There are many different types of glass and glazing available, so there is a lot to consider when you are getting new windows.
Single glazing is the most basic form of window. It consists of a single pane of glass and is quickly becoming outdated. You'll be hard pressed to find a glazier that fits single glazed windows now, as single glazing is not very thermally efficient and means households are often very cold in the winter.
Double glazing is the most common type of window now, and has been around for more than 70 years. It's the standard type of window fitted in new homes, and is very good at retaining heat due to its structure. Double glazed windows consist of two panes of glass slotted into a frame very closely together, with a thin layer between them filled with either air or inert gas.
Triple glazing is similar to double glazing, but with an extra pane of glass fitted into the frame. This provides an extra layer of insulation, meaning they are that much better at retaining heat and keeping out drafts. Triple glazing also gives extra security to your home, because it's harder to break than double or single glazing. Additionally, it's also much better at keeping sounds out, which could be useful if you live in a busy area.
While 100% soundproof glass is not viable, because the thickness and weight of glass that would be required would be too much for frames to handle and too heavy to fit, it is possible to get windows that are much better at keeping sound out than others. Specially designed soundproof windows can help keep out 75-95% of noise.
It's important to note that soundproof windows are not replacements for your old windows, but rather an addition to them. If you live in a particularly noisy area, such as near an airport or next to a through road that sees a lot of traffic, or if your neighbours have an annoyingly loud dog, you might wish to consider having soundproof windows fitted.
While no windows are truly unbreakable, there are options available to you if you're worried about the security of your home. One option is a glass 'sandwich,' in which a layer of clear plastic is fitted between two panes of glass. If this type of window is struck with force, the glass on both sides may shatter, but the plastic will hold strong, preventing people from entering and requiring more effort to break through entirely.
A second option is polycarbonate windows, which are strong and lightweight - but are not glass. These types of windows require special cleaning products, as some chemicals can leave a cloudy appearance. Polycarbonate is also scratched very easily, which could ruin the appearance of your home if care isn't taken.
Other reasons for having unbreakable glass fitted include living in a storm-prone area, in which very strong winds could send debris flying into your home, and areas in which a lot of kids live and play on the streets, where there is a risk of damage from balls and toys gone awry.
Thanks to our friends at Robert Holmes estate agents for this guest post. They have a great selection of property in Wimbledon and the surrounding areas of South West London.