What are the best windows for coastal locations

Photo of author

Nick Dardalis

Updated on

What are the best windows for coastal locations? It depends on how the windows are coated, the hardware provided to them and, importantly, the installer you’re working with and what experience they have. Any windows and doors in aluminium will work in coastal locations, but you will need to upgrade their specification in some way.

Why choosing the best windows for coastal locations matters

best windows for coastal locations showing modern aluminium windows in a house

Any property on a coastal, exposed, or high-level setting is subjected to the extremes of the British weather.  These areas tend to be wetter, windier and much harsher than towns and cities. Not only does the exterior of the property get a battering, but so do the windows and doors.

The best windows for coastal locations should be those providing a more durable paint finish such as a marine grade powder coating. Other window products chosen carefully with a professional supplier may come with more durable and corrosion-resistant screws and fittings.

In this article, we provide some tips, advice and a bit of insider knowledge in what you should know about the best windows for coastal locations. This also includes doors, sliding and bifolding doors in these locations too.

What is a severe environment for windows and doors?

Powder manufacturers set guidelines as to what constitutes a severe environment. Examples are city centres, industrial sites, swimming pool environments and coastal locations. As one example Akzo Nobel, leading colour powder manufacturers, say:

A marine environment is any location within 5,000 metres of a coastal shoreline and may also include areas such as estuaries and tidal rivers. A Coastal environment is determined as one that is within 5KM from any coast or estuary.

An industrial environment is any location within 5,000 meters of a source of solid, liquid or gaseous airborne pollution that may cause the degrading of the powder coating.

All powder coatings are required to meet industry standards.  These are currently BS EN 12206-1:2004.  Powder coating firms may also be Qualicoat Approved. This standard asks for the paint film thickness to be no less than 40 microns and on average no less than 50 microns.

Where windows are to be fitted in marine or industrial environments, guidelines generally state that aluminium components should have a minimum film thickness of 70 microns on all significant surfaces.

Every manufacturer of polyester powder sets out different criteria for the quality of the paint finish in these situations. Syntha Pulvin is another global company making powders. They state that aluminium should be coated to 60 Microns, that only Matt or Metallic matt finishes are used, joints are sealed with an approved mastic and there should be no exposed metal edges. This logically leads to another issue with windows for marine, coastal or swimming pool environments – how they are made.

About polyester powder coated windows and doors.

Polyester powder coating is the most common method of colouring and protecting aluminium. The companies specialising in the powder coating of aluminium extrusions are approved, accredited and inspected by professional organisations that monitor and quality control this particular sector.

All these expert finishing companies pre-treat and paint their windows to British and European standards and work very closely with the global businesses that manufacture the polyester powder itself. The major manufacturers of polyester powder are Valspar, Syntha Pulvin, Axalta, Interpon, IGP and Tiger.

In general terms, the best windows for coastal locations are expertly painted by very experienced companies that specialise in colouring and protecting aluminium and steel for construction, not just windows and doors.

In most cases, standard powder coated aluminium door or window will come with the following paint guarantee:

  • Matt finishes 25 years
  • Gloss finishes 10-15 years.

These guarantees are on the paint finish only and not on the overall window, operation, or installation. They may vary depending on the colour of the window, the make of the powder used to coat it, the applicator and other factors. That said, these guarantees are perfectly acceptable in the door and window industry and have been in place for over three decades

Where windows are likely to be fitted in more severe environments, a more specific paint application may be required and, consequently, a longer paint guarantee. This is because paint finishes can suffer from being ‘exposed’. While a powder-coated window is protected as standard there may be situations where the normal finish is unacceptable and may fail over time because of its location.

Marine-grade aluminium vs a fully insured finish

Some manufacturers of aluminium windows and front doors market their products as having a marine-grade finish. Marine grade might be the same thickness as an insured paint finish, but it doesn’t have the full coastal guarantee.

Getting a fully insured finish is a more complex process involving your installer, the manufacturer of your windows, and the company painting the aluminium bars.

The process is done by your installer or their manufacturer submitting a marine guarantee request form to the company painting the aluminium profiles. This form details your location, distance from the sea and some other information about the installation. Only the powder coater offers a warranty, subject to a specific cleaning and maintenance routine. It is also worth asking about the type of fixings they provide to the door components where screws, rivets etc are used as these usually need to be a higher grade metal, as do the door handles.

Download the form from the link above to see just how complex the questions are. It’s highly unlikely your regular installer will ask these questions about the location of your windows.

  • The decision to provide a marine warranty rests with the powder coater and nobody else.
  • There is no certainty that a marine paint guarantee it will be provided just because of the coastal location. These warranties have to be applied for on an individual basis.
  • If a warranty is to be issued it will come with conditions such as cleaning schedules.
  • Some RAL, Syntha Pulvin or BS colours cannot be given with a warranty.

In very broad terms a door with a marine warranty has a thicker coating of paint, sealed window joints and will be required to be cleaned more often.

Generally speaking, marine and coastal areas are those within 5km of an estuary or saltwater location. A more detailed cleaning method will be required if your doors are between 1/2km and 2km from the coast. You’ll get a reduced warranty for windows and doors that are 1/2km or less from the coast at best. At worst, you will be refused one.

What’s best? Marine-grade or a marine warranty?

Architects working on buildings in coastal locations usually request a fully insured marine warranty. The residential home improvement market may differ, so it’s important to work with a professional installer who understands the difference between marine-grade and marine warranty. It could well be that your installer will choose to offer a guarantee regardless. Alternatively, their terms and conditions may have specific clauses regarding your windows.

If you want to do things the right way, then a marine warranty is the best way to go for absolute peace of mind. Otherwise, ask your installer specifically how you’re covered with your windows and doors.

Commercial window installers know special paint guarantees for their projects and already factor this into their building design and costings. For the grassroots installer, fitting normally painted windows may be sufficient. Your mileage may vary!

Why you need to clean your windows in coastal locations more frequently.

Whether you go with a marine-grade powder coating or a fully insured marine/industrial guarantee, one thing you will need to do far more frequently if you live by the sea, is clean your window frames.

If anyone has to claim under the marine warranty, the powder coater will always want to see documented proof of a routine cleaning and maintenance schedule. Cleaning your windows and doors frequently protects the best windows for coastal locations.

Do windows in coastal locations need to be made differently?

Even the best windows for coastal locations may need a slightly different method of manufacturing to quality for the guarantee.

Aluminium is powder coated in bar lengths.  It is painted first, then cut to the required size for making the windows and the doors.  It is, therefore, logical that when a saw cuts the painted aluminium bar, it not only leaves exposed edges, but a badly maintained saw and blade can also chip the paint itself.

This might be invisible to the naked eye in most cases, but it does happen. When the two corners of the window are put together there is a risk after they’re installed, that pollutants can get under the paint finish and corrode the paint and the aluminium beneath.

The proper sealing of window joints is a prerequisite with virtually all modern aluminium windows. Where windows are to be fitted in exposed locations it may be necessary to ensure that window joints are sealed with an approved mastic or small gap sealant. Failure to do this can result in the paint finish getting damaged and causing damage to the aluminium window as well. This does not apply to every window. Again working with a professional installer will give you the right answers.

How to get the best windows for coastal locations

So as you can see, many factors are involved in ensuring that the paint finish on aluminium windows is protected and to help ensure a good lifespan for the windows. This is because aluminium powder-coated windows are affected simply by being outside. Abrasion, Salt, Pollutants and Contaminants can all affect the paint finish.

You may be fine with standard coatings; many coastal installations still use standard windows. A marine guarantee provides the most peace of mind. A simple marine-grade coating isn’t the full package.

Find a good installer expert in fitting the best windows for coastal locations. This is the best way of getting the correct advice.

Ask about the quality of handles, screws, external door handles and fixings provided.

Some installers may tell you an insured finish isn’t required. Check your terms and conditions and exactly how your windows are covered during their warranty period.

Providing expert help to homeowners and trade professionals since 2010




Get Free help finding the right products from the best suppliers

16:42 30 Oct 23
Nick responded incredibly quickly to my enquiry (on a Saturday too!), and was able to offer invaluable advice on both aluminum systems and manufacturer / suppliers. Thanks Nick!
chris steerchris steer
16:18 09 Oct 23
Had a meeting with Nick during the grand designs show. Was extremely helpful and professional would highly recommend
Chris WesthorpChris Westhorp
19:55 13 Sep 23
Extremely helpful with pointing us in the right direction to find the products we required and suggesting firms that could reliably fit them.Nick was quick to reply and very detailed in his advice.Highly recommend reaching out to them.
Cathy GreenwoodCathy Greenwood
07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
Anthony CraigAnthony Craig
12:45 05 Sep 23
This is a must site for anyone looking for advice. Great service and very quick answers to questions. Nick has been of great help quiding us through the maze of aluminium products. Thank you
Philip DuffieldPhilip Duffield
20:24 26 Jul 23
I contacted Nick @ ATS for guidance on what aluminium sliding door systems would be suitable for an opening in an extension that is going to be both wide and tall. He came back really quickly with very detailed and incredibly helpful advice. He is clearly extremely knowledgeable about the systems on the market and their respective features and capabilities. If you’re feeling a bit lost by the overwhelming range of choices out there, I’d definitely recommend contacting him.
Dariush HekmatDariush Hekmat
17:25 19 Jul 23
Nick's advice is great. He is always quick to respond and spends time on responses, which really help to make an informed decision.
Alan FosterAlan Foster
07:51 12 Jul 23
Absolutely fantastic. Asked for advice about replacing Crittall (?) windows late last night and early this morning received 3 great suggestions and contact information for suppliers
Rachel LauRachel Lau
09:24 16 Jun 23
Fantastic website full of valuable and pragmatic advice about product selection and comparison: no other website gives information like this. Truly written for public interest. Don't hesistate to reach out to Nick via the mailing system. He responds very quickly, is friendly, and has very sound and high knowledgable advice. I have already shared this with my friend planning her own grand design.
guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
I emailed this company just on the off chance they could help me with new magnetic sliders for my patio door. They were not able to supply those but were so very helpful providing me with the name of a company who could. I am so very grateful at the great service. Dare say customers must be very happy. thank you so much.
Benjamin LewisBenjamin Lewis
10:06 04 May 23
Nick is very helpful indeed. Extremely knowledgeable on bifolds which was in relation to my query. Great website as well, some very useful articles. Particularly appreciated the article that lists all the major bifold options in order of their sightlines! Thank you!
P JonesP Jones
08:07 15 Apr 23
I asked Nick some questions about an installation we were considering and he replied within hours with some very useful suggestions that will probably lead us to using a different make and supplier. Thanks, Nick. Great work.
Nicholas WallNicholas Wall
13:18 02 Apr 23
Looking for fair and honest expert advice on all aspect of aluminium windows and doors? These guys will arm you with all the information you need to make the RIGHT choice in a highly complex, crowded marketplace. post a question and you will get a very quick professional answer you can rely on being based on fact. Thanks guys!
Giorgia SiriacoGiorgia Siriaco
16:25 21 Mar 23
After a lot of research to find doors that would meet our unusual size requirements and feeling increasingly uncertain about the best way to spend our small budget, I stumbled on the ATS website, and I'm so glad I did! I contacted ATS to request advice and Nick promptly replied with a wealth of information, providing us with options and relevant contact details. I only wish I'd found them sooner!
Carol NortonCarol Norton
10:01 17 Mar 23
I've been so confused about how to achieve the look I'm after, and going round in circles with various window/door companies, trying to get away from the huge chunks of plastic currently around my windows. I didn't expect an email to a company found through a Google search to really help - but I was desperate, so I tried. I'm SO glad I did. Finally I have clear explanations from ATS of where I've been going wrong, exactly what I'm looking for, and a list of local companies that might be able to provide it! The response has excelled my expectations and I feel as if I'm finally inching closer to a home with which I'll be happy and comfortable: thank you.
David NunnDavid Nunn
20:54 14 Mar 23
It is rare that I write reviews, however after my very positive communication with Nick - enquiring about suitable slim sash aluminium windows for my project, I felt that a review was definitely warranted. I can reinforce the many positive reviews posted so far, Nick was very quick to respond, providing comprehensive detail, with excellent independent advice.In summary, great service, thank you Nick.
Chantal AuerbachChantal Auerbach
13:04 09 Mar 23
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply was incredibly helpful informative and pleasant to deal with. He responded quickly to emails and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommend being in touch with Nick if you are considering new aluminium windows or doors.
Lee JonesLee Jones
20:21 22 Feb 23
I dropped Nick at Aluminium Trade Supply an email re high security slim sightline bi-folds and their alternatives and he responded that quickly (and so comprehensively) that I felt bad I’d not paid him for his time!Nick Sir your product knowledge is outstanding and you are providing a level of service that goes wayyyy above and beyond expectations. I’ll definitely make sure I mention Aluminium Trade Supply to anyone I encounter looking for a fenestration solution 🙏🏼
15:13 13 Feb 23
We are looking to replace some old UPVC patios doors with aluminium ones. The ATS website is a great source of advice in an area where clear information is sorely lacking. Having used the website, I then followed this up with a number of specific questions relating to our search, and Nick came back very quickly with clear, detailed and very useful advice.I have been very impressed with both the website and with Nick's advice. My only regret is that I didn't come across ATS before replacing various windows in 2021 - I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of grief and money! Thanks again Nick.
Azza McCabeAzza McCabe
17:47 01 Feb 23
So impressed with this company.Responded to my query quickly andgave valuable advice. Nick was extremely helpful and we were able to move forward with our project.
Adri LoloçiAdri Loloçi
11:21 08 Jan 23
Nick was super fast to respond and provided some great recommendations. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to find bifold or sliding aluminium doors.
Stephen HoustonStephen Houston
16:16 03 Jan 23
Looking for aluminium crittall style internal door and external patio French doors. Noted good reviews and thought would ask for advice. Comprehensive reply with excellent independent advice and lists of fitters who could provide products and installation. Great service.
Inga GeachInga Geach
08:25 21 Dec 22
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply has been extremely helpful with navigating the jungle that is aluminium glazing for our upcoming extension project. His advice was prompt, detailed and always impartial. Very grateful for your input, thanks Nick!
Amanda BurtonAmanda Burton
10:54 16 Dec 22
Brilliant website and an excellent service. Nick provided not only detailed advice and supplier contacts, but highlighted the considerations of various products so I could make an informed choice. Our Sunvista minimal sliders were fitted this week and I couldn't be happier, stunning. Thanks once again for your advice and recommendations, invaluable!
Keith BarnesKeith Barnes
17:18 10 Dec 22
Very helpful advice given to my question, including the name of 3 different companies that i could try for the product being enquired about. Many thanks
Munim ChowdhuryMunim Chowdhury
11:45 13 Sep 22
Nick has been very helpful on signposting me to a number of partner organisations for steel/aluminium doors.
SUSAN wallaceSUSAN wallace
17:26 31 Aug 22
My experience with this firm was exceptionally good and this is notalways the case as a female, dipping a toe into technical waters.I was spoken too with courtesy and at a level that helped me consolidate what was needed .On top of that I was given a list of companies and places where I could obtain the type of product I needed.I could not thank them enough and would certainly go there again and reccommend others do too.
Paul SalterPaul Salter
22:39 22 Aug 22
Contacting Aluminium Trade Supply is like contacting the Oracle direct. Advice is always comprehensive and balanced. On multiple occasions they have provided me with options that fully meet our objectives. Many thanks.
Nick McCormackNick McCormack
20:25 14 Aug 22
Really helpful and useful came back to me on a Sunday with some invaluable information. Highly recommended.
ray addisonray addison
13:14 14 Aug 22
received a prompt reply to my query,and helpful information from ATS