We all know that home extensions can be a great way of creating extra space in your existing property, without having to worry about the expense of selling up and investing in a larger house. But when planning the perfect extension it can be easy to forget out one of the most important features of any room – the windows!
Whilst flooring, furniture and decoration are what people may spend the bulk of their planning time pondering, it’s the most stylish and effective way of getting light into your extension that really pays off in the long term, both in terms of function and value. So here are a few things to think about when picking windows for your new extension.
Make sure they match
Depending on the type of extension you’re having, you’ll normally want to make sure your windows fit in with the overall look of your existing home. Unless you’re planning on getting an entire set of new windows at the same time as having your extension done, you’ll want to make sure the new windows are the same height and have the same style of openings, glass and window furniture. Get this part wrong, and it’ll be the first thing you notice every time you come home!
Size DOES matter
Choosing the perfect size for your new windows is a real challenge. Too small and your extension will end up being dark and dreary. Too big and they will dominate the room and eat up valuable wall space, also potentially upsetting the balance of the rest of the house. Again, try to match the rest of your house, if appropriate, but if not have a look at nearby homes that have had similar extensions and see what looks and feels right.
Stick with the plan
Depending on the type of extension, unless you’re covered under permitted development you’ll need to make sure you seek the relevant planning permissions. This will generally require drawing up some detailed plans for submission to your local planning authority, which are normally drawn up by an architect or your builder.
At the planning stage you’ll need to make sure your windows comply with the regulations, both in terms of size and placement to give you the best chance of having your plans approved. For example, if your plans mean you’ll have one of your massive windows looking directly into your neighbour’s bedroom window you’ll be unlikely to get a ‘yes’!
Once you’ve had your plans approved you’ll need to ensure you stick to them. If you stray too much from your approved design you might struggle to get your final build signed off. So if your windows start straying across to other parts of your extension or double in size you might be asked to go back to the drawing board!
Roof windows, standard windows or both?
If you’ve chosen a single-storey extension you’ll likely to be faced with the decision between roof windows, standard front or side windows or a mixture of both. Roof windows can look amazing and let in a terrific amount of light throughout the day.
For our own side extension we went for a mixture of both – two roof windows and then a window in both the front and rear walls to let as much light in as possible. But that decision has to be very much based on location and surroundings so it’s good to really think that through before you begin.
Make sure they fit!
It’s all well and good picking the style of window you like and agreeing on the size and location, but unless they fit well and are installed to a high standard you could end up disappointed by the final result. You will find that in some cases your builder will try to install a standard-sized window into your slightly non-standard sized hole, in order to cut costs. We had this exact issue with our extension, leaving windows that had breezy gaps around them. It turned out that although our builders were good at building structures, they weren’t so good at fitting windows!
So make sure your builders order windows that exactly fit your openings and ideally make sure that they know how to fit them. Failing that, get a professional window company in to take care of that part. The last thing you want is to spend your savings on a lovely extension only to feel a chill breeze every time you sit on your sofa!
Hopefully those little tips will help you make the most out of your extension plans. We love our extension as it’s given us lots of extra space and we can thoroughly recommend making the investment. As with all building work, think about what you want, how you want it to look, who you trust to build it and whether you can afford in. Most importantly, pay attention to the details – including those all-important windows!