FAQs

It’s a big decision to undertake work on your home and, understandably, you’ll likely have questions about the process. To help, we’ve answered many of the most frequent questions that are posed to our showroom staff and design teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our friendly advisors are always happy to answer any questions you may have. You will find answers to some of the most common questions they receive below.

What’s the difference between PVC Windows, PVCu Windows and UPVC Windows?

There isn’t any! They all refer to the same material, polyvinylchloride. The ‘U’ signified that it is ‘unplasticised’.

The confusion comes through different naming conventions. In the UK, UPVC changed to PVCU to fall in line with other countries to create a common standard. The reason for the switch was many languages place the noun (in this case, PVC) before the adjective (U).

When it comes to windows, no matter if its PVC, PVCu, UPVC pr even PVC-U, they’re all one and the same.

What’s the difference between casement and flush windows?

The casement refers to the part of the window that moves. Standard windows feature casements that sit proud of the surrounding frame and are the most popular type of windows that we sell.

In comparison, the casement of a flush window is inline with the frame. This creates a neater, more understated look.

The difference is clear to see if you compare the two windows side by side – why not pop into our York Showroom to see the difference for yourself?

Should I choose Double- or Triple-Glazed windows?

This depends on what you want from your windows and your budget.

The obvious difference between double and triple glazing is the number of panes within the unit. Double glazed windows have two panes of glass and triple, as you would expect, has three.

Typically, triple glazed windows will be better at retaining heat and preventing cold spots from forming. With the correction combination of glass and air gaps, these windows can also help cut down noise from transferring into your home – though if acoustics is a key concern there are other options we’d recommend exploring.

There are pros and cons to both options. We’d recommend speaking to an Orion advisor who’ll help find the right option for your home.

What colours do your replacement windows come in?

Our collection of Extreme, Envisage and Eclipse windows are available in a wide range of colours – gone are the days when windows had to be plain white!

Depending on your style and design choice, we can offer a whole host of modern shades, tones, textures and woodgrain effects. Plus, there is always the option to have different colours inside and out.

I hear a lot about energy rated windows! What does ‘A’ and ‘A+’ rated windows mean?

The Window Energy Rating (WER) tells you how energy-efficient your windows are. The system is based on a traffic light-style scale, like the one used to showcase energy ratings on white goods.

All windows are rated as defined by the BFRC Rating Scheme. This is a national system that’s recognised within Building Regulations as a method to showcase compliance.

Look out for windows that carry A or A+ rating so you can be sure they will keep your home comfortably warm and energy efficient.

All new or replacement windows require a minimum WER of C or above. Ask your Orion advisor for further details and they’ll be only too happy to help.

What does U-Value mean?

A window’s U-Value indicates how well it retains heat within your property. Th value is measure in Watts per square metre, or W.m2K. The lower this number, the better.

All new or replacement windows require a minimum U Value of 1.6 W.m2K. Ask your Orion advisor for further details and they’ll be only too happy to help.

What does Secured by Design mean?

Secured by Design (SBD) is an official police security initiative that works with manufacturers and installers to improve the security of neighbourhoods around the country.

Secured by Design’s product-based accreditation scheme (the Police Preferred Specification) provides a recognised standard for products, including windows, doors and individual components such as locks and hinges.

Our manufacturing partner, Conservatory Outlet, is a registered member of Secured by Design and many of our products meet the demands of this rigorous specification.

Please ask an Orion team member for more details.

Do you make your own windows?

Our windows are manufactured by Conservatory Outlet, the UK’s leading manufacturer of UPVC and aluminium windows. Based in Yorkshire, Conservatory Outlet has a state-of-the-art facility that is at the apex of the industry.

Thanks to our close relationship with Conservatory Outlet, we retain a great level of control over our supply chain and product offering.

Is Orion a member of FENSA?

Yes, Orion is a member of FENSA (Registered No. 12212) – the leading body providing homeowner protection in the double-glazing industry for windows and doors.

When replacing windows and doors, homeowners must comply with current thermal performance standards and ensure they get a certificate from FENSA or Local Authority Building Control.

FENSA enables companies that install replacement windows and doors to self-certify compliance under these Building Regulations without the need for a separate assessment from Building Control.

Are all composite doors the same?

Composite doors vary. Our standard composite doors are 44mm deep and are filled with foam. They’re also finished in a GRP skin.

In comparison, our exclusive Solid Core Doors are a little thicker and are made from interlocking layers of laminated timber. They are also finished in a fine UPVC coating.

Can I have a different colour on the inside to the outside?

Yes, in most instances you will be able to choose a different colour on the inside of your door to the outside, so for example you could have white inside and red outside. Or, black one side and blue the next! Whatever floats your boat!

An Orion advisor will be able to help you confirm your choice is available.

How many keys do you get?

We provide you with three sets of keys as standard. However, if you’d like any additional sets, you can let us know at the point of ordering.

If I’m buying more than one door, can I have the keys suited so they work in both doors?

Yes, absolutely. Just let your Orion advisor know when you order and we can ensure that your keys are suited.

What is Secured by Design?

Secured by Design (SBD) is an official police security initiative that works with manufacturers and installers to improve the security of neighbourhoods around the country.

Secured by Design’s product-based accreditation scheme (the Police Preferred Specification) provides a recognised standard for products, including windows, doors and individual components such as locks and hinges.

Our manufacturing partner, Conservatory Outlet, is a registered member of Secured by Design and many of our products meet the demands of this rigorous specification.

Please ask an Orion team member for more details.

What does the 3-star rating mean for a door barrel?

Door barrels (also called cylinders) all carry a rating, with three stars being the highest.

To achieve this leading standard, the barrels need to pass a series of standardised tests, including an anti-lock snapping test that stops the cylinder and lock from being compromised.

Can French doors fold back?

They can indeed. If you wish, you can specify for your French doors to come with an egress hinge that allows you to fold the doors back for an even better view of your garden.

Should I choose bi-folding or patio doors?

If you have (or perhaps want to have) a large opening at the rear of your property, then either patio or bi-folding doors would be a great choice.

In our experience, the main difference between the two is the view that they offer. Bi-folds allow for a full opening that allows you to maximise that outdoor view. Sliding patio doors have slimmer frames which, when closed, give you a clean, uninterrupted view outside.

Of course, the right type of door for your property will likely be depending on several factors. Speak with a member of the Orion team and they’ll help you out.

What is the difference between a conservatory, orangery and an extension?

The million-pound question!

Traditional conservatories feature a lot of glass. Glass walls and a glass roof combine to create a space that’s filled with natural light and one that offers beautiful views of the outside world. These days, you can add some dwarf walls for some further privacy and insulation or even a tiled roof.

Orangeries, on the other hand, are characterised by their use of pillars. These can be either brick or aluminium and help break up the showpiece glass panels.
An orangery will also feature a pelmet around the roof. And speaking of the roof, an orangery roof can be anything – the choice is yours!

On the other hand, an extension takes the look and feel of your home. Many incorporate solid brickwork and a solid tiled roof of some kind. These days though, you can easily go for a hybrid roof that includes glass panels, lanterns or Velux windows.

But who needs labels? Speak with a member of the Orion team and together, you can create your ideal living space.

Should I choose a tiled or glass roof?

This depends how you plan to use your room, which direction it faces, and your budget.

If its plenty of natural light and a lovely view of the garden that you want, then you can’t go wrong with a glass roof. If you’re worried about the glass roof causing the room to heat up too much then fear not, we can provide a full range of solar controlled glazing that will keep your space at a comfortable temperature.

If you want a true year-round feel, then a solid tiled roof is a strong choice. You can always mix these up and add glazing to create something unique.

Speak to an Orion advisor about the best option for you that meets your requirements and your budget.

Will my glass roof be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter?

All of our living space products are designed with year-round comfort in mind. Gone are the days of the old polycarbonate roofs and the problems that they cause!

We can provide solar controlled glazing that actively regulates the amount of heat that enters your property from outside sources.

Do you manufacture your own roofs?

Our roofs are manufactured by Conservatory Outlet, the UK’s leading manufacturer of home improvement products. Based in Yorkshire, Conservatory Outlet has a state-of-the-art facility that is at the apex of the industry.

Thanks to our close relationship with Conservatory Outlet, we retain a great level of control over our supply chain and product offering.

Can I choose different roof tiles to match my home?

Of course!

We have a range of different options and we can even match your existing roof tiles.

What is solar control glazing?

Solar control glazing (or glass) is a special type of glass that allows natural sunlight to pass through whilst blocking away heat. This is fantastic for conservatories and other rooms that will get a lot of sun as it will help ensure the space doesn’t become too hot.

There are several varieties available. Speak with an advisor to find out more.

Can I match to my existing brickwork?

The Orion team will obtain the closest brick match to your existing property and check this with you before any works commence. Please keep in mind that there may be weathering and manufacturing differences between existing and new bricks and as such, the visual match may be slightly different.

If the closest match isn’t what you want, you do have the option to have your new brickwork tinted. But be aware that this will incur additional cost.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?

Many extensions require additional approval under Building Regulations. There are several types of work that don’t but fear not as we’ll take care of all the necessary applications and paperwork.

Do I need planning permission?

An extension or an addition to your house is typically considered to be a permitted development. This means it does not require an application for planning permission if specific criteria are met.

Generally, these are:

  • The ground area covered by the extension and any other buildings within the boundary of the property, excluding the original house, is not more than half the total area of the property.
  • The extension is not higher than the existing highest point of the house.
  • The eaves of the extension are not higher than the eaves of the existing house.
  • The extension does not extend buoying any road-facing wall if it forms the main or side elevation of the existing property.
  • The eaves do not exceed 3 metres in height if the extension is within 2 metres of the property’s boundary.
  • The materials used in the work, except in the case of a conservatory, are of similar appearance to the existing house
  • An upper floor window on a side elevation within 15 metres of a boundary with another house is obscured glazed and is non-opening unless the parts of the window which can be opened are more than 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which the window is installed.
  • A side extension does not exceed 4 metres in height or be wider than half the width of the house.

In a single-storey extension:

  • The extension does not extend past the rear wall of the original house by:
  • 4 metres for a detached house
  • 3 metres for any other type of house
  • The height of the extension is not greater than 4 metres
  • No part of the extension is within 3.5 metres of a property boundary with a road opposite the rear wall of the house.

In an extension with more than one storey:

  • The extension does not extend past the rear wall of the original house by more than 3 metres
  • No part of the extension is within 7 metres of the property boundary opposite the rear wall of the house
  • The roof pitch of the enlargement is as far as is practicable the same as that of the original house

If you live in a house within a conservation area, World Heritage Site, Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) or National Park:

  • No part of the exterior of the house is clad with stone, artificial stone, pebbledash, render, timber, plastic or tiles
  • The extension is not more than 1 storey or 4 metres in height
  • No part of the extension extends beyond a principal or side elevation of the original house.

How long will it take to build my new living space?

It is difficult to estimate how long a build will take without knowing the specifics. Each project will vary due to the design, preparatory work required, and materials needed.

If you’d like to know more, please speak with a member of our team.

What is a test dig?

A test dig is a small excavation of ground used to determine what conditions are on site. This can be done to see what form of foundation would be best for the property, either a traditional concrete foundation, a specialist pile foundation, or a concrete raft.

What is a cavity tray?

A cavity tray crosses the inner cavity of a wall and dispels moisture away from the inner wall and out through weep vents in the external wall.

Should I choose a tiled or glass roof?

This depends how you plan to use your room, which direction it faces, and your budget.

If its plenty of natural light and a lovely view of the garden that you want, then you can’t go wrong with a glass roof. If you’re worried about the glass roof causing the room to heat up too much then fear not, we can provide a full range of solar controlled glazing that will keep your space at a comfortable temperature.

If you want a true year-round feel, then a solid tiled roof is a strong choice. You can always mix these up and add glazing to create something unique.

Speak to an Orion advisor about the best option for you that meets your requirements and your budget.

Should I replace my frames too?

If you’re planning on replacing your old conservatory roof, then it makes sense to upgrade your frames at the same time. Modern roofs are far more thermally efficient and failing to change your frames could compromise the performance of your new roof and comfort of your living space.

Speak with an Orion adviser and they’ll work with you to create an affordable plan that enable you to match your new roof with modern, securer and better performing frames.

What is a replacement tiled roof made from?

To help with the installation process, replacement solid roof systems tend to be prefabricated. This means that the time needed to fit them is minimised and ensuring negligeable disruption to your home.

The roof itself is made from a pre-engineered and lightweight frame, insulating panels, fire-grade plasterboard, exterior plywood and an impenetrable and secure membrane. The roof is then finished with your choice of tiles or solid panels.

What is a clad over roof?

A clad over roof is a type of roof system that sits over an existing structure. This is a cheaper alternative to solid roof systems and can cause homeowners several problems.

  • Clad over roofs can be too heavy for the existing conservatory frames as they use heavy timber, insulation and tiles. Any old conservatory needs to have a roof that is lightweight – the lightest solid roof systems weight around 31KG/M2

Tip: Always ask your installer for the total weight of the new roof in Sq.M

  • Clad over roofs do not meet current fire safety regulations. The systems are never effectively fire tested as a complete structure – only individual components can be as existing structures vary from job to job. Per BS476-3, solid roofs must be AC, AB or AA rated.

Tip: Always ask to see the fire certificate of your entire roof system before committing to the project.

  • Clad over systems tend to be denied Building Regulations approval due to their low thermal rating and weak structural integrity. This isn’t the same as planning permission which often isn’t required when undertaking this type of work. You must notify Building Control if you are making any change to a structure, including replacing a glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof. The approval ensures that your new roof is structurally sound.

Tip: Check that local Building Control has been informed before the conversion starts. Obtain a Building Regulations ‘Final’ Certificate and file it in a safe place.

Will my glass roof be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter?

All of our living space products are designed with year-round comfort in mind. Gone are the days of the old polycarbonate roofs and the problems that they cause!

We can provide solar controlled glazing that actively regulates the amount of heat that enters your property from outside sources.

How much will it cost to replace my existing roof?

Prices vary on a project-by-project basis. As a guideline, you should expect to spend anywhere between £5,000 for a smaller roof replacement through to £10,000+ for larger, more complex projects.

There are plenty of different ways to spread the cost of your new roof. We have a simple finance calculator that can help you work out an easy payment plan that suits your budget.

How much will it cost to replace my existing roof?

As ever, this depends on the size of the structure, design and whether you want to incorporate features such as lanterns of Velux windows. To give some sort of estimate, replacement roofs can cost anywhere from £5,000 upwards.

Orion has a useful finance calculator which can help you work out an easy-to-afford payment plan that fits your budget.

How long will it take to replace my conservatory roof?

A tiled solid roof replacement can be installed in a couple of days.

Do I need planning permission to replace an existing roof?

You don’t need planning permission, but you do need approval from Building Regulations Control.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?

Getting Building Regulations approval from your local authority ensures that your new roof has been rigorously checked by a government-approved inspector. The inspector will check that the system has been installed correctly, is structurally safe and is thermally efficient.

With Building Regulations approval, you can show that your roof was fitted properly. This is crucial if you come to sell the property as it removes any doubt over any authorised work potentially being carried out.

Do you offer finance to help pay for home improvements?

To make life easy for you, Orion Windows can arrange a variety of affordable and convenient easy payment finance options (subject to status).

Making an application is simple and we promise you a quick decision. Best of all, everything can be sorted out with you in the comfort of your home or in our York Showroom.

What do we need to do when our finance is approved?

If you are arranging your own finance, then please call us as soon as you receive approval. If you are taking up one of our offers, we’ll be informed directly. At that point, we’ll be in touch with you to start the next phase of your journey.

What happens if finance is refused?

Finance companies can turn people down for a variety of reasons and you shouldn’t be disheartened by it. In these circumstances, we always do our best to help and sometimes it’s worth trying another provider, especially if they know you.

I’ve applied for finance with Orion. How long will it take to be approved?

Sometimes we can get an answer within a couple of hours, at others it can take a few days. No matter how long it takes to get a decision, we’ll be in touch to let you know as soon as one has been made.

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