Hybrid windows and doors are a luxurious and timeless product; superbly made and engineered. Purchasing them is a different buying experience from regular aluminium windows. Here is our full guide to buying hybrid or composite windows and choosing the best style, brand and type for your property renovation project.
This article focus on all types of hybrid windows and doors such as casement windows, front doors, patio doors and sliding or folding doors.
- What are hybrid windows and doors?
- How much do hybrid windows and doors cost?
- Advice on choosing hybrid windows and doors
- Understanding hybrid windows security
- Energy Efficiency on hybrid windows and doors
- Hybrid vs aluminium vs PVCu vs steel – what’s best?
- More information and where to buy hybrid windows and doors
What are hybrid windows and doors?
Hybrid windows and doors use a combination of materials. In most cases, it’s aluminium on the outside and wood on the inside. These first came to the market in the 1970s predominantly in the Scandinavian countries.
There are also windows using aluminium outside and PVCu inside, and you can read more about this alternative method of creating composite windows.
Most hybrid windows and doors are higher-level glazing compared to PVCu and even some of the better aluminium products on the market. These products retain a lot of the craftsmanship of traditional joinery and few people don’t love the look and feel of real wood, whether in a contemporary or traditional setting.
The benefits of choosing hybrid windows and doors
While hybrid windows and doors are usually more expensive than other materials, they’re more of an investment rather than a general windows replacement.
By far the best feature of these windows is their phenomenal energy efficiency. Whether you’re building an eco-home or simply want the best in heat-saving windows, few window materials get close to a hybrid without glass or material enhancements and upgrades. You’ll find most composite doors and windows good enough for Passivhaus standards and the triple glazed windows go even further for insulation.
How long do hybrid windows last?
Another reason to consider hybrid windows and doors is service life. With many products comfortably claiming up to 70 years lifespan, only genuine steel and well-maintained timber windows and doors could exceed this. Most buyers of these windows types use them in their forever homes or with little intention of changing their glazing in the future.
The third reason for considering hybrid windows is their timeless appeal. Unlike PVCu and even some aluminium windows, composite windows do not go out of fashion. Choose the wood internally carefully on the type and the colour, and these windows work with changing trends and interior decor of all types.
If the environment matters, hybrid and composite windows lower your carbon footprint and use less energy compared to plastic, steel and aluminium windows to produce.
Timber producers always source their materials from FSC certified forests meaning responsible sourcing and management of forests when manufacturing wood products. There are even businesses making hybrid windows minimising their global footprint every time they make a window or a door. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable, but hybrid windows use less overall energy and resources in their creation.
Another consideration when buying new windows and considering composite windows is where they’re used and why. Scandinavian countries with significantly harsher climates use these windows not only for energy efficiency but also for overall longevity and performance. So whilst your own home may not need windows performing at minus temperatures for months on end, these windows are an excellent indicator of just how well they function, perform and last.
If you’re presently in the market for new windows in any material and especially in aluminium, we recommend taking a look at hybrid windows and the significant differences and benefits over other materials.
The disadvantages of hybrid windows
If price is a significant factor in your buying decision then these products do sit at the upper end of the price range.
Whilst not a disadvantage, the slightly thicker sightlines of hybrid windows may not be to everyone’s taste. However, what you do get is a window more likely to stay in fashion – nobody can tell how long the current trend for steel-look or slimline windows will last.
We can’t think of any disadvantage to buying hybrid windows.
How much do hybrid windows and doors cost?
It depends. Whilst it’s easy to find instant prices for plastic windows and doors, the nature of these makes getting indicative prices a little harder. The sizes, the colour, the type of wood internally and how it’s finished, glass specification. Even how the windows are made and other factors all affect the price you pay.
As an approximate guide price, hybrid windows tend to cost around 30-50% more than aluminium windows and can be similar in price to timber windows.
Therefore a typical 1800mm x 1500mm window in aluminium is around £2800 supplied and fitted, hybrid windows will cost you around £3500 supplied and fitted. A set of aluminium French doors 1200 x 2200mm high is around £2300 supplied and fitted, a similar hybrid product about £3700.
These prices are intended for guidance only and even if more expensive, go get comparable quotes.
Why hybrid windows and doors are a good investment
The best thing about buying hybrid windows is investing in a product that’s designed to last, used in much harsher climates than the UK’s and with much wider appeal than PVCu and aluminium.
We know many people just don’t like plastic windows and that’s fine. Others regard aluminium as perhaps too modern for certain house styles. Hybrid windows strike a fine balance with the strong, durable and colour-rich aluminium meaning minimal maintenance.
Internally the type, styling and colour of the wood you choose promises to work with modern interiors, character property as well as new build homes or extensions.
Are they the slimmest doors and windows on the market? No, they sit in the middle when it comes to window sightlines and is slightly thicker for doors. However, you’re not buying these for their minimal appearance. You’re investing in these for their luxurious look and feel, reliability and performance.
By far the biggest reason to go with composite windows is how you get the best of both worlds. The performance, low maintenance and colour benefits of aluminium on the outside. The luxury and quality of real wood on the inside and with lower maintenance than full timber on both sides.
What you may also not know about some hybrid windows brands is they can ever offer fire protection making them suitable where you need fire-resistant glazing inside the home.
Advice on choosing hybrid windows and doors
All of the current products are well-designed, with a quality build and design to last. The windows you choose therefore depends on a few factors making some products different to others and helping you make an informed buying decision.
You’ll find fixed and opening windows, opening inwards and tilt and turn windows as well as large picture windows all available as hybrid. There are even products covering two-storeys such as curtain walling and large floor to ceiling windows.
For doors, you get the full choice of front doors, side or back doors, bifolding and sliding doors. Therefore, there’s no reason why hybrid windows and doors can’t provide a complete solution for a house build or renovation.
Appearance and Colours
First of all, is the styling. You’ll find composite windows available in both traditional and contemporary frame styles. Westcoast Windows making Scandinavian windows in the UK has, as one good example of variety, three ranges.
Classic is the original system having a flat square styling to both the outside aluminium and inside wood. The wood inside is knot-free timber giving a clean natural wood look and looks great natural without varnish or paint.
The Design collection is more contemporary making them ideal for modern houses having a greater glass depth and an overall style that goes very well with modern aluminium bifolding or sliding doors as well house designs making more use of glass.
The Antik range uses more moulded and rounded wood and aluminium profiles replicating the look of classic timber windows.
You’ll also find options for things such as flush or overlapping opening casements, blinds between the glass, enhanced security or sound insulation.
It’s the same for other quality hybrid windows manufacturers. Therefore, to help you choose better, find products available in a variety of frame styles and not just the one. Or you can get in touch with us for help and advice on what to look for and where to buy.
For colours, there’s little to worry about as the aluminium exterior comes in the full range of RAL colours – over 200 in fact. For the inside, look for products offering not only a choice of colours but also different woods. Depending on the brand, options include oak, mahogany, douglas fir, ash and others.
Understanding hybrid windows security
When it comes to the security of composite windows and hybrid glazing, virtually every product on the market comes with excellent security credentials. So there’s no much to influence your decision here. Expect to find windows meeting SBD as well as having the latest generation of locking mechanisms and security features.
For example, you’ll find windows with high-end hardware from the best component manufacturers. The way bolts, locks, sashes and hinges fix is with both secure methods and screws or bolts. There’s little to separate one brand from the other with security but do check out the individual credentials of each brand.
Energy Efficiency on hybrid windows and doors
The combination of high specification glass as well as the wood-aluminium combination means most hybrid windows and doors come with excellent security credentials. They’re also the first choice of Passivaus homes.
The wood creates one of the best and most natural thermal breaks in hybrid products and these windows comfortably get the lowest U-Values below 1.0Wm2K with some products and A Window Energy ratings. Chosen right they’re better than aluminium and PVCu.
The energy efficiency of hybrid windows and doors isn’t as complex as navigating other materials, the nature of these windows simply makes them superior to others.
Hybrid vs aluminium vs PVCu vs steel – what’s best?
Wondering what’s the better material? You’ll find all materials offer a broad variety of windows and doors but here is where hybrid differs from the other materials.
Compared on Price
PVCu is the cheapest followed by aluminium with timber and hybrid windows very closely matched on price. Steel windows come out more expensive. Whilst the price differences across these materials are all clear, you’re not comparing like for like on design, sightlines and product types.
Hybrid is one of the more epensive options, but the styling, quality, energy efficiency, timeless looks and longevity makes these an altogether different proposition to the other materials.
Compared on sightlines
Steel is the slimmest, followed by aluminium, hybrid, timber and PVCu. You’re not buying these windows for their slim lines, you’re choosing them for all the other benefits they come with. The detailing of these is just like classic joinery with gorgeous mechanical joints or mitres and none of the welds you find with PVCu windows.
Slim sightlines are very much on-trend with modern doors and windows but it’s worth considering a window type such as hybrid that’ll always be vogue, not to mention highly desirable to prospective house buyers.
Compared on Products
Hybrid, aluminium and timber products provide the most product variety compared with PVCu and steel. For example you get a bigger choice of window types and a greater choice of sliding doors such as lift and slide and tilt and slide generally not available with plastic or steel. It’s also worth remembering hybrid windows and doors allow larger sizes than PVCu meaning more glass and fewer mullions and transoms.
More information and where to buy hybrid windows and doors
You can get in touch for more information and where to buy these exemplary windows and doors using quality woods and modern aluminium.