When choosing windows for a basement conversion, you need to think about what you would for any glazing installation, plus the functionality of the basement itself. Primary considerations need to be:
The expected humidity of the room.
What the basement will be used for (to ascertain if extra ventilation will be needed or not).
How much light you need to gain access to, which will determine the size of the window.
How insulated you will need your glazing to be (street noise will be a consideration).
Aesthetics will naturally play a major role.
Do the windows need to offer extra access?
Due to being below ground level, you will want to choose basement windows that are less likely to rust or rot, which is why uPVC styles are frequently selected. They are also modular, making them easier to install, even in a difficult location and you can specify the style of glazing you need easily. You will normally find that egress windows are uPVC, so that they will function perfectly in an emergency.
Plastic windows can be created in any style that you like, including sliding, sash or even hopper, which means that you will be able to tie your new windows into the style of your façade easily and cohesively. You can also specify certain colours for plastic windows, so don’t think that white is your only option.
Wood. This is definitely a material to avoid, as any moisture will affect the frames of your window and could result in your glass becoming loose. Wood also needs a lot of maintenance.
Fibreglass. This is actually a viable option, as you will find that fibreglass needs little care, isn’t affected by moisture or weather conditions and offers a beautiful aesthetic. The only downside is that this can be an expensive option.
Aluminium. Though cost-effective, aluminium windows have a tendency to allow heat to escape and in a basement, this is NOT what you want!
If you have converted the basement or simply want to improve the functionality of your space, better windows really are a must. Let’s not forget that it can be difficult to draw natural light into a belowground area, but there are a host of fantastic solutions to potentially take advantage of, such as light wells or glass block windows.
If aesthetics aren’t your main concern, you might still consider replacing your existing basement windows if they aren’t as energy efficient as you would like. It’s important to trap light and heat in your lower levels, so don’t underestimate the importance of innovative glazing.
Don’t assume that just because your basement windows are subterranean that they won’t need maintaining or decorating as any other glazing units would! There are a host of fantastic ideas for keeping your basement windows in tip-top condition and looking special, but you also need to think about the location of your house, in terms of how much privacy you might need. After all, a basement conversion on a busy street could easily be peered into by passers-by, if you don’t have the right window dressings in place!
Large basement windows can be dressed with curtains, shutters or blinds, like any glazing up on higher levels, but be sure to choose styles that will suit the rest of the space and those that can be easily adapted to let light in, when you want it. Blackout blinds and curtains are particularly effective for when you want to totally block out the outside world. Don’t forget to think about how your chosen window dressings will look, from the outside. You need to maintain a decorative cohesion with your upper floors.
Basement windows will need cleaning thoroughly, so be sure to add them to your chores list. Dirty glass will prevent sunlight from entering the space and negate all your efforts. If you have a window cleaner already, it won’t cost you much more to have them include your new basement windows as well.