Gone are the days when a window was something that we needed to paint every year (then scrape the paint off the glass with a blade) and then would eventually rot anyway!
Now windows come in many shapes, sizes, colours, materials and u-values. Whereas the windows of old were often build of softwood (which eventually rots in wet weather) modern windows are built using PVC, aluminium or hardwood timber (which is similar to the timber used in building boats). These materials allow windows to stand the test of time and maintenance is either drastically reduced or indeed almost eliminated (a watchful eye should be kept on any building to keep an eye out for ware and tear/storm damage)
Different windows perform differently. A U-Value is a measurement of how well your new window will keep heat in. The lower the u-value the better. As building regulations change u-value requirement will no doubt become more stringent, though they are at a low level now so it remains to see how much lower they will go.
PVC windows are the entry level window of today with aluminium, Aluclad (timber with metal facing) and modern hardwood being considerably more expensive. Some of the PVC windows can be cheap looking and indeed Planners often look for a non white PVC or even non PVC to be used. I have found that a higher grade PVC with an interesting colour (not charcoal grey, black or green!!) can have the desired effect, if budget allows.
PVC doors though durable and secure can detract from the look of a house. A timber front door or aluminium slider with the remaining windows in a similar coloured PVC can provide a great suite of windows and doors whilst driving value and providing the quality touch points for the elements you and your guests will use most.
Remember the choice of windows and doors is one of the most important decisions for your new home and will set out much of the character of your new home so go to the showrooms, ensure your are happy with the look, feel, security and performance of your new system.