Are industrial style windows and doors the next big thing?

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Crittall style windows and doors are characterised by their distinctive steel-framed design, featuring narrow sightlines and a grid-like pattern of small panes. They have become a popular trend for residential and commercial properties.

What’s black, robust, trending and showing no sign of losing momentum right now? Industrial-style windows, which are probably better known as Crittall-style windows.

The Crittall-style is a design that has transcended decades to become a symbol of timeless sophistication and is expected to increase in popularity over the next few years.

In this article, we’ll discuss the enduring appeal of Crittall-style windows and doors and delve into the crucial aspects of cost and practicality, shedding light on considerations that play a pivotal role in decision-making for those considering adding these products to their homes.

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: installed in a large building.
Industrial style windows are characterised by slim frames and horizontal bars

What is the Crittall-style?

The Crittall-style refers to a distinctive and iconic design of steel framed windows and doors, characterised by slim, horizontal and vertical sightlines, creating a grid-like pattern. This style of window was the work of Essex ironmonger Francis Henry Crittall, who developed them way back in 1884 – the industrial revolution, hence the industrial style. They were first manufactured for use in the UK in 1889.

Key features of Crittall-style windows and doors include:

Steel frames

The frames are often made from steel, providing a robust and durable structure. The steel frames contribute to the industrial aesthetic and are a hallmark of the Crittall-style.

Slim sightlines

Crittall-style windows are known for their slender sightlines, allowing for a maximum amount of glass. This characteristic provides a sleek and elegant appearance, often associated with modern and minimalist design.

Grid pattern

The frames are arranged in a grid pattern, forming a series of horizontal and vertical bars. This grid not only contributes to the aesthetic appeal but also enhances the structural integrity of the window or door.

Versatility

While initially associated with industrial and commercial buildings, Crittall-style windows are extremely versatile and can be used everywhere.

Timeless appeal

The Crittall-style has truly stood the test of time and has been associated with architectural movements. This timeless appeal of has led to their continued use in both historical restorations and contemporary designs.

Bear in mind that you can only call a window a Crittall window if it is made by Crittall Windows Ltd. The term is often used as a general description of black steel-framed windows, and their current popularity is a credit to the original founder and company that are still successful today.

Are crittall style windows and doors a good fit for all properties?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: installed on a commercial property.
Industrial style windows are found on both residential and commercial buildings

Crittall-style doors and windows are a great fit for all types of properties, whether architectural, residential or commercial.

Architectural presence

Steel look doors and windows have been closely associated with the Modernist and Art Deco movements of architecture in the early 20th century. As such, they are present in many noteworthy buildings around the UK, including the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament.

Residential and commercial applications for crittall style windows and doors

That being said, they also look great on a wide range of property types. We have seen them installed on new-build townhouses and Victorian semis alike, and they look fantastic in extensions and orangeries.

How practical are these crittall style windows and doors?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: bifolds installed in a living room.
A beautiful set of industrial style bi folds available from <a href=httpswwwgfdhomescouk target= blank rel=noopener>GFD Homes<a>

When it comes to practicality, the doors do not disappoint, thanks to modern features and their relatively low maintenance nature.

Modern features

Whether it’s industrial doors or windows, they incorporate modern features like double glazing and thermal efficiency in line with current standards. You can even get fire-rated Crittall-style doors where needed.

Maintenance

Like all windows and doors, they will require basic maintenance like cleaning to keep them in top condition. Either do it yourself or ask your window cleaner to give the frames a wipe down along with the glass. They will also benefit from a quick yearly lubrication of pivots, hinges, stays, handles and catches to keep them in good condition.

How energy-efficient are crittall style windows?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: installed in a cottage style property.
Listed buildings are ideal for steel look windows as they satisfy the building regs that PVC windows wouldnt in terms of keeping the original look and character

Steel windows actually tick a lot of boxes for those concerned about the environment. For a start, they are fully recyclable when they reach the end of their lifespan, and are usually built from 100% recycled steel. They typically last for at least 60 years, so you never need to worry about durability.

Glazing options

You can buy Crittall-style windows with double or triple glazing for external use. There are also many with specialist weather-stripped properties to give them extra draught-proofing capabilities.

Essentially, they can be extremely energy efficient if you buy the right type, just as with any windows and doors.

Are crittall style windows liable to rust?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: installed in a bedroom.
Steel look windows are right at home in modern properties as well

The use of specific manufacturing techniques have allowed Crittall-style windows to become almost rust-proof.

Manufacturing techniques

The manufacturing techniques vary from one company to the next. But you can rest assured that most high-quality steel look doors and windows use galvanised frames. This is done in a hot dip, before a polyester powder is applied to provide a protective coating that makes the frames virtually rust-proof.

The vast majority of new steel window and door frames will not need to be repainted for 20 years or more.

How secure are crittall style windows?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: installed in a bathroom.
Modern industrial style windows such as the <a href=httpswwwgfdhomescoukbespoke enquiry target= blank rel=noopener>Smart Heritage 47<a> meet all leading security requirements

When it comes to the security of Crittall-style windows, you don’t need to worry. Thanks to their complex composition and the option to choose additional security features, this significantly increases the overall security this type of window offers.

Complex composition

Unlike when there is only a single pane of glass, these industrial style windows have a more complex composition. The design incorporates multiple frames, meaning it is considerably more difficult to gain entry by breaking the glass.

Additional security features

In addition to this, manufacturers frequently include extra security in their products such as multi-point bolts and security mortice deadlocks, making it extremely difficult to force them open. Look for reassuring things like Secured by Design certification as this indicates that they have been subject to extremely strict standards and tests by the police. If they passed these tests, you can rest assured they are extremely secure products.

Is it possible to have original crittall windows restored?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: original crittall windows installed on a building and rusty.
Restoring original steel windows could will cost you a small fortune

Many Crittall windows were installed in the 1930s, and some even earlier than this. Many of these are still in use today. It is quite a privilege to have originals from this time, and it should be possible to have them restored and maintained on-site without too much disruption.

Thorough refurbishment

The services available usually range from a simple ‘ease and adjusting’ to make them open and close smoothly to a comprehensive refurb. If a really thorough job is required, they can be removed and transported to a steel workshop for full restoration. This could get them shipshape to last another 80 years or more.

What should I expect to pay for crittall style windows?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: installed on a property.
A full house of Smart Heritage steel look windows specified with square lead on the glass for a traditional look

Before purchasing Crittall-style windows for your home, it’s extremely important to understand how much they will cost.

Cost considerations

Authentic steel windows are not cheap – the price is currently set at around £2,700 per square metre. If you can afford this, you will instantly get the high-end look that they provide.

Alternatives

If your budget is not able to extend to this, there are aluminium Crittall-style doors and windows on the market. Naturally, they do not have quite the same vintage charm as the authentic products, but they are far more cost-effective and the lead times are quicker. This is better for the building schedule, and you will still have a great product with a superb look.

Where can I buy genuine steel windows?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: installed in bricked up building, zoomed in view.
If you like the vintage industrial look then steel look windows are the clear winner

If you are determined to invest in authentic steel windows, you can search online for your nearest member of the Steel Window Association. This organisation provides a wealth of information and will be able to answer any questions you have.

They often recommend products that are manufactured from recycled steel and are fully recyclable as well. This is in addition to being robust, slim and highly durable.

Where can I buy cheaper crittall style windows and doors?

GFD Homes Crittall style windows: crittall style door installed in property.
A stunning set of industrial-style French doors from GFD Homes – carefully engineered to replicate real steel looks and still be affordable

If all you want is that distinctive, ultra-chic style, look for companies that offer high-quality steel replacement windows manufactured from thermal aluminium. There are many options to find a match for the aesthetic of horizontal glazing bars alongside solid lock panels and fasteners.

With technological advancements, these aluminium frames are gradually gaining a thinner overall aspect as well. Some newer bi-fold doors have a vertical profile or a width of just 30mm. The Smart Heritage 47 system that we offer is a very popular product for this look.

Choose crittall style windows and doors with GFD Homes

If you’re interested in learning more about this product, why not check out our GFD Homes website. You’ll be able to view our stunning collection of industrial style products, all available to order immediately.

As well as providing great-quality home improvement products, we’re also extremely proud to offer a 10-year guarantee on most of our products, for extra peace of mind when it comes to quality.

To speak to our team or to book a showroom visit, contact us on 01642 309576.

FAQs about industrial crittall style windows and doors

What are the disadvantages of a steel framed window? 

Steel framed windows have a few drawbacks including high thermal conductivity, increased maintenance needs due to rust and corrosion and challenges during installation due to heaviness. 

At GFD Homes, our industrial style range, crafted from aluminium, offers a range of benefits such as lightweight construction, natural corrosion resistance, design versatility and durability. These advantages make aluminium industrial style doors and windows an ideal choice for homeowners who love the industrial aesthetic. 

Why are crittall style windows so expensive? 

Crittall-style windows are often considered expensive due to their high-quality craftsmanship, customisation to fit specific architectural designs and the utilisation of high-quality materials like steel. These factors collectively contribute to the overall expense of these windows. 

Are crittall style windows safer? 

Industrial style windows can incorporate robust security features, including multi-point locking systems, ensuring a high level of security. Additionally, the choice of glass plays a crucial role in enhancing safety. The use of laminated or toughened glass significantly improves the overall safety of the windows.  

How much do crittall style windows cost?

The cost of industrial style windows can depend on a range of factors such as size, materials used, customisation and the manufacturer. Typically, industrial style windows can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds per window. 

In our range of industrial style bi-folding doors, french doors and windows, we provide products spanning from the more budget-friendly options to the higher-end selections. This way, you can discover something that better aligns with both your style preferences and budget considerations. 

What materials are commonly used in industrial-style doors? 

The most common materials used in industrial style doors include steel (common for its strength and durability), aluminium (lightweight and resistant to corrosion) and glass (often combined with metal frames to create a modern and industrial aesthetic. 

Are industrial style doors energy-efficient?

The energy efficiency of industrial style doors depends on their design and materials. All of our aluminium industrial style doors and windows have been designed with thermal breaks and proper insulation, enhancing their overall energy efficiency. 

Are industrial style doors secure? 

Yes! You’ll be extremely pleased to hear that aluminium industrial style doors can incorporate advanced locking systems for enhanced security. Furthermore, the inherent sturdiness and robustness of aluminium contribute to its overall security, despite its lightweight nature. 

Do industrial style doors require special maintenance? 

Maintenance requirements for industrial style doors vary based on the materials used. 

At GFD Homes, our industrial and Crittall-style doors and windows are crafted from aluminium. This choice not only ensures a sleek aesthetic but also demands less maintenance compared to steel, given aluminium’s resistance to rust and corrosion.

That said, we still recommend periodic cleaning, to keep your doors and windows in good condition. 

Are industrial-style doors noisy?

Whilst industrial style doors were previously associated with operational noise, advancements in technology has meant that this is no longer a concern, especially when it comes to aluminium industrial style doors.

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Ian Richardson Founder & Director
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