Green composite door installed in Windsor, Berkshire

How Energy-Efficient Windows Can Reduce Your Bills in 2024

As we step into 2024, energy efficiency in our homes is more crucial than ever. With rising energy costs and growing environmental concerns, homeowners are seeking ways to make their homes more sustainable and cost-effective. One of the most impactful changes you can make is installing energy-efficient windows. In this article, we’ll explore how these windows work and the tangible benefits they offer in reducing your bills.

The Science Behind Energy-Efficient Windows:

Energy-efficient windows are designed to prevent heat from escaping your home in the winter and entering in the summer. This is achieved through various technologies:

  • Double or Triple Glazing: Multiple layers of glass with inert gas, like argon, trapped in between, provide insulation.
  • Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Coatings: A microscopic coating reflects infrared light, keeping heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer.

The Cost-Saving Benefits:

  • Reduced Heating and Cooling Bills: By maintaining a consistent temperature, energy-efficient windows reduce the reliance on heating and cooling systems, directly lowering energy bills.
  • Longevity and Durability: Modern energy-efficient windows have a longer lifespan, reducing the frequency and cost of replacements.
  • Less Wear on HVAC Systems: With a more consistent indoor temperature, HVAC systems work less, reducing maintenance costs.

Impact on Property Value and Market Appeal:

Energy-efficient windows are a desirable feature in modern homes. They enhance the property’s value and appeal to environmentally conscious buyers. In the real estate market of 2024, properties with such upgrades are often preferred.

Choosing the Right Windows for Your Home:

When selecting energy-efficient windows, consider the following:

  • U-Value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): Lower U-values indicate better insulation. SHGC measures how well the window blocks heat from sunlight.
  • The Right Fit: Ensure precise measurement and installation for maximum efficiency.
  • Aesthetics: Choose a style that complements your home’s architecture.

R&M Windows and Conservatories: Your Partner in Energy Efficiency:

At R&M, we understand the importance of energy-efficient windows. Our team provides expert advice, precise measurement, and professional installation. We offer a range of styles to match any home’s design, ensuring that efficiency doesn’t come at the expense of aesthetics.


In 2024, investing in energy-efficient windows is not just a home improvement, but a smart financial decision. It’s a step towards a more sustainable lifestyle, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change. With R&M Windows and Conservatories, you can trust that your investment will enhance your home’s comfort, reduce your energy bills, and contribute to a greener future.


How to prevent condensation on windows

It’s that time of year again. The nights are drawing in, Strictly is a few weeks in, Halloween pumpkins are all around and the clocks have gone back; but it’s also a time of year when we get calls from customers asking us how to prevent condensation on their windows. As autumn deepens and winter approaches, these are typically our wettest seasons – so the issue will only worsen if you take no action.

While condensation tends to be worse on single-glazed rather than double-glazed models, it also commonly appears double-glazed units. Technological advances in double and triple glazing mean that if you have newer windows you’re much less likely to experience problems.

What is condensation and why does it occur on windows?

People often ask us why condensation appears on windows.

Condensation is the physical process of gas and vapours becoming liquid. When it comes to windows, excess humidity is usually what causes it to form on windows. As the temperature outside drops and the window glass becomes colder, moist air from inside the home is attracted to the coldest part of the room. Therefore, when comes into contact with the cold glass, it condenses and forms the water droplets/ condensation.

Causes of moist air

These can include:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Drying clothes
  • Bathroom steam
  • Cooking
  • Appliances like washing machines and tumble dryers

The different types and locations of window condensation

When you’re working on how to get rid of condensation on windows, it’s important that you note which surface of the glass it forms on, since this is a key indicator of its cause, giving you the best chance of identifying how to prevent condensation on windows.

Internal window condensation

When condensation appears on the inside of the glass in your home (rather than the outside), it is generally down to excessive moisture in the house, i.e. vapour. It usually occurs in the winter when the warm air inside condenses on the cold windows.

With single glazing, the internal surface of the window is much colder, meaning single-glazed windows are more prone to condensation. However, it still occurs on internal glass on double and triple-glazed units, although this is more common on older models.

Within the glass unit (i.e. between the glass panes)

If you notice condensation between the two (or, obviously, three in the case of triple glazing) glass panels, this usually indicates a broken seal. In this case, you will need to replace your glass unit.

External glass

If your windows have condensation on the external glazing, this means your windows are performing well and are preventing heat loss from your home. It’s more likely to appear on the outside of newer, more thermally efficient double glazing than older models. This is normal and will subside when the outside temperature increases during the day.

How to get rid of and avoid condensation on your windows

The main way to avoid condensation on your windows is to increase ventilation. Here are some of the best ways of improving ventilation and, in turn, reducing condensation on windows:

1.) Fit trickle air vents on double or triple-glazed units

Trickle vents enable you to create a small opening to allow excess moisture in the home, to escape outside without opening the window. This moisture then does not settle on the glass, preventing or reducing condensation on windows.

Since June of this year, the building regulations have changed and we now have to include trickle vents on any new windows we fit. However, there will be plenty of existing windows without them. It may be possible to install trickle vents on existing windows but if not, new windows would be required.

2.) Keep windows ajar

Even if you only open windows for a short time each day, and only slightly, it can help reduce airborne droplets and so minimise the beads of water on your windows. Be choosy about doing this in high-moisture spaces like bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens.

3.) Install cooker hoods

Cookers are a key source of airborne moisture in kitchens, ensuring use of cooker hoods and extractor fans makes a difference when tackling the issue of condensation.

4.) Draught-proof internal doors

Particularly in the bathroom and kitchen, draught-proofing internal doors and keeping them closed to contain the moisture makes a significant contribution to stopping condensation from beading on windows in neighbouring rooms.

Can condensation on windows cause damage?

Condensation on windows can damage both your home and your windows. In some cases, for example where it leads to mould in the home, it can even affect your health, which is why preventing condensation on windows is always better than cure. Some of the issues window condensation can cause include:

Mould: Condensation can cause mould in your home and black spots on the walls. Breathing in mould particles can be disastrous for health, with issues developing over time. Unfortunately, if condensation is behind the mould, simply removing the mould doesn’t fix the problem – you need to tackle the root cause.

Damage to windows: Over time, condensation can damage your windows, rusting metals and affecting the seals, too. If you have timber windows, condensation may cause them to rot.

Damage to plaster and walls: If condensation on windows remains unresolved, it could damage the walls and plaster surrounding the windows as well as across other areas of your home.

Damage to paintwork: Condensation can cause paintwork to peel. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also be costly to fix.

Will new windows really make that much difference?

Clearly, replacement windows are never going to be cheap, so won’t be an option for everyone. However, if your windows were fitted 10 years or longer ago, and your budget permits, upgrading your double glazing is often the easiest and most effective solution.

Technological advances in double and triple glazing mean that newer versions are far less prone to condensation. What’s more, their energy efficiency is much better, leading to long-term energy bill savings, plus enhanced security.

We would point out, however, that condensation does still happen, whatever windows you have, since it depends on the volume of moisture in the air in your home and the amount you ventilate.

Talk to us about minimising window condensation

If you’re experiencing condensation on your windows and want to upgrade them to newer models, we’re ideally placed to advise you on the best models for your home and keeping this problem at bay, while also increasing energy efficiency.

We also supply a range of doors including front and back models, and these often help reduce condensation on windows. Older doors particularly frequently have droplets beading on their glazed panes.

We’re based in Bracknell, but cover other Berkshire towns, including Wokingham, Windsor, Maidenhead and Ascot. Contact us to learn more about our high-quality replacement units and take the first step to reducing condensation on windows in your home.


What Are The Benefits Of uPVC Sash Windows?

Sash models are frequently found on period properties and have traditionally been fashioned from timber which though look stunning, require lots of care and maintenance. However, these days homeowners are increasingly upgrading to uPVC sash windows in order to reap the many benefits of doing so, whatever the style of their property.

It’s true that uPVC may not be the first or most obvious choice for replacement sash windows, not least for those who live within conservation areas. However, thanks to innovation and modern technological advances, uPVC today can look almost identical to real wood, while incorporating added features not otherwise possible with traditional timber, including enhanced energy efficiency.

How Sash Windows Work

Sash windows open vertically and, typically, people associate them with traditional rather than contemporary design and architecture. These units comprise two framed window sashes – one placed in front of the other. Their frames feature vertical grooves allowing smooth movement up and downwards, helped by counterbalances or weights on cords and pulleys.

If you’re contemplating upgrading your timber sash windows, you may want to consider the numerous benefits that uPVC sash windows offer.

What’s more, uPVC offers a smart-looking alternative to the high-maintenance nature of real wood.

Sash windows: a brief history

Early examples of these windows date back to the seventeenth century, for example at Ham House in Richmond. They’re sometimes considered originally a Dutch idea, at other times English and they’re often found in Georgian and Victorian homes. They do vary in size and whilst older models could be of any dimension, many late-Victorian and Edwardian homes use standard 4ft widths.

Benefits of uPVC sash windows

There are a good number of benefits to choosing UPVC sash windows and numerous reasons why more and more homeowners are turning to them over their wood-based counterparts.

#1 Long-lasting

Make no mistake, all uPVC windows are built to last, and sash models are no exception to this rule. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your windows will stay looking and performing at their best for many years to come.

#2 Low maintenance

As touched on above, uPVC sash windows require very little in the way of regular maintenance. Indeed, care is mostly limited to the occasional wipe down with a damp cloth. Real timber sash windows, in contrast, need pretty frequent cleaning, painting and restoration treatment, plus you need to allow time for sanding down, painting the various layers of paint required and so on.

#3 Energy efficiency

The energy efficiency of uPVC sash models is markedly different to that of wooden versions. So, if you’re in the business of upgrading, you’re likely to notice a reduced need for heating so you’ll save money on energy bills.

#4 Keeping your home warmer

Your home will feel a great deal cosier with uPVC sash windows compared to wooden ones. And, even if you’re looking to upgrade existing uPVC sash windows or other types of uPVC windows, modern advancements in recent years mean you are still likely to feel the benefits of having a warmer home.

#5 Can look indistinguishable from timber models

Modern woodgrain finishes look incredibly similar to the real thing (i.e. genuine wood) in terms of appearance. Sure, it’s often said that nothing beats the beauty of real wood – but uPVC units bring added benefits including enhanced performance and energy efficiency. So you really do get the best of both worlds!

#6 More cost-effective

Both in the short and longer term, uPVC sash windows are more cost-effective, given that they require next to no maintenance and fewer repairs than traditional models. Meanwhile, don’t forget that uPVC sash windows will also save you money over time on your energy bills.

#7 Extra secure

Security is clearly a major consideration for any homeowner choosing replacement windows. So, it’s understandable that you would consider this before committing to your new windows.

But there are reasons you can have confidence in the security of uPVC sash windows, including their use of the latest technology and locking mechanisms.

Equally, you use sash window stops to prevent them from opening fully but enough to let in a breeze without risking a child or vulnerable person falling out.

And, of course, you could add double or even triple glazing to heighten security and energy efficiency, while also minimising noise pollution.

#8 Extremely weather-resistant

uPVC sash models, like all replacement windows in the UK, need to handle the worst of the ever-changing British weather, including rain, hail, sleet, snow, wind and, in coastal areas, salt. Unlike wooden versions, uPVC sashes won’t warp, peel or flake. They can resist something we’re increasingly having to get used to in this country – conditions of extreme heat.

#9 Reduced noise pollution

Whether you have loud neighbours, live under a flight path or busy traffic, noise can seriously threaten the quiet enjoyment of your home. uPVC as a material has better noise-cancelling properties than timber. And, as mentioned above, double or triple glazing helps create an excellent solution to combatting noise pollution.

We supply and install uPVC sash windows

At R&M Windows, we offer sash windows along with a number of other home improvements, from front and patio doors to conservatories.

We’re based in Bracknell, but also cover nearby areas and towns in Berkshire, including Wokingham, Windsor, Maidenhead and Ascot. Get in touch today to learn more about our high-quality uPVC sash windows – and what they could do for your property.


The Benefits of Adding a Porch To Your Home

Clients who are considering this enhancement often ask us about the benefits of adding a porch to their home. It’s true that a porch isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind when you think about home improvements. But they remain popular property additions and, here at R&M, we have a considerable number of customers who are either clear they want one of these structures, or are keen to find out more. Here, we give an overview of the benefits you can look forward to if you’re thinking about having one installed.

What is a porch?

Porches are typically fitted to the front of a building, covering the main entrance of a house. They’re sheltered entryways projecting out from the main house; usually one-storey structures, they also tend to be enclosed but can also be open. Generally speaking, they have a stone or brick base, with windows on one or two sides, plus a door. Even if they have an open front (i.e. side walls and a roof cover only), you still enjoy a degree of protection from the elements.

Clearly, these home improvements are popular due to their multiple benefits, as well as the elegant architectural feature they provide. Add a porch to your home and you’ll have numerous choices for making it your own in terms of styles and building materials – a further factor behind their popularity.

In fact, porches suit a myriad of different property types but are especially appropriate for period homes, no matter the era they date from.

What’s more, in most cases you won’t need planning permission provided your porch meets certain criteria, although different rules will apply if you’re lucky enough to live in a listed building.

Benefits of adding a porch

So a porch can do a great deal for your home in terms of convenience and the property’s overall appearance, while having numerous other advantages. Here, we list some of them:

Adds character to a property

Adding a porch, especially an open one, can add a lot of character to your home, whether it is a period structure or has been built more recently. They can enhance your home’s appearance and give it some added personality with a unique feel.

An enclosed porch gives you more storage space

An enclosed porch gives your home some much-needed extra storage space. Use it to store heavy coats, muddy shoes and boots, umbrellas, buggies and more, especially if you live in a large family or busy household.

If your front door gives directly on to a lounge or kitchen, a porch offers a useful buffer space between these living areas and the outdoors.

An open porch keeps you dry when searching for keys

We’ve all stood in the rain dripping in the doorway while we fumble for our keys. So this is one benefit of having a porch that you may not previously have appreciated. These structures provide dry spots while you search for your keys before heading inside.

Increases the value of your home

Adding a porch can add to the value of your home, since it lends it greater character as well as generally making life more convenient. This is especially true of a well-designed enclosed porch, which also provides sought-after extra storage space.

Improves the look of your home

As mentioned above, adding a porch will improve the look of your home, and can make your entrance look more inviting. It’s part of what estate agents like to call ‘kerb appeal’ and is one of the first things anyone will see on arrival at your property. So a porch contributes to that all-important first impression someone has of your home.

Added security

An enclosed porch in particular can enhance the security of your home, providing an extra barrier in the form of an additional front door, which can deter burglars. After all, most would-be intruders will be opportunists who don’t want to have to work too hard to break in somewhere.

With a porch, you effectively double the protection your front entrance offers, since it means you have two doorways to get through before you can enter the property. Both doorways can be made from hardwearing uPVC, and incorporate robust locking systems.

What’s more, with porches featuring glazing including side windows, you’ll be able to see who’s outside before you let them in.

Increased energy efficiency

Again, in the case of an enclosed porch in particular, they can make your home more energy-efficient, conserving heat in the winter and reducing heating bills at a time when these costs are soaring. At the same time, they can keep your home cooler in the summer, preventing heat from coming directly into your home. Remember to close your porch door behind you before opening the second front door, to maximise how much heat you save.

A better light flow into your home

Many porches have a lot of glazing so natural daylight floods in and blurring the barriers between being inside and outdoors. If your front door is also amply glazed, you can maximise the additional light flow.

Looking to add a porch to your home?

If you’re looking for a new porch, R&M Windows can advise on the best options to suit your home, whatever its style and size, as well as on whether you will need planning permission (in most cases you won’t).

Don’t forget that we also offer a range of other home improvements including double glazing, front and patio doors as well as conservatories to customers in Bracknell and from across many of the surrounding areas in Berkshire, from Ascot to Windsor, Maidenhead and Wokingham.

Get in touch today to find out more.


What Are The Main Benefits Of French Doors?

One popular way to enhance your property is the addition of French doors. Here at R&M, people often ask us about the perceived benefits of this type of patio door and whether they’re really worth investing in for a home.

Over the last two or three years, against the background of the pandemic, more of us have been looking to improve our homes. Equally, the amount we’re spending on home renovations has surged by over a third (36%) to a median of £15,000 during the year to October 2021, according to a report by Houzz & Home. This is probably unsurprising given that we all had to spend far more time at home than we would usually during the long months of lockdown.

The reality is that French doors can make a significant difference to your living space while boosting what estate agents often call ‘kerb appeal’, which refers to how attractive, or otherwise, a house is when seen from the street, particularly within the context of selling a property.

Here, we take a closer look at what French doors specifically are, and the advantages of investing in them.

What Are French Doors?

The current market offers French doors in myriad different sizes and styles and in many varied materials. And although they’re not the same as sliding patio doors, they’re a popular way of accessing outdoor areas like gardens and patios.

French doors are generally of a fairly light construction, with glazed panels along most of their length. Typically, they’re fitted singly, and they work very similarly to French windows.

The style originated in France in the 1700s and 1800s as a way of introducing light, vital given that this was before the advent of electric illumination, but also a sense of regularity and proportion to a room. French doors were also in keeping with the Renaissance notions of architecture that were popular at that time. They started to appear in the UK from the seventeenth century onwards.

French doors open outwards to create a full opening, and can also feature side panels of glass, which let in additional light and work well for larger spaces. Typically, uPVC or aluminium is used in their construction. Many high-end uPVC models feature a woodgrain finish and are virtually indistinguishable from timber doors, but with numerous extra benefits which make them more robust and longer-lasting than wooden alternatives.

The Key Benefits Of Investing In French Doors

There are many reasons why we’d always say that French doors have benefits which make them a worthwhile investment for your home, including:

#1 They work well in smaller spaces

If the space you have for patio doors is limited, French doors work excellently as an alternative, since they have very slim profiles and don’t take up much space, making them a great choice if you’re keen to transform a living room or kitchen that previously had a smaller back door, or to replace smaller windows.

#2 French doors make excellent replacement windows

French doors make ideal replacement windows if you don’t have any patio doors at all at the moment, or just have a single back door opening from your kitchen.

You could well be amazed (and in a good way!) by just how transformative replacing a small window with a pair of French doors can be.

If you have larger windows or several small windows you want to replace, French doors with side panels may be more suitable, or you could consider having a set of sliding or bi-folding doors instead.

#3 French doors improve the flow from living spaces to the garden

These models can drastically improve the flow in your home and connect the interior space to the garden, breaking down the barriers between the inside and outside worlds.

#4 Help shape a view and let the light in

Even a small pair of French doors can really help to accentuate the best aspects of your garden, especially if you’re replacing a panelled back door or a small window. The floor-to-ceiling glass panels which are typical of French doors also help to give a stunning view across the garden.

#5 Safe and secure

Modern versions of French doors are incredibly safe and secure, with advanced locking mechanisms and extra-strong frames, so they make a highly reliable choice of backdoor.

#6 A boost to property equity

A new set of French doors can substantially increase both ‘kerb appeal’ and, often, actual property value, especially if they bring in more natural light than you had previously, or you’re replacing a window.

#7 Stylish

French doors are invariably smart-looking and elegant. They can be made in many different colours to match your home and they can also be finished in a highly realistic woodgrain look for added class and style.

#8 Versatile

French doors are highly versatile and so suit properties from all periods. What’s more, they can be styled with panelling, Georgian bars, side panels and hardware including handles to match your home, whatever its style. Equally, they’re a distinctly desirable feature for larger and smaller homes alike.

#9 They can be triple-glazed

If noise pollution is a concern, either because you live near a busy main road or experience heavy traffic noise, or have the misfortune to have noisy neighbours, French doors can be triple-glazed to give extra soundproofing qualities.

Looking For a French Doors Company?

If you’re looking for a French doors company, we at R&M install and supply a superb range of models from top supplier Platinum NRG whilst we also offer beautiful French windows to match. We’re Bracknell-based but cover nearby towns in Berkshire, including Ascot, Maidenhead, Windsor and Wokingham. Get in touch today to learn more.





What’s The Difference Between Orangeries & Conservatories?

Of all the questions that people looking to extend their home put to us, perhaps the most popular concerns the difference between an orangery and a conservatory, and we’re asked about this very often.

It’s understandable that the two home improvements are frequently confused, since both are popular types of home extensions. Yet there are some key differences between them, which we’ll outline in this article. First, let’s look at what each one actually is.

What Is An Orangery?

An orangery is usually described as a structure with large glazed doors and windows and brick pillars, plus a flat roof with a glass lantern. The base is typically made from brick, while the roof is generally more than 75% glass.

These structures first became popular in the seventeenth century, first emerging in countries including France, Germany and Holland. But they originated in Italian Renaissance gardens, as glass-making technology developed to allow large enough glazed areas to be made en masse.

In England, these traditionally south-facing constructions were generally built on grand properties, and used to protect orange and other fruit trees from the severest winter weather. Among the wealthy elite, orangeries became status symbols rather than merely a functional home extension.

Today, you can choose a classic-style or a more modern orangery, with contemporary versions tending to incorporate more glass and thinner brick pillars into the structure, or window and door frames and columns may be made from a modern material such as aluminium. Orangeries can add a touch of present-day glamour to your home – and are ideal if you’re looking for a dash of extra style or perhaps to match the pillars with your window frames.

What Is A Conservatory?

A conservatory is typically a fully glazed structure with a low brick base and a roof comprising more than 75% glass with walls which are a minimum of 50% glazed. These structures are built against the wall of a house, with a closing door and window and a separate heat source from the main building.

There is a grander look to orangeries, which incorporate brick or aluminum areas plus a brick base and a smaller glazed area.

Conservatories grew in popularity in the nineteenth century, but really took off from the 1970s and early 1980s onwards as they became accessible to homeowners in greater numbers with the development of uPVC frames.

The Key Differences Between Orangeries & Conservatories

While both building types clearly have a lot in common, and the differences between the two can be very subtle, there are nonetheless some key elements which set the two apart. These include:

  • The prevalence of brick in orangeries, while conservatories have greater glazed surface areas
  • An orangery is more closely associated with elegance and grandeur, so is typically more suited to period or bigger, ‘grander’ properties
  • Given its greater glazed surface area, a conservatory blurs the boundaries with the outside world more. While an orangery also lets natural light in, it can feel more like an extension due to the brick panels incorporated within the overall structure.

Differences In Performance Between Orangeries & Conservatories

Both of these home improvements perform well, not least with the advances in modern glazing in recent years. Nonetheless, there are some slight differences, such as:

  • A conservatory is harder to keep consistently warm in the winter and cooler in the summer, which is down to the extra glass involved – although modern technology tends to make this less of an issue
  • For its part, an orangery offers better insulation against whatever the British weather throws at it, being cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, due to its brick-based construction
  • An orangery also provides better insulation against intrusive noise than a conservatory, which has bigger glazed panels
  • When it comes to security performance, both do well, thanks to modern lock and safety technology
  • An orangery will typically be slightly more energy efficient due to its better climate-control features, potentially resulting in a better energy efficiency rating

Which Will Add More Value To A Property – A Conservatory Or An Orangery?

Both types of home extension can significantly add value to your home and provide what estate agents call ‘kerb appeal’, or the attractiveness of a property and its surroundings when seen from the street.

A conservatory adds on average between 5% and 12% to the value of a property. For an orangery, the value can be as much as for a full home extension, or from 5% and up to 15%.

Think carefully about the type of property you own before you settle on a conservatory or orangery. If you go for something which doesn’t really complement your particular home and its specific features, kerb appeal and/or value can sometimes be lost.

Which Would Be More Suitable For Me?

Orangeries tend to suit traditional homes which have a particular charm or unique design.

It’s also important to consider whether your home improvement will be at the expense of any precious garden space, especially if potentially selling up or adding value to the place are particular priorities, since losing garden space can cancel out any value an orangery or conservatory may add to your home. Conservatories generally offer a more contemporary style, with their fully glazed designs.

Meanwhile, orangeries are probably your best bet if you aim to create a permanent space.

In truth, it’s a highly personal decision and will depend on your current property, your budget, what you want to use the home improvement for, and how important it is to you to flood the space with natural daylight.

Looking To Extend Your Home?

If you’re looking to extend your property with a new conservatory or orangery, we at R&M Windows have a stunning selection of extensions from which you can take your pick. Based in Bracknell, we also cover other areas near us in Berkshire, including Maidenhead, Ascot, Windsor and Wokingham. Get in touch with us today for a no-charge, no-obligation chat – we never give anyone the hard sell. We’ll be happy to chat through some options, and can offer expert advice.


Bi-Folding vs. Sliding Doors – The Pros And Cons

When considering bi-folding doors vs. sliding patio doors, the first thing to say is that each type of door is hugely popular. Bi-folding or sliding doors are also a great addition if you’re building a conservatory or extension in a bid to let more natural light into your home.

People often ask us about the differences between the two, so in this blog, we’re comparing them both to help you make an informed decision for your own home.

Why are bi-fold and sliding doors so popular?

It’s not hard to see why both sliding and bi-folding doors are so sought after, since both offer excellent ways of merging the inside and outside worlds of your home and garden, flooding your space with natural daylight and framing the view of your garden or other scenic outside area.

They are also great options if you’re replacing a window with patio doors and have sizeable wall space on either side or if you want to replace two smaller windows to create a single bigger opening.

Sometimes bi-fold or sliding doors are also used to replace French doors.

Excellent extensions

If you’re planning an extension for your property, you’ll probably design a space with more room for wider doors than you previously had. This makes sliding patio doors or bi-folding doors the ideal choice for opening up this space and creating a better transition into the garden and your outdoor seating or dining area.

What are bi-folding doors?

Bi-fold doors are constructed from a series of folding panels which concertina up against the wall, opening up all the available space in a way that standard single-leaf doors don’t. Typically, these models are built from either uPVC or aluminium.

What are sliding doors?

Sliding patio doors are usually made up of two large sliding panels, one fixed while the other slides open. In some instances, where there are particularly large openings, there is the option to have a single or double fixed panel in the middle, with a sliding panel either side.

Just like their bi-folding counterparts, sliding patio doors are also made from either uPVC or aluminium.

Comparing bifold and sliding patio doors

At R&M, people often ask us about the main differences between bifold and sliding patio doors. While these models share some similarities, each type also has distinguishing features, and these will help you decide which is more suitable for what you need for your property.

#1 Aesthetics – which looks better?

In truth, both of these kinds of doors can look very stylish and suit a broad range of homes. That includes period or more traditional-looking dwellings.

Bi-folding doors will display a greater frame area since they’re made up of a greater number of smaller panels than their sliding counterparts. So if you want to maximise your view of the outside world by minimising the frame area whilst the doors are closed, then sliding doors are probably the better choice.

#2 Opening space

Both types of doors offer a considerable amount of space on opening, but here bi-fold doors may just pip sliding ones at the post, since they open fully, look superb and when opened up, seriously help break the barriers down between the inside and outside worlds.

With sliding patio doors, there is a single fixed panel, so that they usually open up halfway or possibly slightly more, but never 100%.

#3 Which type is more user-friendly?

Ease of use of doors may well be another consideration for your household. Sliding patio doors are actually easier to operate since you just slide them open and closed.

For their part, with bi-fold models, you need to go through a few more steps to open and close them. When it comes to locking them, all of the locking points of each panel (sometimes as many as seven or more panels) must be engaged. This means that, when comparing bi-fold and sliding patio doors, bear in mind that bi-folding models take slightly longer to open and close, lock and unlock.

#4 Affordability

When it comes to the affordability aspect of bi-folding doors vs. sliding patio doors, you’ll find that bi-folding doors are the more expensive option. That’s because bi-folding doors require a large frame area and more locking mechanisms (for each panel). Sliding patio doors require less framing and locking mechanisms as it tends to be just one opening part.

#5 Maintenance

The good news is that both sliding patio doors and bi-fold doors are pretty low-maintenance. Since both are made from weather-resistant uPVC or aluminium, neither requires much upkeep beyond a quick, regular wipe-down with a damp cloth. However, if forced to choose, we’d probably say sliding doors need slightly less TLC, given that they tend to have fewer frames, locks and panels to worry about.

#6 Soundproofing

Both bi-folding and sliding patio doors come with double glazing as standard. However, there are options for triple-glazing and even acoustic glazing if you really want to reduce noise pollution. Acoustic glass is particularly beneficial if you live in a built-up area, under a flight path or have noisy neighbours.

#7 Security

The good news when comparing bi-folding doors with sliding patio doors is that both provide a high degree of security thanks to their locking systems, secure glazing and strong frames.

Energy efficiency

Our Aluminium bi-folding doors are the only ones on the market today that meet the new building regulations for thermal efficiency. Our sliding patio doors are also A-Rated! So whichever you choose, you can be sure you’re getting the best energy rating on the market!

Looking for new patio doors?

At Bracknell-based R&M Windows, we supply a broad range of replacement doors and windows across our local area, including in Ascot, Wokingham, Maidenhead and Windsor. We sell and install both sliding patio and bi-folding doors, alongside a number of other home improvements, from front doors to conservatories and orangeries.

We won’t give you the hard sell. Get in touch today for an informal, no-obligation consultation.


uPVC vs. Composite Doors – Which is Best?

Customers often ask us about the various pros and cons of composite doors vs. uPVC doors; not least because when you’re choosing a front door it can be difficult to fully appreciate the differences between the two.
While both uPVC and composite doors remain a popular front door choice, composite doors have now rapidly overtaken their uPVC counterparts in popularity. We’ll assess the reasons for that in this article.

Visitors to your home can get a first impression of your personality just from your front door. It’s a focal point for all other exterior décor, whether you live in a modern dwelling or a period property. That means that choosing the right front door is key to preserving or enhancing your home’s individual style and character.

What Is A uPVC Door?

uPVC doors became increasingly common in UK households throughout the 1990s as a timber replacement. Put simply, a uPVC front door is constructed with a fully insulated panel and steel frame at its core. This is then encased in Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride to create a strong, durable product. uPVC doors are more hardwearing than the timber alternatives and shrug off the worst that the British weather throws at them. However, their plastic appearance and feel tend to give an outdated look.
In recent years, composite doors have overtaken uPVC models in the popularity stakes. That said, the latter remains a popular option for products such as patio, French and sliding doors.

What Are Composite Doors?

As mentioned, these models have grown considerably in popularity in recent years and are now overtaking uPVC as the most popular type of front door. They’re a more realistic, alternative to timber versions when compared to those made from uPVC.

Composite designs combine a classic look with the best of modern technology. They typically feature a solid timber core, surrounded by other materials such as uPVC, laminate or fibreglass, depending on the specific range of composite doors. These are available in an array of different colours so you can add a little of your own personality.

How do composite and uPVC doors compare?

To help you decide on the best front door for your home, we’ll take a look at the various features of both composite and uPVC models.

#1 Security

Both uPVC and Composite front doors are highly secure and carry the “Secured by Design” status. With hook bolts (a claw-like locking system), at the top, centre and bottom of the doors, these doors can deter entry by force and stop attempts to lever the door apart!

However, the structure and enhanced features of composite doors mean they provide an enhanced level of security and are a more solid choice compared with uPVC options.

#2 Thermal efficiency

Similarly, both composite and uPVC perform well when it comes to thermal efficiency, especially when you compare them with their timber counterparts. However, once again composite front doors typically have the edge. This is due to their extra density and thickness, so they are the obvious choice if you’re keen to reduce both your carbon footprint and heating bills, while also keeping chilly draughts at bay.

#3 Maintenance

Both uPVC and composite doors are very low maintenance, with neither type requiring more ongoing upkeep than the occasional wipe-down to stay looking as good as new. So if you’re considering upgrading a traditional wooden model which typically needs a lot more time and care, you will find both uPVC and composite options hassle-free in terms of maintenance.

#4 Design and Style Options

When it comes to style and design, composite doors definitely have the advantage. uPVC front doors come in a range of varied styles, so they can still enhance the appearance of your home. However, for the most part, they are white, with a coating that’s typically a standard plastic or uPVC untextured surface.

Composite models feature a high-quality, laminated, woodgrain effect finish that is almost indistinguishable from genuine timber, giving your home a far more elegant look.

Additionally, if you choose a composite front door, you’ll find a greater variety of available styles and colours to match everything from the latest new build to a traditional property. If you’re lucky enough to own a period property, composite doors are the superior choice when it comes to retaining or enhancing period character, or if you are replacing a timber front door.

#5 Affordability

You’ll find composite and uPVC doors do have different price tags, with the former typically costing more. However, choose a composite front door and you can look forward to many more benefits, from higher thermal efficiency to a longer-lasting, better-looking door. Plus superior security.

So if you have the budget to do so, fitting composite doors is always worthwhile. However, if you are improving your home on a more limited budget and need to replace your front door, you should find uPVC a perfectly suitable choice.

#5 House Value

There’s never any cast-iron guarantee that any home improvement will actually raise the value of your property. However, if you’re thinking about selling up, and your budget allows, then composite doors will certainly help enhance that all-important first impression and make your home appear more desirable. So consider joining the numerous homeowners who are now replacing their uPVC doors with composite versions.

Looking For a New Composite or uPVC Front Door?

At R&M Windows, we’ve been installing front doors for more than three decades, and we make sure we keep across all the latest industry innovations. We offer both composite and uPVC front doors to customers in our home town of Bracknell as well as the surrounding areas in Berkshire, from Windsor to Ascot, Maidenhead and Wokingham. If you’re looking for a complete renovation of your home, we also fit a great line-up of windows, patio doors and conservatories.

Get in touch today for an informal chat and a no-obligation quote. We don’t give anyone the hard sell, so you’ll never feel pressurised into anything.


Was Your Home Thermally Efficient This Winter?

March is here, the weather is still miserable but spring is very much on the horizon.

Over the winter months, with the heating turned up, energy bills rising and cold in the air, you may have felt less inclined to open windows and let fresh air circulate your home. You’re not alone.

It’s perhaps not surprising that, that over the winter, we tend to see an increase in the number of calls and emails concerning condensation. This usually starts in October when we can advise how to deal with the issue of condensation. However, now we’re in March, we have the repercussions of not dealing with this condensation earlier.

What is it?

Condensation refers to the drops of moisture which collect on cold surfaces. This occurs when the warm air in your home, collides with these cooler surfaces. Where this collects, this can then cause issues with rot or mould which presents potential health risks.

We’re all told we need to make our homes more thermally efficient by adding insulation and double glazing. What we’re not told is the impact this has with regards to condensation. Homes that are less thermally efficient allow air to flow in and out of the property with ease. Therefore the condensation can escape. With thermally efficient homes, this moisture in the air cannot escape, and therefore collects in the coldest parts of the room.

So what can you do about it?

  • Poor ventilation is a key cause of condensation so it’s important to open windows where you can. It may also be of benefit and to add window vents to the top of frames which can really help. However, you do need to balance that against the loss of heat from your home.
  • Bathroom and kitchen extractor fans will also reduce moisture, as will a dehumidifier, especially if you dry clothes indoors. Ideally your tumble dryer should have an external vent.
  • In the winter months, it’s important to keep your home sufficiently heated. Changes in temperature can worsen condensation issues.
  • Consistent insulation, such as that provided by cavity wall and loft insulation, or having specialist materials fitted outside your house (cladding), can help, too.
  • Single glazing will mean your home will be colder inside, which doesn’t help issues with condensation. It may be time to consider double glazing instead.

Prevention is better than cure

Preventing condensation is preferable to trying to cure it. One of the best ways of doing this is with replacement windows.

The average UK home loses 25%-30% of its heat through its windows, so installing energy-efficient windows really helps bring your energy bills down, while also making your home a more comfortable place to live in.

Give the idea some serious thought, especially if the issue is with condensation between the two panes of glass on double-glazed windows.

At R&M Windows, we have a wide variety of replacement windows to suit all styles of property, and with double and triple-glazing options. Get in touch today for an initial, hassle-free and no-obligation consultation.



Moving not improving? Join the club …

It’s now two years on from the first Covid-19 lockdown and our lives have changed in numerous ways; among them is our choice of living arrangements.

It’s true that the long months of lockdown sparked huge interest in moving house, especially initially. However, now that the stamp duty ‘holiday’ is long gone, the amount of houses hitting the market has reduced dramatically, forcing prices even higher due to low availability vs. high demand.

If you’re becoming increasingly aware of the need to revaluate and enhance where you live, and enjoy more room without the upheaval and expense of moving home, you’re not alone. The ‘improving not moving’ trend was initially sparked by historically low mortgage rates and an increase in household savings while the pandemic halted spending on socialising and holidays. Now, due to the uncertainty in costs of living and the possible rise in interest rates, we’re seeing further continuation of the ‘improving not moving’ trend.

One consulting firm reported this summer that there was no significant rise in numbers returning to offices since lockdown eased with ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19. So it seems that many are still looking to base themselves from home, and want to do so comfortably, with enough dedicated working space.

Industry websites are also reporting a home improvement boom, with one portal claiming over 50% more jobs had already been posted this year compared with 2019. At the same time, mortgage brokers are seeing increased applications for re-mortgages to fund projects.

Mark Page, who runs the sales side of R&M Windows, says: “We’ve seen a massive change in people’s requirements over the last year or so. We know that many customers want to improve the space and lighting in their homes by adding bi-folding doors, extensions with lantern roofs and replacement conservatories to create home offices or better living spaces.”

Talk to us

One consumer advisor told a national newspaper: “Because builders are in such high demand, they’re now in a far stronger position to make what might previously have seemed like unreasonable demands on price or the terms and conditions of the contract. There is some protection against unreasonable terms, but upping prices isn’t one.”

Meanwhile the Federation of Master Builders has said that some small, local builders are struggling to find skilled tradespeople.

­But at R& M Windows, we’re different. We’re a locally based, family-focused firm with access to all the skills and materials we need to do an impeccable job, every time. And we’re not increasing our prices just because our services are in high demand at the moment – we offer consistently great value for money.

Whether you want top-of-the-range doors or windows, or a replacement or new conservatory, make us your first port of call. And if now isn’t the right time for you to move, you’ll be adding value to your property for if and when you do want to sell.

What’s more, we don’t pressurise people into agreeing to a sale. (Frankly, we never need to, since numerous personal recommendations keep us busy). We’re simply here to help as and when people need us. So get in touch and book your initial consultation today – with no charge and no obligation to proceed.