Buying windows and doors is something that seems simple enough on the face of it, but which actually has quite a lot of considerations that need to be made, including some pitfalls that must be avoided. It is important to work with suppliers and contractors who are local to the Toronto area, as they will have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t in terms of climate, local regulations and overall architectural styles in the city. In order to make sure everything goes smoothly, it’s definitely worth having a plan or a strategy when buying.
What You Need to Consider in Your Plan When Buying Windows and Doors
Take these points into consideration before attempting to decide on exactly what you want. Your contractor may be able to offer advice and guidance, too, but the ultimate decisions will lie with you. Here are some of the things you’ll need to think about:
- Compliance with the Building Code – All construction projects in the Toronto area are subject to the Ontario Building Code, which focuses primarily on ensuring public safety in new projects and establishes the qualification and registration requirements of building practitioners.
- Thermal Insulation – Any new windows and doors will need to ensure that no drastic changes in temperature occur in your property as this will have an effect on the amount of money you spend on heating or cooling, in addition to your family’s overall comfort. Ensure that any new windows you order meet the requirements laid out in the building code.
- Means of Escape – Also stipulated in the building code are each property type’s requirements for windows and doors that can be used to safely exit the building, especially in an emergency. You’ll only need to consider this if you are altering egress windows, or changing the location of any windows and doors. If you are blocking up any exits, you should consult the code to ensure your renovations will be legal.
- Safety Glazing – Be sure that the glass you purchase meets safety requirements, especially if it is to be installed at low levels. Ordinary glazing is not approved for these areas and you will need to purchase toughened or laminated glass. For smaller panes and those at higher levels, ordinary glazing satisfies the regulations, but you should also consider your home’s security – ordinary single glazing offers very little protection from would-be intruders.
- Safety of the Overall Structure – If you are making large-scale changes, such as widening window bays and moving doors, you will need to ensure that the proper structural support is not compromised. Be particularly cautious of carrying out any such changes in older buildings, as the timber frames of windows were often used to carry the loads of walls or roofs, without the use of lintels. Your new window frame will probably need to be reinforced.
- Adequate Ventilation Needs to Be Protected – Bear in mind the size of windows and windows openings and take into consideration what effect they will have on the overall ventilation of each room and the building as a whole. Even if it is permitted under building regulations, installing windows which do not open at all is generally not a good idea, as problems can and do occur from time to time with furnaces and air conditioners.
- Choose a Style, Materials and Colours that You Like – It’s your home and you’re the one who is going to be living in it, so make sure that you get the styles and colours that you want. uPVC windows can last over 30 years, aluminum over 50 years, so you’re unlikely to replace them more than once, if at all.
If there is a particular reason for your refurbishment that is of special importance to you – it might be energy efficiency, capturing a certain style or sustainability – then discuss this with your contractor at the outset of the project. It’s important that you’re both on the same page from the get-go, in order to achieve the results you want, from the design stage, through to the sourcing of the right materials and the installation process, right up to adding the final touches. Be clear about what you want and don’t easily compromise.