Shedding Light on Popular Window Types in South Africa

Windows are an essential element of any architectural design, serving as a portal to the outside world while providing natural light, ventilation, and aesthetic appeal to our living spaces.

In South Africa, the choice of window types and glass variations play a crucial role in insulation, security and overall comfort. Energy efficiency is also on the rise, as homeowners attempt to curb their electricity consumption and utility costs.

In this guide, we explore the different types of windows commonly found in South African homes, such as single glazing, double glazing, Low-E glazing, and tempered glass, while considering factors like window size, positioning, design, and the final touches – frames!

Shedding Light on Popular Window Types in South Africa

Single Glazing Windows

Single glazing is the most common and traditional type of window found in many South African homes. It consists of a single pane of glass, making it the most budget-friendly option. While single-glazed windows allow natural light to brighten up your home, they are not the most energy-efficient choice.

In South Africa, where temperatures can soar during the summer and drop considerably in the winter, single glazing can lead to energy loss. These windows may not provide adequate insulation, allowing heat to escape during the colder months and excessive heat to infiltrate during the hotter months.

Double Glazing Windows

To combat the challenges posed by single glazing, many South African homeowners have turned to double glazing. This window type is composed of two glass panes separated by an insulating layer of air or gas.

Thanks to this nifty design, double-glazed windows help keep your home cool during scorching South African summers and retain precious warmth during the colder months, which makes them especially effective for energy efficiency. These window types are particularly useful in regions with diverse climate patterns, like the Western Cape.

The additional insulation also aids in reducing external noise, which can contribute to a peaceful ambience within your home. What’s more, double glazing is tougher for potential home intruders to break, thereby enhancing your home security.

Low-E Glazing Windows

In South Africa, we cherish our abundant sunlight, but we also need to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays!

Low-E (low emissivity) glazing is an advanced option for windows that takes energy efficiency to the next level. It consists of a thin, transparent coating applied to the glass surface, which reflects heat back into the room while allowing sunlight to pass through. This technology helps to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature by reducing heat gain from the outside during summer and heat loss during winter.

Low-E glazing is an excellent choice for South African homes, as it allows you to enjoy oodles of glorious, South African sunshine while minimising the need for artificial cooling or heating. The results? You guessed it –  lower energy consumption, lower utility bills, and a bright, comfy home.

A Tip from Jukka on Low-E Glazing:

Look for windows with a high Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating for optimal performance in the South African climate.

Tempered Glass

Household safety is always a priority when building or renovating a house, especially in homes with children or in high-risk areas. Tempered glass is a type of safety glass that is significantly stronger than regular glass. So when little Jimmy hurls his rugby ball through a tempered glass window, it shatters into small, round pieces instead of sharp, jagged shards. This massively reduces the risk of injury.

Tempered glass is an excellent choice for large windows, sliding doors, and any area prone to potential impact, such as patio doors, balconies, and bathroom windows.

Using strategy to choose a window type


Apart from the type of glass, other factors also play a significant role in maximising the benefits of your windows in South Africa. When you’re building or renovating, remember to ask your building contractor to help you understand the following:

  • Window Size

    Larger windows are a great way to bring in more natural light and take advantage of beautiful outdoor views. However, in sunny areas, large windows can also increase heat gain, and these rooms can be difficult to cool in summer. Balancing the size and placement of windows is crucial to optimise natural light without compromising energy efficiency.

  • Window Positioning

    In South Africa, where the sun's path changes with the seasons, the positioning of windows is vital. Here, North-facing windows receive more direct sunlight during winter, providing passive solar heating benefits. These are ideal for bedrooms and living rooms, where staying warm matters most. On the flip side, South-facing windows are ideal for indirect light, providing good illumination without excessive heat gain. These can be useful for kitchens, where keeping food cool and out of direct sunlight is important.

  • Window Design

    Window design and style can impact both aesthetics and functionality. Some designs, like awnings or hopper windows, are excellent for ventilation and rain protection. Additionally, using tinted or reflective glass not only looks ultra-cool – like Ray-ban shades for your house – it also keeps your home ultra-cool by limiting heat gain.

  • Window Frames

    Window frames come in various materials like wood, aluminium, and uPVC. Wooden frames offer good insulation but require more maintenance in the long run. Aluminium frames are durable but can conduct heat. uPVC frames are low-maintenance and provide excellent insulation. When considering window types for your home, assess the pros and cons of each material based on your preferences and budget.

Choosing the right window type and glass for your home is a decision that can greatly impact your comfort, energy bills, and safety. At JUKKA, we understand that window placement, materials and glass type form part of a greater strategy, and we help homeowners make smart, informed decisions.

Whether it’s a new window installation, renovation advice, or a brand-new build, we are here to assist!