People love light-filled rooms and it’s often a real selling point for a house.
We added and changed a number of windows in our house and I am surprised at the number of other people that haven’t, either they didn’t know they could, or didn’t know their options and now have gotten too far down the track and are no longer at the point where they can change them.
When to upgrade
From what I understand the best time to make changes is during the sale process when the sales consultant is taking a red pen to the house plans, or just before Tender, requesting the change with your Building Co-ordinator. Finalising it all at Tender stage, after that, it’s starting to get to late in the process.
Porter Davies used A&L windows in our house, however, I remember seeing another suppliers colour option at World of Style and not taking much notice of it. (Think it was Stegbar)
Make sure, that when you walk around the display home with the Sales Consultant, that you have them point out any windows that have been upgraded or added in. You will be surprised how many there are.
House direction plays a big part in window choice, we have our kitchen window facing south and I wanted it double glazed no matter what the cost. Its lovely and big and will let in plenty of light into the kitchen but it won’t be filled with the baking hot direct sun, instead, it may be quite cold – hence the double glazing.
Think about the rooms you do want to be filled with hot afternoon sun, what direction do their external walls face and is your window the correct size and location to fulfil this image you have in your mind.
Think about where you want the TV positioned in the lounge or games room and what angle the afternoon/evening light will be coming from, you don’t want a window that always has to have the curtains closed just so you cant see the screen.
What cat doesn’t enjoy basking in pools of bright sunlight, streaming in through the windows?
A&L options of Awning doors and windows. Links to PDF’s
Armadale Awning Windows A&L Armadale_Awning_Size_Chart
Awning Window A&L Awning_Windows_Size_Chart
Sliding Windows A&L Sliding-Window
Fixed (Boutique) Windows A&L Boutique-Fixed-No-Mullion
Sliding Doors A&L Sliding Doors Size Chart VIC only
Entertainer Sliding Doors A&L Entertainer Sliding Doors VIC only
Boutique Sliding Doors A&L Boutique-Sliding-Doors
I know there are more options, for instance, I have seen louvre windows in some Porter Davis Display homes, and if it’s in a display, then you can have it :-p
However be aware that Porter Davis do not stock offer all the options within the A&L range. For instance, in the Siding Doors options, we asked if we could have the 2365mm high sliding doors, as we didn’t want the 2370 Boutique Sliding doors, as I personally don’t like the bulky looking Boutique option, however, we were told that PD do not offer this height of doors in the standard (cheaper) range.
You may have noticed that window dimensions are funny sizes, not round metric or imperial numbers.
This is because most homes in Australia are built with bricks, so the windows are constructed to fit inside a space that bricks can easily accommodate. The window sizes are calculated by the width and length of the brickwork. For instance, a window will be 5 bricks wide by 12 bricks high.
If you have windows to the side of or are on an adjoining wall with, ranch sliders or stacker doors, think about if you want the window to finish at the same height as the door. This will give you a clean line as you run your eye around the top of the room. Nothing worse than the visual mess of a window slightly higher than a door on one side and then slightly lower than the door on the other. Our Tender presenter pointed this out to us and I am so thankful that she did, the note “All windows to be set to sliding door height.” was added to our plans. It’s something you wouldn’t think of when looking at the plans but would stick out horrible when you walked into the rooms and saw all the different window and door heights.
Think about the tables, couches and other furniture you want in a room along with its placement. What do you plan on putting under the window and will it fit nicely without covering up the bottom portion? Will the couch fit under the window or do you need to lift it up? Is the window too high to look out of when sitting at your desk chair or do you want to off centre it a little as you plan on placing a bookcase beside it?
Turn your cupboard into a wine cellar, and show off the contents by adding a window.
You cant change facade windows, it’s a big no-no…
This is because house builders are not allowed to copy each other designs, so they come up with a facade option and ‘patent’ it (I’m not sure of the process they go through) But I do know other builders are not allowed to copy. So when you change something like a window size in the facade, you are changing the set look of the approved frontage and may be inadvertently changing your house to look like another builders already registered facade.
I wanted a wider front bedroom window to wrap around the side of my master bedroom wall. I had seen this on the Ludstone facade on a Rochdale 33 but its different in a Ludstone facade on a Forsyth 35… so instead, as it was on the side of the house and not the front I was able to add another window beside it rather than extending the window already on the plan. I got what I wanted without having to change the facades windows – win-win.
Fixed, Sliding or Awning
As I understand it, there are 3 main types of windows Porter Davis sell, Fixed is an unopenable, Sliding, as the name suggests, has one section that slides sideways on top of an equal sized space on the other side, this is great for letting large amounts of air into the house as the opening is only restricted by half the window size. Last but not least is an awning, where you wind your window open a little bit at the bottom to let in reasonable airflow but it does not create a big enough gap for a human to squeeze through.
However there are others, such as double hung – like the old school sash windows but with a modern take, and louvre windows but I’m sure there are more.
Fixed and Awning windows can be double glazed.
Sliding windows cannot be double glassed.
Awning and sliding windows can have fly screens attached to the inside.
If you have an Awning window, the little winder nob at the bottom can get in the way if you would like to inset plantation shutter, one option to get around this is to not have your plantation shutters flush with your wall but set them out in your room, this does make them look chunkier and less refined, another option is to keep siding windows in place behind the plantation shutter, allowing it to be inside the window frame. This is the option we have chosen to do in our bathrooms.
Alternatively, you could choose a style of awning that has a transom at the bottom, which would position the winder higher up and allow the frame of the plantation shutter to sit inside the window frame
The V repersents the opening of the Awaining window.
Cat or dog doors
Have a thought for your four-legged friend (if you have one.) Do you want to put a Cat or small dog door in your new home?
It is recommended that cat doors are not fitted into Double glassing. The area between the two pains of glass is sealed and filled with gas, do not attempt to split the double glassed unit in any way yourself. If you do want to attempt it – consult a Profesional to see if they will undertake the project.
In the window we intend to put a cat door in, we have purposefully left as a siding single glassed window to sidestep this issue and potential cost.
If you change your windows from the original plan, this may change your 6 Star Energy rating. Many things affect your homes 6 Star energy rating, not just windows. From all of the changes we made, iron roof, Hebel, sarking, adding windows, adding rooms and extending the house. Our 6 Star report came back saying we needed to add some thicker wall and ceiling batts – fine by me, I wanted thicker batts anyway. The cost all up was around $1,600.
House style – Window style
If you are one of the many people that fall in love with the Hamptons or Cape Cod look and feel of a house, consider changing your windows to have the ‘Lineage’ decorative top styling, to give you a real character feel.
There are several different Lineage options, below is the Lineage Newport on an Armadale awning.
L shape door opening
While we are talking about doors and windows, have you been to those houses where the outside sliding doors are in an L shape and there is no pillar holding up the roof – WOW! I would have loved this, but we were quoted a ballpark $20k for this option – ouch, outside of my price range.
From experience, it is cheaper to add double glasing at Contract stage after the 6 Star energy report has been done.
We have heard of people that have been given double glasing for free by Porter Davis because the house did not reach 6 Star on the base house specs – not from changes they had made. For changes you make that affect the 6 star, you have to pay.
We had the large kitchen window quoted at Tender for double glassing $450.00,
When we got to Contract we did not know how much the budget would stretch for double glasing so we asked PD to break down the sections of the house when quoting. Below are the costs, in the end, we accepted all 3 as it was so cheap
Compare this with the one kitchen window of $450, where I could get the 2x family windows, the big dining window, a floor to ceiling guest bedroom window, the master centre window (4m wide) and the other master bedroom window all double glazed for only $1,661. You can see that the Kitchen window that had a price request earlier on was way overpriced.
Square set vs Architraves
Thinking about your style and the feeling you want your home to give, keep in mind what windows you would like to have square set and which windows you would like to have architraves around them.
If you have a gas kitchen cooktop sitting in front of a picture window, it requires square set to comply with gas & distance regulations, it will also need stone leading into the window space – but read more about Stone and how they affect windows in my next blog.
Windows can change the whole feeling of a space, they are hard to move later and costly to change once installed, take some time to ensure that the windows are the right style, size and location for your lifestyle.
Bright, open spaces – sigh – my happy place