condensation on window

Replacing Windows in a Conservation Area

Double glazing is pretty much a modern essential, and few of us that live in a house which has it could imagine reverting to living in a home with single glazing and the cold, the draughts, and the condensation that comes with it.

Unfortunately for some of us, we don’t have a choice. Specifically, those living in conservation areas may find they’re unable to upgrade to double glazing, or that they have to fight very hard to be given the green light.

Let’s explore why this might be, and what can be done to replace windows while still adhering to the rules of living in a conservation area.

What is a conservation area?

Most areas have very loose planning restrictions and homeowners can, within reason, do pretty much what they like to their properties. The result is that streets lack uniformity and can feel thrown together.

Other areas have very strict planning laws – generally when historic buildings are present, and modern home improvements would have a detrimental effect on the identity of the area, and undermine the value of its properties.

Conservation areas exist to combat this phenomenon.  They limit what can be built in the area and the changes that can be made to existing buildings. This serves to protect the aesthetics of the area and the value of its properties.  What’s more, if you buy a house in a street that has a certain look, an area’s conservation status offers assurance that the look will remain more-or-less consistent in the future.

Since 1967, more than 9000 conservation areas have been designated across England.  In practice, they allow your local authority greater control over what can be thrown up and knocked down, including things like satellite dishes and trees.

What’s the difference between a conservation area and a listed building?

When a home is in a conservation area the only concern is how it appears from the street. This means that brickwork, doors, and windows must be consistent.

If a building’s listed, the interior is protected, too. Exactly what this means is unique to each building but as a general rule, the internal structure of the building must not change and repairs and renovations must be carried out using original materials.

If your home isn’t listed, but you live in a conservation area, you might need to apply for planning permission before carrying out improvements that affect the external appearance of your property, such as replacing your windows.  This will be the case if the property is subject to something called an article 4 direction – a special power that gives your local planning authority (and in some cases, the government) the ability to withdraw some of your permitted development rights.

I live in a conservation area: should I repair or replace my windows?

If you’re jumping through hoops to secure planning permission for the windows you want, you might be tempted to save yourself the hassle and just repair them, instead.

Unfortunately, you’ll still need to follow the rules – if repairing your windows involves replacing the glass itself, you probably won’t be able to get away with changing the sort of glass you use, for example.

In either case, the name of the game should be to replicate your current window as closely as possible.  This might mean that you end up paying slightly over the odds – but the investment will prove worthwhile in the long run.  For one thing, you’ll not be forced to tear the window out and start afresh; for another, you’ll be preserving the value of the entire street.

What about double glazing?

Double glazing works by sandwiching a layer of inert gas between two panes of glass.  This severely restricts the flow of heat from one side to the other, increasing the energy efficiency of any given property.

But double glazed windows look different to windows with a single pane of glass.  For one thing, they require a chunkier frame.  For another, the glass tends to bend and bow as the atmospheric pressure changes relative to the gas inside the window.  From the street, this creates a warping effect that would look out of place in a period property.

With all that said, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with installing double glazed windows into a conservation area – provided that the local conservation committee don’t judge your new window to be a considerable departure from the old one.  If you’re replacing a single glazed window with a double glazed one, you might find that this necessitates a slightly chunkier frame, and glazing bars that sit atop the surface of a larger pane rather than dividing the window into smaller ones.

What’s next?

Planning restrictions can seem a little, well, restrictive.  Especially when you’re the one needing to wriggle free of them.  In the case of conservation areas, your local officials will have the final word over what’s allowed and what isn’t – this can mean it’s worth meeting with your conservation officer before you make your application, to talk through the options.  Getting on good terms with them, and supplying them with a detailed plan of your intentions, will vastly increase your chances of being given the go-ahead.

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Timber windows

How Often Should You Paint Timber Windows?

When it comes to windows, timber is a practical choice that looks stunning, too – provided that it’s given the right finish.  This finish might consist either of a transparent coat of oil or wax that’ll seep between the fibres of the wood and ensure that moisture can’t penetrate or cause rot.  On the other hand, it might consist of an opaque layer of paint that’ll do much the same thing while at the same time changing the colour of the frame itself.

In order to get the best from your wooden window frame, you’ll need to ensure that the finish is periodically refreshed.

When should I paint timber windows?

When painting your window, you’ll need to first do a little bit of prep.  This might mean sanding down the existing surface, and giving it a gentle (but thorough) wash.  Of course, between the time you wash the wood and apply the first coat of paint, you’ll need to allow the surface to dry – once you paint the wood, you’ll trap any moisture inside, where it can do damage.

As a rule, then, it’s best to paint exterior windows on hot, dry days where this drying can occur naturally and quickly – and so summer is often the best bet.

What paint should I use on timber windows?

Your choice of paint will depend largely on the style of the surrounding building.  White is a classic choice.  One considerable advantage of brightly-coloured windows like this is that you’ll be able to easily see when it’s time to break out the paintbrush again.

After you’re done painting, you might wish to apply a protective coat of varnish.  This’ll protect the paint from minor nicks and scratches.  Varnishes are available in various levels of glossiness, and you’ll be able to apply several coats to achieve a more enduring finish.

How often should I paint timber windows?

The lifespan of a coat of paint will depend on the stress that a window is expected to absorb.  If it’s in constant sunlight, and exposed to lashing winds and rain, then we can expect it to deteriorate more quickly.  Your best bet might be to keep a photographic record of what the window is supposed to look like, which you’ll be able to refer to later, when you suspect it might be time to apply another coat.

As we’ve seen, many factors can influence how often a timber window requires repainting.  In general, it’s best to check the frames closely once a year – make a note in your diary and find five minutes to do it at the same time each year.  You might find that some windows will demand a fresh coat every few years, while others can last for almost a decade without the need for attention.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

Windows with external shutters

How to Paint a Sash Window (without it sticking)

While sash windows offer a particular look and feel (to the point that they’re an almost indispensable feature of period properties), traditional wooden sash windows can be somewhat tricky to maintain.  One particular problem arises when you come to paint them – do it wrong, and you’ll end up painting over the edges of the window and sealing it shut. Learn how to do it properly in our simple guide to painting sash windows.

What if my sash window is stuck?

If your sash window is stuck with paint, don’t panic – there’s an easy fix.  All you need is a blade that’s thin enough to slice through the paint without interfering with the surrounding wood.  A Stanley knife is an obvious candidate.

Run the knife slowly along the edge of the frame.  If the paint proves too resilient, then your next step should be to use a steel scraper, and failing that, a hammer and chisel.  You might find that any resistance offered by the window will vanish quickly, so don’t be tempted to risk damaging the window with too much force.

How to paint a sash window

Of course, it’s better to avoid the problem in the first place than have to fix it.  By taking a little bit more care the next time you paint your window, you’ll be able to avoid having to break out the Stanley knife.  Let’s run through how to paint sash windows so they don’t stick.

1.      Remove the ironmongery

First, you’ll want to get rid of the ironmongery on your window.  You’ll also want to clean up the existing layers of paint. If you don’t they’ll build up each time you paint the window, and eventually, the window will get stuck with paint.

To do this, simply sand down the wood and thoroughly clean up any dust you leave behind (since you really don’t want to paint over the top of it).

2.      Paint the mullions

You’ll need to reverse the sashes in order to access every part of the window.  The sash you’ve pushed to the top should be painted first, from the mullions (the elements that divide the window – as seen in the photo) outwards.

sash window with mullions

Paint one side and then the other, building up coats for a smooth finish.  Repeat the procedure on the lower sash.

3.      Paint the frames

Next, return to the topmost sash and paint the frame, along with the rebate into which the topmost sash will slot.  Push the sash upwards but not so far that the painted surfaces meet (this is where sticks can develop).  You’re almost done!

4.      Paint the remainder of the window

Lastly, you can paint the casing and cill. You can then use a window-scraper to clean up any splatters you might have left on the windows.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

Timber windows

Sash Windows: uPVC or Timber?

Sash windows are a fantastic way of injecting a little Victorian-era charm into your period property, but they’re an attractive solution for more contemporary-style exteriors, too.  If you’re shopping for a sash window, then you’ll generally be faced with two materials to choose from:  uPVC and Timber.

uPVC (or un-plasticised poly-vinyl chloride) is a form of plastic that’s hugely popular in doors and windows.  It’s resilient and can be reshaped at high temperatures, which makes it an economical choice.  Timber, on the other hand, is a naturally-occurring product which (provided that it’s harvested responsibly) is infinitely sustainable (and it looks great to boost).

Let’s run through the advantages of both materials so you can figure out which one will be most suitable for your home.

What are the advantages of uPVC sash windows?

upvc sash window

uPVC windows are cheap

Sash window cost is undoubtedly a factor that’ll influence your purchasing decision.  uPVC has significantly reduced the cost of sash windows, compared to their timber equivalents.

When it comes to running costs, the material used matter less. In fact, uPVC and timber tend to be roughly equivalent when it comes to thermal efficiency.  With that said, the lower up-front cost of uPVC sash windows is sure to make them an attractive proposition.

uPVC windows are tough

Another key strength of uPVC is that it’ll withstand pretty much anything nature can throw at it.  You won’t need to worry about water damage causing the material to disintegrate over time, and minor knocks and scratches are very unlikely to cause lasting damage.

uPVC windows don’t warp

Timber is formed of fibres that will change shape in correspondence to moisture and heat. uPVC however is much more resistant to these fluctuations.

uPVC windows are low-maintenance

Timber windows need to be treated occasionally if they’re to stay in tip-top condition.  This might involve sanding, cleaning, and finishing – all of which might be tricky if the window is on the third floor!  By contrast, uPVC demands little attention; give it an occasional wipe with a damp cloth and it’ll look and function just as well.

What are the advantages of timber sash windows?

timber sash window

Timber windows look great

Many people believe timber windows are more attractive than their plastic counterparts.  This is especially so if you’re installing them into a period property, where plastic windows might look out of place.  Considerations like this are subjective – but most of us will probably agree that a properly finished wooden window frame looks better than a bright-white plastic one. Of course, uPVC windows are available in colours apart from white, but they are priced at a premium.

Timber windows last for a long time

Provided that it’s properly looked after, the lifespan of a wooden window frame more than justifies the initial cost.  The average wooden window will last for around six decades, compared to around three for uPVC windows.  Check the length of the warrantee on offer for extra reassurance – we provide a forty-year guarantee against rot and fungal problems on our softwood compounds.

Timber windows are eco-friendly

It might seem obvious that timber should be greener than uPVC.  After all, plastics are created using oils that have come out of the ground – oils that can’t be replaced once they’ve been extracted.  Timber, by contrast, comes from trees that can be replanted over and over again.  Of course, this is meaningless if the timber in question isn’t obtained responsibly.  That’s why we ensure our timber windows are FSC certified, and provide a Chain of Custody on request.  That way you can see exactly how the materials came to arrive in your windows!

Timber windows are easy to customise

One significant edge that timber windows have over uPVC is that they can be modified.  uPVC doors and windows are destined to remain in the same shape for the duration of their lives – they can be melted down and reshaped into a new window, but they can’t be modified once they’re in place.  This means that if you’re looking to drill into your window to install a new lock, or you’d like a different set of handles or hinges, you’ll need to opt for timber windows.

That said, bolting on new hardware isn’t the only way you might want to customise your windows.  You might wish to buy your window unfinished, and then apply your own coat of paint.  Timber is the only material that’ll allow for this.  uPVC windows, by contrast, aren’t made to be painted, which means you’re stuck with whatever colour you initially choose.

So what should you choose – timber or uPVC sash windows?

When deciding whether to opt for a timber or a uPVC sash window, you’ll need to assess what’s important to you, and what the best match will be for your home.  If you’re upgrading the windows on a period property, timber tends to be the better choice.  You might even find that planning permission restrictions forbid you from opting for anything else.

On the other hand, if you’re buying for a more contemporary property – and perhaps replacing a set of existing white uPVC windows, then uPVC might hold greater appeal.  It’s also worth considering how much time you’re likely to invest in caring for your windows – particularly if they’re being installed somewhere difficult to reach.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

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Aluminium windows

How to Clean Aluminium Windows

Larger windows mean more light entering our homes – this is a big reason many of us are opting to replace timber or uPVC window frames with aluminium frames.  Aluminium is stronger, so frames made from it can be thinner, which allows for more glass, and more light.

That said, to keep them looking their best aluminium windows should be periodically cleaned.  The exact approach you should use depends on the sort of aluminium your frames are made from.

Cleaning powder-coated aluminium windows

One of the great things about cleaning aluminium window frames, relative to their wooden counterparts, is that they won’t ever need repainting.  Instead, a layer of powder-based paint is applied before they leave the factory.  This layer of paint is built to last the lifetime of the window, and can be cleaned with a minimum of effort.

Fortunately, all that’s required to clean an aluminium window frame of this sort is a soft cloth and a little bit of soapy water.  The soap will bind with any particles of oil and grime, and you’ll be able to wipe them right off.  Don’t be tempted to use caustic cleaners or scouring pads for this task – you’ll risk damaging the frame.

Cleaning old aluminium windows

Older aluminium windows might not have this topmost glossy layer of paint. In this case, you’ll want to use a colour-restoring product.  Be aware that these products work by wearing away the paint, which means you’ll want to be extra cautious near edges where the paint is thinner.

In the case of windows without any paint at all, you can afford to be a little more aggressive.  Again, warm soapy water is best for regular cleaning – but in order to remove water stains and the like, you might use something a bit stronger.  Buff the surface with fine steel wool and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.  Be sure to dry thoroughly.

To protect the aluminium against the elements, you’ll want to apply a layer of wax to the window once a year.  You can do this either with a wax designed for your car (which you might have tucked away in the garage somewhere) or with a wax formula that’s been created especially with windows in mind.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

houses with sash windows

What Is a Sash Window?

Windows come in a variety of styles, but two stand out as particularly popular.  One comes with hinges attached to the sides or top, allowing the user to open the window outward.  Another consists of one or more moveable panels, which can be slid over the top of one another to create a gap.  This latter sort is known as a sash window, and it’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.

How did sash windows first come to be?

It’s difficult to determine how the Sash window was invented, and by whom.  Some theories credit English designers; others credit Dutch ones.  The windows were first introduced into England in the late 17th century.  Their popularity would steadily build over the following two-hundred years, and by the Georgian period they were the window of choice for most homeowners.  By the time Victoria assumed the throne, they were the only sensible choice.

The hinged design of a casement window, which had previously dominated, was no match for the elegant economy of a sliding sash window, and so the latter would displace the former for several hundred years, until the development of modern materials and manufacturing methods would secure the comeback of the hinged design in the 20th century.  For this reason, period properties from the Georgian and Victorian era are often equipped with sash windows.

How does a sash window work?

townhouse with sash windowsIn a sash window, you’ll find two (and sometimes more) glass panels.  Slide one over the other, and an opening in the window will be created.  This sliding is usually vertical, but some sash windows open horizontally.

To facilitate opening and closing, sash windows are counterbalanced, usually with a weight that’s concealed inside the frame.  Through a system of hidden pulleys, the operation of the window can be made much easier.  Being entirely contained within the frame and shielded from the world around them, these pulleys rarely break – but when they do, fixing them usually requires disassembling or breaking apart the window frame.

A traditional sash window is comprised of several small panes (known as ‘lights’ or ‘muntins’).  These are joined by glazing bars to create the illusion of a single, larger window.  This design came about through necessity; in the early 19th century, the technology to create larger panels did not yet exist, and so sash windows offered homeowners a way to enjoy the advantages of a larger window without needing to contend with the drawbacks.  This design became so iconic that its use persisted even after the technology to create larger panels had become widespread.  Sash windows are traditionally comprised of two sets of six small panels, though other configurations are also possible.

What’s the difference between single and double-hung sash windows?

If you’ve been shopping for sash windows, then you might have run into the terms ‘double-hung’ and ‘single-hung’.  From a distance, the two sorts of sash window are indistinguishable from one another.  The difference lies in the fact that in a single-hung window, just one of the windows is movable; the other is permanently fixed into position.  By contrast, a double-hung sash window features two mobile panels.

What’s good about a single-hung sash window?

Single-hung windows offer a few advantages over their double-hung counterparts.

To begin with, single-hung windows are cheaper.  With fewer moving parts to engineer and build, they can be designed and installed for a little bit less.  If you’re installing many windows, or just a few in positions where the advantages of a double-hung window aren’t significant, then these savings might be enough to tip the balance.

Many glaziers will tell you that single-hung windows are more energy-efficient.  This is because the topmost sash is fixed into the window, meaning it’s not susceptible to leaks in the same way as a mobile sash.  If the sash is fixed into place, you’ll be able to seal around the edges with caulk.

Finally, if you’re installing windows into an older property, then you may wish to install windows that are in keeping with the period.  Double-hung sash windows are a more recent innovation, and so may not match with Georgian surroundings.  With that said, it’ll be difficult to distinguish between the two from street level – and thus planning permission shouldn’t provide an obstacle.

What’s good about a double-hung sash window?

Most windows you’ll encounter these days will be double-hung, as they offer several key benefits.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a double-hung windows is that they’re easier to clean.  You won’t have to break out a ladder to reach the top panel; you can simply slide it down and give it a swift wipe.  If you’re cleaning a dozen or more especially tall windows, then this advantage will turn an hour-long chore into one that takes a matter of minutes.  If your double-hung windows are able to tilt in or out, then they can be cleaned from inside the house.  You won’t need to reach outside to do the cleaning, or employ a professional cleaner.

Another advantage of double-hung windows is their flexibility – you’ll be able to choose whether to open the top or the bottom of the window.  If there’s a bothersome draught entering through the bottom, then you can open the top for a more gradual cooling effect.  You might even open both partway and have two small openings at either end of the window.

So, should you choose sash windows?

Sash windows are an iconic innovation that can transform the way a property looks from the outside.  The design is just as effective as it was in the 1700s, and with the help of modern materials, it can fulfil its potential as never before!

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

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transom sash windows

How to Fix a Sash Window that Won’t Stay Open

Though they’re especially suited to Georgian and Victorian properties, a sash window makes a stylish and iconic addition to just about any home – but what happens when they won’t stay open?  Let’s take a look at this problem, and how it might be fixed.

Why won’t your sash window stay open?

Sash windows are designed to counteract gravity, keeping the bottom window raised once it’s been opened via a series of pulleys and weights hidden into the jambs on either side of the frame.  These weights are selected to match the weight of the sash – ensuring that moving the sash is easy – however weak or strong you might be.  They’ll also ensure that when you let go, the sash won’t immediately fall back to the bottom of the frame.

You’ll find one balancing weight on each side of the window. Together, they’ll keep the window sliding along the same plane of motion.  If one or both of them should fail, however, you’ll have a problem – the window will be heavier than the weight, and thus it won’t stay open.

Are the balances connected to the sash?

The balances connect to the sash via small devices known as balance shoes.  This is what the weight of the window rests on, and what transfers that weight to the balances.  If one of these shoes has become disengaged from the frame, then this will lead to problems.  Remove the sash in question and inspect the bottom of the tracks on either side.  If a shoe has fallen to the bottom, then this is probably the source of the problem.  Lift it using a screwdriver (or a set of car keys) and twist the interior of the shoe so that it locks into position.  Line it up with the shoe on the other side, and re-insert the sash.

Are any components broken?

Of course, it might be that something has broken rather than simply fallen out of alignment.  In this case, you’ll need to identify the faulty component and replace it.  There are three likely candidates:

The pivot bar is the small metal bar that attaches the bottom of the sash to the balance shoe.  If it’s become deformed, then it might not be able to engage with the shoe, in which case a replacement is necessary.  Of course, the shoes themselves might also have warped or cracked.

Another possible scenario is that the weights themselves are defective.  Balance weights come in several different forms – with some being spring-loaded.  Be careful when removing yours, as they might be under tension, and liable to spring back.

Whatever the damaged component might be, if you can’t find a suitable replacement, you’ll need to replace the entire window.  Unfortunately, owners of older windows might find themselves in this situation – but many manufacturers use very similar parts, and so it might be worth investigating further before calling off the search!

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

condensation on window

Casement vs. Sash Windows

The right window makes an enormous difference to both the look of a property and the way that it functions.  If you’re shopping for a window, then you’ll be face with two main categories to choose from.  These are casement windows and sash windows.  Each has their relative strengths, which you’ll want to consider before making a commitment to one or the other (especially since, for the sake of consistency, it’s generally advisable to use the same sort of window throughout your home).

While personal taste will obviously impact your decision, it’s also important to consider the functional differences between the two sorts of window.  This article will explain those differences, to help you come to a decision that’ll suit your home.

What is the difference?

Before we get started with comparisons, let’s first establish what it is that we’re talking about.  Exactly what is the difference between a sash window and a casement window?

Casement windows

casement window

Casement windows are the most common type of window in Europe.  They come equipped with hinges which allow them to swing open.  Generally, they come in pairs which open away from one another, like a set of double-doors.

Casement windows also feature a crank which doubles as a window lock.  This might look just the same as a handle – but it’ll also ensure that the window is locked in place while it’s open.  This will prevent the wind from moving the window around and causing problems.

Sash windows

house with sash window

Sash windows came into prominence in the Georgian era (though they were first introduced much earlier), and they remained popular well into Victorian times.  Sash windows consist of one or more panels, or sashes, which slide atop one another to create openings.  Most commonly, these panels move vertically – but you can get horizontally-opening sash windows, too.  Vertically-opening sash windows are assisted by balancing weights, pulleys and springs, which are hidden within the window frame and assist with opening the window. They also allow the sash to stay in position once the window is opened.

There are two varieties of sash window to choose from – those which feature two mobile sashes, or ‘double-hung’ windows; and those which feature just one mobile sash and a fixed one, usually at the top of the window.  The former style is more common nowadays, and allow for greater flexibility for a marginally-increased cost.

Which one is best for my home?

In order to choose between them, you’ll need to assess the merits of each.  Let’s run through a few of the most important ones.

What are the advantages of a casement window?

  1. Casement windows tend to be very energy efficient, as they come with a tight seal around the edges which will compress when the window is closed. When it comes to draught-excluding prowess, then, they’re second only to fixed windows (those which don’t open at all).  Are casement windows more energy efficient than sash windows, though?  The answer varies according to the design; the truth is that modern sash windows provide strong competition, as they come equipped with substantial seals of their own.
  2. Casement windows offer a contemporary look, and form a great match with more modern homes. They’re available in a range of materials, and thus choosing one is simply a matter of choosing the right material and style.
  3. Since the lock is embedded into the frame of a casement window, they’re also a great deal more difficult to break into. A would-be intruder will need to break into the casing itself – and simply prying it open using brute force won’t be an option.
  4. You’ll also find that taller casement windows are easy to open and close, as you won’t need to reach upward to fully extend them as you might a sash window. If you’re a little on the short side, this might tip the balance in favour of a casement window.
  5. Finally, one of the biggest advantages of a casement window is that it’ll provide larger glass panels. This will provide an unobstructed view outside, whilst letting the maximum amount of light into your home.

What are the advantages of a sash window?

  1. Sash windows are easier to open if there is an obstruction in front of the window. If you’re shopping for your kitchen, for example, and have to reach all the way over the sink in order to fully open the window, then sash windows might provide a better alternative.
  2. Sash windows are simpler in design than casement windows. With fewer moving parts to malfunction, their failure rate tends to be a little lower.  Moreover, when problems do occur, they’re usually simple to fix – a common one being a ‘dropped window’ where the sashes aren’t being held up correctly by the balancing weights built into the jambs.
  3. Sash windows offer a traditional style that’s a fantastic match for period properties. If you’re the owner of a Georgian or Victorian home, then you’ll probably find that no other style of window looks quite as good as a sash window.
  4. Sash windows also don’t require any space outside the window to open. If your home is built right up against another wall, then sash windows might well be your only option.  The same is true if there’s a tree growing nearby – since sash windows don’t open outward, there’s little chance that you’ll inadvertently open it into an obstacle.

So what should you choose – a sash window or a casement window?

As we’ve seen, both technologies offer distinct plus points.  Your choice will therefore depend on your circumstances and personal preference – and there are no real right answers!  Whichever style you choose, you’ll want to be sure you’re sourcing your windows from a reputable supplier.  Suffice to say, we here at Windows and More have the items you need, along with the expertise required to get the best from them.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

bay windows

What’s the Difference Between Bay, Bow and Garden Windows?

Bay windows, bow windows, and garden windows, technically speaking, aren’t windows at all, but arrangements of several windows which together form a cohesive whole.  That said they are a much-desired feature in homes both old and new.

Let’s take a moment to consider the differences between them, and see which might make the best fit for your home.

What is a bay window?

bay window

A Bay window comprises a single central window flanked by two ‘venting’ windows on either side. The centremost window is set a little beyond the walls, and the two venting windows make up the distance, usually at a diagonal angle of between 30° and 45°. The central window is usually a casement window, while the two on either side can either be casement or sash windows, depending on the preference of the homeowner.

What is a bow window?

bow window

Bow windows take this arrangement a stage further. Rather than having one central window and two supporting cast-members, a bow window consists of a whole series of windows which fan out from the side of the house in a crescent ‘bow’ shape. Each window might be angled at ten degrees or less in order to achieve a single sweeping structure where no one element dominates. Functionally, they’re much the same as bay windows – except they can be shallower, and they tend to be much wider.

What is a garden window?

garden window

A garden window is designed to serve as a nook for plants and other decorations. It usually comes with a sloped glass ‘roof’ at the top and casement windows at the sides, to allow the maximum possible light into the space in the middle. If you’re looking to grow herbs in your kitchen, a garden window is perfect. This way, you’ll have easy access to your plants when you’re in a hurry – and you won’t have to spend as much time worrying about them being knocked over.

Bay Windows vs Bow Windows

There are a number of differences between bay and bow windows that will impact which one will be better suited to you and your home.

Want to maximise how much light you let into your home? You should probably choose a bow window.

Is it important for you to be sympathetic to the style of your property? Bow windows tend to be a better fit for period properties and bay windows, more contemporary properties.

Do you want space for storage or seating? You’re going to want to choose a bay window.

Of course many homeowners’ chief concern when choosing between a bay and bow window will be cost.

So how does the cost of bay and bow windows compare?

Since bow windows are typically larger and comprised of more glass than bay windows, they are generally the more expensive of the two options – often by quite a substantial amount.

So what should you choose – a bay, bow or garden window?

These three designs share much in common, but they have many differences, too. Often the structure of your property will dictate whether you should (or can) choose a bay, bow or garden window.

If, however, you’re in a position to choose between the three types, don’t feel bound by what you “should” have, based on your property type. With a little thought and planning, a window that’s perfectly suited to the space you have in mind can be easily created.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

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20 Ways You’re Wasting Energy

Homes today are more energy-efficient than they’ve ever been. They’re also filled with more energy-draining items than ever before. You might not think much about leaving the fridge open while you make a sandwich, or spending an extra five minutes in the shower, but together, the energy you’re wasting really adds up.

What Wastes the Most Energy?

1.      Overboiling

Let’s kick off with a classic – boiling more water than you need to.  If you’re boiling a litre of water every day to provide one 200ml cup of tea, then you’re boiling 292 litres more water than you need to each year.  That’s enough to fill around four bathtubs.  If you’re boiling water on a gas hob, then you’ll save yourself money – just be sure to switch it off as soon as it comes to temperature!

2.      Fridge Doors

Leaving the fridge door open longer than necessary is another common way we waste energy. It might not seem like a big deal to leave it open while you get a bowl of cereal or make a sandwich but for every second that door’s open, your fridge is forced to work harder (and is wasting energy unnecessarily while it’s at it).

3.      Overusing the oven

The microwave is far more efficient for reheating food than your oven.  When you are using your oven, avoid opening the door to check how your food’s doing – ovens lose heat fast and have to use more energy to get back to temperature.

4.      Gaps

Tiny gaps around the edges of your doors, or between the bottom of your curtains and windowsill, will contribute to energy wastage.  During winter, you can correct these problems with the help of a draught excluder or a pile of towels. Alternatively, try sealing gaps (or investing in new windows or doors).

5.      Washing too hot

Most laundry will wash just as well at 30°C as it will at 40°C.  This will also extend the lifespan of your clothes. Separate your washes so that the most severe stains can be dealt with at higher temperatures.

6.      Washing too light

The more clothes you can wash simultaneously, the fewer loads you’ll have to do and the less you’ll have to spend on washing.  Of course, there’s an upper limit to this wisdom – you’ll need to provide the water with space to drain properly, and the clothes with space to move around.

7.      Underloading the dishwasher

The same logic applies to the dishwasher – except you don’t really need to worry about overfilling a dishwasher.  Fill your dishwasher to capacity and use the most efficient setting.  You can use the money you save to invest in more crockery and cutlery!

8.      Drying

Drying your clothes naturally by hanging them on clothes horses, or out in the garden on the line, will save a considerable amount of money relative to a using a tumble-dryer.  Your choice of dryer will also impact the money you spend.  Which? suggest that a C-rated dryer costs around 49p per load, compared to just 14p for an A-rated one.

9.      Bathing

Baths are expensive – period.  Replace just one bath a week with a five-minute shower and you could save about £40 a year on your water and heating bills.

10.  Long Showers

A long shower might relax you, but the cost won’t. Just 8 minutes under an electric shower costs between 20 and 30p. Double that time, and double it again for a 2 person household, and you’re looking at up to £1.20 a day – or £438 a year!

11.  Inefficient showers

Modern showerheads are able to create the illusion that they’re using more water than they actually are.  If you can, adjust your showerhead to provide a pressurised blast of not-very-much-water.

12.  Not switching things off

If you’re leaving a room and no-one’s in it, turn off the lights.  Simple.

13.  Light bulbs

Traditional halogen bulbs are on the way out.  Modern LED bulbs are many, many times more efficient – and the gap is certain to keep growing.   In fact, the rate of improvement is sufficient that stockpiling spare bulbs is inadvisable!

14.  Not turning the TV off

Many of us like to cap off a week by unwinding on the sofa with a glass or two of wine and a marathon of television.  You’re not going to get much enjoyment from your favourite shows, however, after you’ve fallen asleep – so be sure to switch off and go to bed before you crash out.

15.  Leaving the tap running

This is totally unnecessary.  The average tap can dispense six litres of water in a minute, which adds up to more than eight thousand litres per person brushing their teeth every year.  Just turn it off!

16.  Ignoring a leaky tap

That drip-drip-drip might not seem worth worrying about but as we’ve seen, small amounts of wastage can add up.  That tap’s going to be leaking 24 hours a day.  Get it fixed.

17.  Not programming your thermostat

If you’ve invested in a programmable thermostat, then you’ll want to do some actual programming.  It’s incredibly easy, and it could save you around £70 a year.  That way you can be sure you’re not wasting energy when you’re not home.

18.  Leaving your hot water cylinder exposed

Insulating this contraption will save around £20 a year – and perhaps more.  The improvement takes seconds, and you’ll only need to do it once!

19.  Keeping an old boiler

Old boilers tend to be massively inefficient.  Since heating represents around 60% of the average household’s costs, upgrading to a modern A-rated boiler can make a substantial difference!

20. Not using stacked steamers

If you’re going to be cooking broccoli, asparagus, potatoes and carrots, is there really any need to boil four separate pans?  Of course not – invest in a set of stacked steamers, place the lid on the top, and cook four things using the same energy it takes to heat a single pan.

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