August 2nd, 2021 - Beth

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Kitchens and bathrooms are key when selling new or refurbished homes. But windows and doors are the first thing buyers see, and will set the tone for viewings, says Adrian Barraclough*

A very long time ago estates builders helped to create the replacement window industry by installing softwood windows that were sometimes already rotting. Homeowners would move in and the first thing they did was change the windows. This was the precursor to an industry that is now worth around £5 billion a year and with sales that show no sign of letting up, despite more than 90% of British homes having double glazed windows installed.

Home improvers love fresh, new windows and doors and willingly spend huge sums of money on them even if their existing frames are still reasonably serviceable. Builders and developers can learn from this by paying more attention to the windows and doors they specify to lift the properties they are marketing, either one-off builds and refurbishments, or larger developments.

Many builders still see windows and doors as largely being a means to block a hole, let people and a bit of light in. Even in what are otherwise well-specified homes with luxury branded kitchens and bathrooms, little attention is paid to the windows, other than in mock-period styles, for which the window choices will be a given. Our experience is that buyers are very tuned in to the fine details, whilst builders are often more concerned with price than the visual impact on the homes they are building.

The ‘wow’ factor of a property should come as buyers pull up at the kerb, way before they set foot into the house, let alone the kitchen. And whilst the details of the window may not be immediately obvious, the overall effect can be dramatic either way.

Thermal performance and security are determined by Building Regulations. And most buyers will be impressed enough by the usual minimum of shoot bolts and locking handles offered as standard. But the appearance of the windows and doors will have a greater initial effect than their specification. If frames are stylish, the details will be largely acceptable.

These are a few things to think about when specifying windows and doors:

  • Taller and wider windows and doors with narrower sightlines maximise the glazing area to allow more light in and provide unobstructed views out
  • Styles with sleek, modern or period details so suit the property will subtly but significantly influence its overall ‘feel’
  • Patio doors, specifically bi-fold and multi-panel types, give a highly desirable airy and bright feeling even to relatively small rooms
  • Unusually styled or even irregularly shaped frameswill distinguish a property from others around it
  • The front door is the focus of a home. These days composite doors are available in a huge number of colours and performance options and it’s worth spending a little more time choosing. I like bold colours!
  • And then there are textures and colours, literally hundreds to choose from. The choice can feel overwhelming; so let’s narrow the choice a little. For refurbished older properties, choose traditional window frames such as vertical sliding box sash windows, or even the current big seller, flush sash. And choose a subtle tone such as agate grey for example.

Attention to these small details can sell the property at the kerb. That has to be worth a little more time and care.

*Adrian Barraclough is the Chairman of Brighouse-based window and door manufacturer to the trade, Quickslide Ltd. www.quickslide.co.uk.


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