours a window is a focal point and interior decorators spend a great deal of time thinking about this aspect. If the view is attractive then the window covering should do nothing to detract from the scene. However,if the view is an eyesore or open to public gaze then there are blinds or curtains to make life more comfortable.