If you are a homeowner and are looking to save energy in your home, improve heat retention, and decrease your bills, one of the top options you may want to consider is secondary glazing. If you live in an older property, secondary glazing takes your existing single-glazed panels and upgrades them either temporarily or permanently.
Secondary glazing uses your current single-glazed window and adds a supplementary windowpane in front of the current fixture.
Today we’re going to look at everything you need to know about secondary glazing, including the benefits of installing this type of glazing in your home this year. If you are trying to decide between secondary glazing and double glazing, you’ll want to consider the benefits of both of these options before deciding which is the best solution for your home.
What is Secondary Glazing?
Secondary glazing takes an existing single-glazed window and adds a supplementary windowpane in front of the current glazing. It acts similarly to double glazing and can be used as a solution to minimize noise, improve heat retention, and reduce cold draughts in your home.
Secondary glazing is often added to older properties and is generally much cheaper than double glazing. It fits in well with the home’s current aesthetic, allowing you to keep the current design features you love in your home.
What is the difference between Secondary Glazing and Double Glazing?
When considering the options for your home’s windows, it’s important not to become confused between secondary and double glazing.
As we’ve established above, secondary glazing takes an existing window and adds windowpane over the top. On the other hand, double glazing uses two sheets of glass, which have a small gap between them for insulation.
The gap in the double glazing can be filled with Argon or another inert gas, or it is sometimes a vacuum. This minimizes the movement of heat between the two sides of the window.
Double glazing is a lot more expensive than opting for secondary glazing. This is generally because a complete unit is fitted, replacing the existing windows. You can’t reuse the current fixture in the same manner as you can with secondary glazing.
The time and effort involved in installing double glazing are much greater. You’ll need to use a professional company, which will have to spend time measuring and planning for your new window installation.
What are the Benefits of Secondary Glazing?
Secondary glazing offers many benefits to homeowners, which we’re going to explore today. All of these reasons combined are why so many homeowners are opting to use this option in their property’s windows.
One of the key reasons for opting to add secondary glazing to your home is the cost-saving. In comparison to double glazing, you’ll find this is a much cheaper option for most homes.
With double glazing, you’ll need a full new unit installed. On the other hand, secondary glazing takes your existing fixture and simply adds a second sheet of glass.
The great thing about secondary glazing is that you can even add this into your home by yourself. There are DIY kits available for anyone looking to take on the project by themselves.
Alternatively, you can use a professional team to install your secondary glazing. This will still be far cheaper than adding double glazing, as the measuring, production, and fitting of double glazing increases the cost significantly.
Reduces Noise Pollution
If you struggle with noise keeping you awake at night in your home, you may want to consider adding secondary glazing to your property. For anyone who lives on a busy road, this can really improve your quality of life.
Secondary glazing is often considered to be more effective than double glazing in this manner, as you’ll benefit from two separate barriers to cut out the noise. The bigger the cavity is between the two glass panes, the more you’ll find noise inside your home is reduced.
As double glazing generally has two glass panes very close to each other, with a small cavity in between, you’ll find secondary glazing better for creating a more peaceful home environment.
Improved Thermal Insulation
After adding secondary glazing to their home, many homeowners find their thermal efficiency is improved by up to 60%.
Energy costs are one of the biggest challenges for homeowners today, who are finding they continue to rise year after year. After adding secondary glazing, you have the potential to reduce your heating bills and minimize the carbon emissions produced by your home.
We’re all looking for ways to improve our home’s security today. If you live in an older property that doesn’t benefit from modern security features, secondary glazing is a great addition to consider.
This will provide your home with a second barrier of protection at each door or window you add secondary glazing to. On top of that, you can also consider adding locks or handles to the windows for further security.
When you are installing your secondary glazing, consider opting for laminated glass or toughened glass, both of which offer additional security benefits to homeowners.
Secondary glazing can be installed in both private and residential properties and offers benefits to any type of building it’s added to. In comparison to single glazing, you’ll find your building is much more secure with secondary glazing.
Ideal for Older Properties
Secondary glazing is an excellent solution for older properties and listed buildings. You’ll still be able to retain the character and architecture of your current window fixtures, and it won’t add an unsightly modern fixture to your home.
Secondary glazing is a very discreet solution for older homes, churches, and other unique properties. You’ll barely notice the difference between your previous and new windows.
You may be surprised to learn that older properties in the UK and throughout Europe have windows that date back over 100 years. Windows can last a long time when they are well looked after and maintained.
Secondary glazing helps to extend the life of these windows and also stops you from wasting usable fixtures and sending more materials into landfills unnecessarily.
An Environmentally-friendly Solution
While we all think about saving the environment more today in our day-to-day lives, it’s something we often neglect to think about in regards to home renovations.
By renovating your current window fixtures instead of having them pulled out and replaced, you’ll reduce your impact on the environment. You also won’t cause more harm to the environment through the manufacturing process used for double glazing.
With the right care, windows can last for hundreds of years. There’s absolutely no need to replace these windows when you have the solution of using secondary glazing in your home.
What are the Challenges of Secondary Glazing?
Of course, to offer you a well-rounded understanding of adding secondary glazing to your home, it’s important to discuss the challenges this type of window may present.
One of the main criticisms of secondary glazing is that it’s quite challenging to clean. You have to reach inside and clean the two individual panes. Instead of just cleaning two sides of the glass, you have to tackle four sides at one time.
Depending on the style of your windows and the installation you opt for, you may find that secondary glazing units are more challenging to open and close. However, this is only a minor inconvenience for most people compared to the benefits secondary glazing offers to users.
What Type of Glass Can Be Used For Secondary Glazing?
When it comes to your options for glass for secondary glazing, you’ll be impressed by the wide range of products on the market today.
As far as toughened glass, the basic option is usually 4mm toughened glass. From there, you can upgrade to 6mm toughened glass for improved thermal insulation and sound reduction.
Most companies recommend you mix and match the thicknesses of your existing window and your new glass pane. 4mm is generally the thinnest option you’ll be offered for health and safety reasons.
If you are adding secondary glazing into a room where you need more privacy, such as your bathroom, you can opt for obscure toughened glass. This type of textured glass adds more privacy and is available in 4mm or 6mm thicknesses.
Another toughened glass option is satin toughened glass. This has a frosted effect and comes in 4mm or 6mm thicknesses. This is another great option for bathrooms or those rooms where you are trying to obscure the view inside.
Low-E glass is also available for secondary glazing, as is clear laminated glass. Laminated glass uses an interlayer between two sheets of glass, which are then molded together with pressure and heat.
Laminated glass is a great option for commercial properties and added security. It’s considered to be a form of safety glass and won’t shatter if it cracks. You’ll find there are a few different options for laminated glass for secondary glazing, some of which are designed to act as a barrier to stop sound from entering your home.
What Type of Fixtures is on Offer for Secondary Glazing?
As with other glazing options, secondary glazing can be fitted in a variety of styles and fixtures to suit your home’s décor.
Horizontal sliders are the most popular option when it comes to secondary glazing. They are a versatile solution that can be added to almost any home.
For a slightly more sophisticated solution, consider vertical sliders. They work similarly to traditional weighted sash windows. These are another popular option that can work in a wide variety of rooms in your home.
For anyone that is adding secondary glazing to a historic property, such as a church, you may want to consider a hinge system. Hinge systems won’t spoil the beautiful view that your home has and won’t alter the current appearance of your window fixtures.
A hinge system will tilt and turn, which offers you good ventilation and easy cleaning and maintenance. This can be upgraded to include a single handle or locking functions.
If you are working with a strict budget, lift-out glazing units are the most affordable option for secondary glazing. They are a good option if you aren’t worried about accessing the primary window much in the future.
Lift-out glazing units are good for decorative windows which don’t open, but you’ll want to consider sash size with this solution.
For a very basic secondary glazing option, fixed inserts are the most simple choice. This is an aluminum frame that can be used when you don’t have much space to add a panel.
Fixed insert units can be permanently fixed to your window or door, or there’s the option of fixing them with turnbuckles so they can be easily removed.
When working with a secondary glazing company, you’ll find that they can also offer you bespoke solutions. If none of the standard options quite fit your needs, discuss the option of a bespoke secondary glazing unit for your property.
Can I Install Secondary Glazing By Myself?
One of the benefits of secondary glazing is that you do have the option of installing it by yourself. However, as with any large DIY project, we always recommend that you feel comfortable with this task before getting started.
For many people, the small saving of installing secondary glazing by themselves isn’t worth the energy and hassle that’s involved. If you aren’t experienced with installing window fixtures, you’ll probably just want to find a reputable local company that can install secondary glazing.
If you are opting to install secondary glazing yourself, look for a DIY secondary glazing kit. These often come in a wide selection of styles and colors, which can be used with any window unit.
Unless you experience any unforeseen challenges, a good DIY secondary glazing kit should only take you about an hour to install on each window. It’s a great task for a weekend where you are looking to improve the quality of life in your home.
To help make the installation process easier, you can use a wooden sub-frame, which makes it quicker to install. As long as you follow the instructions provided properly, you’ll find that you experience all the heat retention and noise reduction benefits of secondary glazing we discussed earlier.
If you do decide to go down the DIY route, ensure a warranty is included with your DIY kit. You don’t want to pay out for your new secondary glazing kit only to find that you have an issue with the glass a few months later. Look for a warranty that’s about five years in length for peace of mind.
Cleaning Secondary Glazing
As we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges homeowners experience with secondary glazing is keeping it clean and clear. This is a challenge with windows of any type, but secondary glazing does pose its own unique issues.
While secondary glazing can still function well without frequent cleaning, we always encourage you to adopt a routine to increase its life and quality,
When marks and dirt build up on your secondary glazing, this can block out light over time, which reduces the temperature in your home. You’ll also find your views are much better, which is important in older buildings or properties that are open to the public.
Make sure you are giving your secondary glazing units a good clean every month or so to avoid these issues from occurring.
To clean secondary glazing, avoid using abrasive cleaning products or materials. Find a cloth and neutral detergent which will help to remove any dirt and marks from the window.
You’ll also want to clean the frame to remove any build-up of dirt and dust. This can be done with a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner if you have space.
Some people are confident enough to remove the glazing from the frame. This allows you to clean the tracks, which can stop your windows from getting stuck in the future. Once again, a brush or vacuum will work in this area.
As with any investment for your home, we always recommend looking after your secondary glazing to the best of your ability. A new secondary glazing unit has the potential to remain in your home for many years, so treat it with care to extend its life.
While it may take a couple of hours to clean your secondary glazing, depending on the type of installation you have, if you take on this challenge with your partner once a month, you’ll avoid dirt or stains on your windows.
You can reduce the cleaning schedule to every few months for windows in harder-to-reach areas or that involve a lot of hassle to clean.
Secondary glazing is an excellent solution for both private and commercial properties. It won’t adjust the overall appearance of your current window fixtures and offers many great benefits to property owners. With DIY options or professional services available for secondary glazing, it’s a readily available solution for homeowners around the world today.