Choosing windows and glass doors

Windows and doors enhance and define the style and design of your home, opening it to views and light, while also playing an important role in protecting it from the elements and keeping it weathertight.

What to consider

The windows and glazed doors you choose need to be durable and strong, and designed to withstand the range of environmental conditions likely to be encountered on your site, such as high wind or sun exposure. You may want to take advantage of surrounding views, maximise indoor–outdoor flow, let in light and air, or maintain privacy. Now that the New Zealand Building Code requires all new residential construction to meet certain standards in energy performance, windows and doors also need to be energy efficient.

Look for the label

To help ensure you choose windows or glass doors suitable for New Zealand conditions, look for this NZS 4211 label. It’s proof that your purchase has been rigorously tested for a range of performance criteria, including air leakage, water leakage and wind resistance.

The New Zealand Building Code requires all window manufacturers to label every window and door unit they make, so if your purchase does not have this label, it may not be compliant. On windows, the label should be in the cavity just below the left-hand-side stay. On doors, you’ll find it on the jamb, immediately below the top hinge.

Key Facts

Glass windows and doors come in a wide variety of styles.

While design and aesthetics are important, safety and function matter too.

Every window or glass door made in New Zealand must display an NZS 4211 label, which shows that it has been tested and approved for our conditions.

Types of windows

The windows you choose can instantly transform your home’s look and feel – taking it from modern to traditional or vice versa. This guide introduces some of the most common window and door styles used in New Zealand. Each can be made with a variety of framing materials, including aluminium, wood and PVC.

Awning and casement windows

Hinged at the top (awning) or on the side like a door (casement), these windows offer privacy while letting in light and air. You can often secure them partially or fully open. Casement windows are popular in both modern homes and older-style bungalows.

Bay window

Bay windows create extra space in a room by extending out from the external wall of a building. The area beneath them is often used for a window seat or storage.

Bifold window

Folding back to open up a wide expanse of uninterrupted views and light, bifold windows bring the outside – and plenty of fresh air – in.

Double hung window

Common in New Zealand villas, double-hung windows have two separate sliding pieces called sashes that move vertically to open or close the window.

(Adjustable) louvre

Bay windows create extra space in a room by extending out from the external wall of a building. The area beneath them is often used for a window seat or storage.

Picture Window

Like a real-life widescreen TV, these windows don’t slide or open but are made for enjoying views and light in any weather.

Skylight Window

Bringing extra natural light from above, these windows are often found in areas of the home that would otherwise rely on artificial light. They may or may not have an opening mechanism.

Sliding window

Like sliding doors, these windows open by gliding along a track, and are popular in modern homes where space is limited or to maximise a sense of indoor-outdoor flow above decks or out into gardens.

Special features

Some windows offer passive ventilation, allowing you to lock your windows without stopping air flow – useful in summer, or in winter to reduce condensation. 

Types of glass doors

Bifold doors

Like bifold windows, these can be pushed back to completely open up the wall of a room for a seamless indoor-outdoor flow.

French doors

With glass panels that welcome views and light, French or hinged doors are often found at the entrance to a home, or to connect out onto balconies and decks.

Sliding and stacking doors

Sliding and stacking doors offer flexibility – opening up completely for indoor-outdoor flow when the weather’s good or staying partially closed if more protection is needed.

For more ideas and advice, speak with your window manufacturer, architect, or architectural designer.