Garden sheds, Summer Houses, workshops and log cabins have a range of windows. You will find that on garden sheds & workshops they are normally functional whereas on summer houses & log cabins the windows are a little fancier. The type of material used in these windows varies from the decent and top end garden buildings down to the cheap mass-produced sheds and summerhouses.
On the better buildings, you will find that proper glass has been used and the reason for this is that it is very stable. This means that it does not discolour, so you can see clearly through it all the time, nor does it move, meaning that you won’t hear it moving in the wind. On the cheap garden sheds and summerhouses, you will find quite often that they will use plastic, perspex or acrylic. This often is thinner than glass which enables these type of windows to flex and can be noisy when the wind blows. You will also find that over the years they will discolour and lose some of the transparency. These shed and summerhouse windows are also susceptible to unsightly scratches.
So why are these types of windows offered – they are cheap – and you would normally only find them on the cheap sheds or summerhouses ‘made down to a price’. In my view, after 40 years in the garden shed business, the only place to use plastic, perspex or acrylics is on children’s playhouse where they do offer a little more safety in case they break.
Glass in shed and summer houses windows are hard to beat, in fact, it’s quite a miracle how glass is made as it is manufactured from one of the abundant materials on the planet – sand or strictly speaking – silica. Compare that with perspex, acrylic or plastic which are all made from oil, which is rapidly running out. So as well as being clearer and quieter they are greener for the planet as well – so glass is eco-friendly and by insisting on it you are helping our planet. The small advantage which plastic has over glass is that glass is slightly more fragile however even this is not a problem if you select toughened glass, laminated glass or wired glass in your new garden shed or summer house.
Toughened glass is specially treated so if it breaks, which is very hard to do, the shed window will collapse into small harmless ‘pea side’ granules, similar to car windscreens from a few years ago. Laminated glass consists of two sheets of glass with a plastic layer in the middle and this makes the summer house windows VERY HARD to break. If the glass breaks, and it’s a BIG IF, this glass stays in one piece so can be safely removed and replaced. Wired glass is normally used where visibility and light are required inside the shed or summerhouse but security is a big issue As the wire is actually inside the glass this makes the glass very strong and very hard to break through.
On summer houses and on some garden workshops with Georgian style windows you will find that these type of windows tend to be quite strong. This is because the smaller panes of glass are relatively stronger than larger sheets so you can feel more comfortable with normal glass in the window.
My advice is based on 39 years in the garden sheds business and you can get more information about shed and summer house windows on this How-To Guide.
All Diamond and Platinum garden buildings come as standard with toughened glass for strength and safety.