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How to Recognise a Quality Windows and Doors: 12 Questions

23 April 2024

How can we tell if the windows and doors we want to choose for our house are good ones? There are always many proposals and it is not easy to find your way around. In this article, we suggest some questions to ask yourself to learn how to recognise quality windows.

Why it is important to understand how to assess the quality of windows and doors

When you choose a window, you are making a decision that will have an important weight in the construction or renovation of your home. An important weight in several respects, all of which are closely linked.

First of all, there is the performance one: how to recognise a quality window frame that will perform well over the long term? In other words, how can we be sure that a window will perform its function consistently and without losing quality due to the wear and tear of time?

Then, there is the point of view of energy efficiency, which, in the 21st century, is a key point to consider. Because, depending on their quality, windows can be a huge ally or, on the contrary, a powerful deterrent to energy savings and environmental friendliness, both at the time of installation and in the long run.

There is also the point of view of aesthetics: which window frame best suits one’s stylistic preferences and the unique character of the house in which one lives?

Last but not least, there is the economic point of view. Or, even better, that of value for money: what type of window to choose to be sure of making the smartest investment possible?

The questions to ask to recognise quality windows

In order to buy windows that are of a quality appropriate to one’s needs, it is therefore important to make a thorough assessment before going to the different dealers and considering the different quotes. Below are 12 questions that can serve as guidelines for making the right decision.

What are my basic needs?

To recognise quality windows, one naturally starts with one’s own needs. Every window can have advantages and disadvantages, but they also vary greatly on the basis of the criteria they have to meet. We should therefore take stock of the situation by answering the following questions:

  1. I need/want fixtures that can be customised in terms of shapes, colours and finishes, perhaps to best match the architectural and furnishing style of the house?
  2. What need for praticality do I have? Do I want windows that are particularly easy to clean and maintain?
  3. One of my wishes is a house well-lit by natural light?
  4. Is it my first home or a second home, to be rented out, so maybe not too big a budget?
  5. Do I want to spend less now, or invest in a product that will give me a long service life without losing quality?

By responding to this material, you will first of all be able to reason in terms of the material from which the frame is made. One will choose, for example, a material that is very easy to clean and does not require particular maintenance, if one has a need for greater functionality. Similarly, materials of greater or lesser customisation will be chosen, in case the frames have to match precise architectural palettes or styles. In both cases, aluminium may be the ideal solution, as an extremely practical and customisable material.

Regarding the budget, several factors will come into play: the material of the window frame, the quality of the glass, the variety of accessories such as handles. If you have to choose frames for a house to rent, you may be tempted to choose a lower estimate.

In this case, one has to be very careful about the expenditure we are incurring: it could be lower at the moment, but entail huge and unexpected costs in the long run because, as is often the case, low-cost elements today will present the bill tomorrow. In this case, one must therefore weigh each element well, perhaps finding a compromise between what one is willing to spend and the guarantee of having purchased a quality product that will last.

METRA Building aluminium windows and doors offer just such a guarantee, as they are made of an extremely durable material and are impeccably installed. This makes them an excellent investment over time, as they are able to maintain their high functionality even over a period of 50-60 years. The same cannot be said of other materials, such as PVC or wood.

What characteristics of the house should I take into consideration?

Each window frame can also be more or less suitable on the basis of another fundamental element: the house in which it will be installed. Related to this question are more specific ones:

  1. at what altitude/longitude is my house located?
  2. does the location of the house have very cold temperatures in winter or very hot temperatures in summer?
  3. will the windows often be affected by strong winds or high solar radiation?
  4. is my house located in a particular context, e.g., very close to the sea?
  5. what is the orientation of the house? Towards which cardinal points do the windows of the different rooms face4?
  6. is the house in a very noisy environment, or particularly susceptible to theft?
  7. is or will the house be designed to implement a home automation system?

Every house has its own soul and very specific needs, which, as can be deduced from these questions, vary mainly according to the environment in which the house is located. Of course, if you have a house located in very cold or very hot places, where you often witness the action of the most violent atmospheric agents, or near the sea, you should opt for very high quality and high-performance windows.

You may need double or triple glazing, for example, and certainly a window frame that guarantees a high level of resistance to heat dispersion and weathering. Aluminium is again the protagonist in these cases, thanks to its resistance that makes it ideal in the most extreme contexts.

8 elements of windows to evaluate in order to identify quality windows

Regardless of one’s own needs and those of one’s home, in general one must recognise certain basic functions that a quality window frame must always be able to guarantee, namely:

  • Insulate the house well in terms of heat loss and noise from outside;
  • resist well the action of weather, sun, salt, and the wear and tear of time;
  • allow adequate ventilation of the house and optimal solar radiation so that the interior rooms receive the right amount of natural light;
  • avoid the formation of mould, condensation and water infiltration;
  • protect as much as possible from theft;
  • ensure a certain degree of eco-sustainability, in terms of materials used and construction processes;
  • continue to perform all these functions over as long a period as possible, so as to justify the initial investment.

In order to recognise a quality window, therefore, we must focus on certain fundamental characteristics that all frames must have.

Estimating the value of weather resistance

Especially in the face of increasingly violent weather events such as those that have occurred in recent years, it is essential to have windows that can withstand rain, snow, hail and wind well. Assessing the quality of a window frame, therefore, starts with the resistance that the material it is made of is able to guarantee.

Aluminium, PVC and wood all offer adequate resistance but, particularly if weathering is repeated over time, wood can more easily suffer minor damage. To avoid this, it is essential that the wood in window frames is properly treated as a preventive measure, but also that it undergoes fairly frequent maintenance.

The resistance of PVC is more stable over time, but weathering may contribute to ruining the films that are applied to the plastic to achieve colours or finishes other than smooth white. In addition, low-quality PVC window frames are reasonably priced but may tend to warp or buckle over time. This would greatly diminish their resistance to weathering, allowing the creation of condensation, damp, mould and seepage that could jeopardise the tightness of perimeter walls.

Aluminium is the most resistant of the materials commonly used in window frames. Solid and robust, it retains its shape unchanged over time, does not corrode and does not suffer any problems even in its coloured or textured versions.

If high quality is sought with regard to weather resistance, the glass must also be chosen appropriately: double glazing, for example, is certainly more resistant than single-pane.

Check the thermal insulation capacity of the window frame

To understand whether a window is good, we must also check its transmittance value, i.e. the amount of heat that the frame allows to disperse into the environment. The lower the transmittance value, the better quality of the window will be because it is able to maintain excellent thermal insulation. In this way, heat will remain inside the house in winter, as well as coolness in summer: there will be no communication between the internal and external air temperatures. This will lead to less need to turn on the heaters in winter and air conditioners in summer, with positive consequences in terms of both energy savings and energy efficiency.

From a material point of view, aluminium, PVC and wood are generally all able to provide excellent thermal insulation. It all depends on how the frame is made. In the case of METRA Building aluminium frames, for example, a thermal break is implemented, i.e. a chamber inside the frame filled with insulating gas, which thus contributes to optimal thermal insulation.

Although PVC and wood are well insulating materials, they are also potentially deformable, as we have seen: this characteristic could in the long run lead to a deformation or buckling of the frame, which would then allow an easier dispersion of heat.

When it comes to thermal insulation, the choice of glass also has a great influence on the quality of the window.

In this case, double glazing is ideal: a chamber is created inside the two panes, which acts as an insulating channel and prevents the formation of mould and condensation. Many retailers also offer triple glazing, which therefore provides a double insulating chamber; however, this solution is often superfluous, and could only be considered in very cold temperatures.

Finally, glass also has a solar factor FS, which indicates how much heat passes from outside to inside the window. A high percentage could be good in winter, but counterproductive in summer: you should therefore rely on a professional who, on the basis of the characteristics of your home, will be able to indicate the most suitable FS to obtain an optimal microclimate all year round.

Check the acoustic insulation capacity of the window frame

One of the most immediate ways to recognise a quality window frame is to close it and note how much of the noise from outside is left outside the room, and how much continues to enter. The level of sound insulation, in fact, is a fundamental variable in assessing the quality of the window frames: the less noise that enters the house, the more comfortable the house becomes for sleeping, working, studying, living.

It is therefore necessary to carefully assess the level of noise reduction of a window frame, commonly measured in decibels, and to choose the most appropriate value based on one’s needs. You will need less or more sound insulation, for example, if you live in the countryside or near an airport. Moving the needle of the scales, in this case, is mainly the quality of the glass used in the window frame: a double-glazed unit is certainly a more solid barrier to noise than a single pane. For noisier contexts, there is genuine noise-reducing glass with a high sound-absorbing capacity.

METRA Building aluminium windows and doors offer optimal sound insulation, leaving traffic noise, dog barking and the chatter of passers-by outside the home. The objective is maximum living comfort for tenants.

Estimate the degree of burglar-proofing offered by the window frame

There is no such thing as a window frame that is 100 per cent resistant to the burglary action of an intruder, but a very simple way to recognise a quality window frame is to observe how long it takes it to give way when faced with such action. Every window frame has a degree of security that is expressed in anti-burglary classes (RC, Resistance Class). The RC value ranges from a minimum of 1 (least secure) to a maximum of 6 (most secure). The difference in class naturally has a bearing on the variation of costs, as a very secure window frame is equipped with reinforcing accessories that decrease the possibility of the frame being broken or forced.

Irrespective of the burglar resistance class, the best material from which to construct a secure window frame is aluminium, a metal that is virtually indestructible and very difficult to break. A normal double-glazed unit will provide a good level of protection in a normal residential context, but for a higher level of security you can also go for shatterproof glass.

METRA Building aluminium windows and doors are ideal in medium security contexts, especially when supported by strong and robust aluminium shading systems. Security is ensured with RC2 or RC3 class burglar-proof systems, and with perimeter locking systems that are well able to withstand any action by intruders.

Ensure that adequate room brightness is guaranteed

In the article on how to let more light into the home, we explained in detail all the advantages of more natural light: more brightness to the rooms, better panoramic views and, above all, energy savings and greater psycho-physical well-being for the occupants. The quality of the window is therefore also assessed on its ability to let as much natural light into the home as possible.

Aluminium windows and doors are ideal for this purpose: as aluminium is a very solid and resistant material, windows and doors made of this material can also be made of very slender and thin profiles, being able to support even very large glass surfaces. The same cannot be said of PVC or wooden frames, which instead need thicker profiles in general and, in the case of large glazing, additional supports.

Evaluating the possibilities of obtaining a customised design

In order to recognise a quality window frame, it is also important to consider the customisation possibilities that the frame itself offers. Here the material in which the frame is made is preponderant and, as in many other cases, aluminium is the best material to choose. Indeed, this material allows for a truly impressive ease and variety of customisation. In addition to the fact that aluminium is ductile and can easily be made into different shapes, it can also achieve a very wide range of colours and finishes to meet any design and aesthetic requirements.

The exceptional thing is that the colours and finishes of aluminium are obtained through oxidation or painting processes; in both cases, the colour and texture chosen resist the wear and tear of atmospheric agents and time very well, without ever flaking or being ruined. PVC can also be customised in different colours and finishes, but when assessing the quality of the frame, care must be taken that the PVC frame does not show an excessive ‘plastic’ quality, and that the films used to obtain the colours and finishes are properly applied and do not yellow or spoil over time.

METRA Building aluminium windows and doors are offered in an almost infinite range not only of colours and shades, but also of finishes: sandblasted, speckled, extra-glossy, rough-effect. Aluminium treated in this way does not corrode and is also extremely stain-resistant. For those who wish to combine the resistance of aluminium – in the external part of the frame – with the typical warmth of wood – in the part of the frame that looks inside the house -, METRA Building proposes the aluminium-wood Line.

Considering the window from the point of view of technological innovation

When assessing the quality of a window or door frame and the professionalism of the person offering it, the company’s focus on technological innovation can also have its importance. In fact, always looking for new technological solutions to improve its products means having at heart the ever new and varied needs of its current and future customers.

With long experience in the industry, METRA Building looks to the future, constantly improving and optimising its products and production processes. The materials used are recyclable and there is a constant focus on eco-sustainability. Every single element of the window frame is continuously checked to guarantee the best. And, what should not be underestimated, all METRA Building windows and doors and other products are designed to be connected seamlessly to any home automation system in the house. As a technological innovation, home automation has the dual advantage of significantly increasing the energy efficiency and living comfort of the home.

Certifications and perfect installation of the frame

Last but certainly not least: recognising quality windows also means assessing the professionalism and transparency of the company that makes, sells and installs the windows.

We talk first of all about guarantees and certifications. The frames purchased must necessarily possess basic ones, such as the CE mark and compliance with the requirements of the UNI EN 14351-1 standard. The warranties offered by the company should ensure the efficiency of the frame over time: 20-30 years in the case of wooden and PVC frames, and even 50-60 years in the case of aluminium frames. Of course, this duration is not fixed, but also depends to a large extent on the customer’s ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of the frame; in this case, a serious company also offers after-sales assistance in the maintenance and replacement of any worn parts.

Another fundamental element consists in assessing the company’s ability to install the window frame. All the good characteristics of a window frame seen so far – thermal insulation, sound insulation, safety, resistance to atmospheric agents – cannot in fact be adequately guaranteed if the frame is badly fixed to the masonry. A bad installation soon causes infiltrations, draughts, the creation of mould and condensation and, in general, an enormously negative experience with the new window frame. The quality of the window frame is therefore assessed not only in its materials and characteristics, but also in the way it is installed.

How to recognise quality windows and doors: rely on METRA Building

When it comes to identifying quality windows and assessing the quality of frames, there are many elements that come into play. The best thing to do is not to rush the process. It is necessary to take the time to get to know the company you are considering trusting: visit the showroom, look at photographs or videos of work already carried out and, if possible, even see some windows installed live in a real or realistic context. Read any reviews carefully and, if you have friends who have already used the company, ask them for honest feedback.

The elements to be taken into consideration, as we have seen, basically concern the installation capacity, the characteristics of the glass and those of the material chosen for the frame. From this last point of view, aluminium is always the best choice as it is a more resistant material that is difficult to deform, indestructible in the face of the most violent atmospheric agents, and able to maintain its qualities unaltered over time. Aluminium is also a recyclable and environmentally friendly material; when it is painted or oxidised to obtain special colours and finishes, it will not spoil or yellow over time. Finally, it is an extremely easy material to clean.

METRA Building aluminium windows and doors have all these advantages and more. The company’s experience and professionalism are also reflected in its impeccable and certified installation, as well as an after-sales service that is attentive to every need.