Selection of windows

Windows and external doors are essential enclosures of a building. They perform a number of important functions in a building, so it is important to consider all the factors affecting them before choosing windows. Properly selected and cared for windows can serve for up to 20 or 30 years.

Like other matters related to the construction of buildings, windows and external doors are subject to the Latvian construction standard (LBN), uniform European norms and regulations.

The selection, and also installation of windows and doors must be suitable for the geographical location of the building, the height of installation of the windows and the type of use of the building.


Available window types:

  • PVC, or plastic windows
  • Wooden windows
  • Aluminium windows

The main differences between these windows are the mechanical strength of the frame, heat transfer parameters (Uw – heat transfer coefficient), resistance to weather, deformation risks and caring properties. Only wooden or aluminium-frame windows can have leaves of a very large size. Meanwhile, the advantage of PVC windows is their low price.

When selecting windows, you should pay attention to a number of performance characteristics:

  • Heat insulation
  • Air permeability
  • Wind load resistance
  • Acoustic properties
  • Safety class

Important! Each vendor or supplier of windows must present the documentation showing all these characteristics. The Latvian Association of Window and Door Manufacturers (LLDRA) has published on its website a list of certified window manufacturers and qualified window installation companies. The information and the list are updated on a regular basis.

When installing windows on the first floor of the building, it is recommended to select windows with a higher level of burglary protection than fifth-floor windows, but fifth-floor windows should have higher resistance to wind loads.

If you live in a quiet suburb, acoustic properties of windows may not seem important, but when you live in a city centre or near busy streets, it may be one of the key factors in selection of windows. If the building often has elevated moisture levels, it is recommended that you select PVC or aluminium frame windows.


Window selection guide

For you to select the most suitable windows for your dwelling, the LLDRA has summarised information explaining in a readily understandable way all the terms related to windows and external doors and requirements with regard to their positioning, installation height and the type of use of the building.

Standards and corresponding requirements applicable to windows and external doors in Latvia, not including smoke extraction and fire safety requirements

Tips on maintenance of windows

All types of windows need care for their moving parts and rubber seals to extend their lifetime.


Moving parts, hinges of leaves and handle mechanisms are similar in all types of windows, regardless of the material they are made of. For all the moving parts of the windows to serve longer, it is necessary to lubricate them once a year. Lubrication oil or oil spray may be used for this purpose.

Once a year

  1. Evaluate the visual condition of your windows
  2. Check seals
  3. Lubricate moving parts

For windows to remain tight, the condition of seals is very important. Seals are a mechanical component of the window mechanism that depreciates most rapidly. Typically, their service life is between 10 and 15 years. To extend the service life of seals, it is necessary to treat them with a special rubber protection agent.

If you feel a cool flow of air in your housing near the window and it is clear that it occurs between the window frame and the leaf, then it is most likely the fault of bad sealing. This may also be the reason of signs of moisture accumulation between the window frame and the leaf, which may result in moulding on seals. In the long term, such deposits or moulding can harm health and, of course, seal. However, if seals are damaged, they can be replaced.


The wooden windows need more care!

Wooden windows need more careful care. The most important thing is to detect and prevent cracks in varnish or paint or other types of damage to the frame surface in a timely manner.

Wooden windows should not be exposed to long-term weather effects. Protection from weather is ensured by a special protective coating or protective wax, which has a limited service life.

You can get a short-term solution by treating your window with a regular varnish. In order to avoid frequent maintenance works, it is recommended to select hardwood frames. Their resistance and service life will be longer, however, their initial costs will be higher.

The coating gets damaged most rapidly on the southern side of the building facade, where windows are exposed to prolonged exposure to sunlight. It would not be advisable to paint window frames with dark paint, since it would intensify the effects of the sun and damage both the protective coating and the frame more rapidly. To extend the service life of wooden windows, it is necessary to treat the surface of wooden windows with special protective waxes on a regular basis.

High quality window + professional installation = Sustainable solution

Specialists remind that both the quality of the selected windows and the quality of the installation works are equally important.

Combining windows of poor quality with unprofessional installation works can initially save invested funds, while increasing the costs of care and maintenance of windows in the long run. If you select such a combination of options, the service life of windows will be much shorter.

Similarly, you will most likely fail to achieve the expected result, if you combine windows of good quality with unprofessional installation works. High-quality and efficient installation work is required for windows to serve as long as possible and to guarantee all the technical characteristics specified by the manufacturer.

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