Old timber window frame and windowsill with potted plants

Can You Repair Rotten Window Frames and Sills?

Wooden window frames are a long term investment for your home. Carefully clean and maintain them, and they will look fantastic and last for years.

However, without inspection and care, your timber frames might not last as long. Neglect them for too long and rot can start to set in. Wood rot will damage the frames, affecting the security and insulation they provide. Once the rot sets in, if it’s left untreated it will continue to grow until the whole frame is compromised.

Luckily, you can repair rotten window frames and sills, and treating wood rot can be a quick and easy task. Get hold of some wood filler, and the job can be done in a couple of hours of hands-on work. The important thing is to catch it early, when it is still confined to a small area.

When to Repair or Replace Rotten Window Frames and Sills

There’s no hard lines on when you can or can’t carry out wood rot repair. It will always be a judgement call. We only recommend a repair if there is just a small amount of rot present. Avoid attempting a repair if more than 10% of the frame shows signs of rot. 

A large amount of wood rot will destabilise the frame which can cause a significant security risk. If your repair looks like a big job, it’s definitely time to consider a replacement window frame instead. If that sounds like a heavy financial weight, remember that if  the rot is confined to only one window, you can just get that single frame replaced. You won’t have to redo the whole house.

How to Repair Rotten Window Frames

If there is minimal rot present and you think a repair is reasonable for your windows, follow these steps to tackle the rotten window frames yourself.

  1. Assess the extent of the rot.

Don’t just rely on your eyes to check where the rot has taken hold. Rotten wood will have a slightly different texture, almost spongy. Press your finger carefully around any visually obvious rot, and feel how far it has spread.

  1. Remove the rotten wood

Using a screwdriver or chisel, carefully begin to remove the rotten wood. Rot will leave the wood soft and easy to dislodge, so move slowly but it shouldn’t take much effort. Gently scrape away until you find the healthy wood hidden underneath.

  1. Drill into the frame

Use a ¼ inch drill bit to make a couple of holes in the frame where you’ve removed rotten wood. This will give your wood filler a stable base.

  1. Fill the gaps

Follow the instructions on your wood filling product. Most fillers will advise using a ‘hardener’ first, such as liquid epoxy, to help the thicker, heavier filler to adhere and to protect the remaining healthy wood. Apply this first and leave it to cure before using the filler. Apply the filler generously – slather it on then smooth the excess away using an epoxy/putty knife.

  1. Leave the filler to harden

Refer to the brand of filler you use, but this will usually be at least three hours. It’s better to leave it for extra time than try to hurry. If you apply the paint too soon, it could soak into the filler and damage it.

  1. Sand over the filler

It’s almost impossible to get a silky smooth finish using filler so save yourself the hassle and simply sand it all smooth when it’s finished. Start with a scratchy 80 grit to work out any uneven patches and shape it to fit, then use a 120 grit to achieve a smooth finish.

  1. Repaint the window

Whether you use varnish, stain or paint, apply another couple of coats to the whole frame. Whatever product you use will form a waterproof barrier between the wood and the world, so covering the whole frame will protect against more rot forming.

How to Stop Window Rot Occurring

Although it’s a relatively easy task, repairing rotten wood frames should always be a last resort. It’s far better to stop the wood rotting in the first place.

Regular checks and maintenance of your wooden window frames will help with this – just take a few simple steps two or three times a year to keep your frames at their best.

  • Check them

Take the time to inspect your windows carefully. This is particularly important before winter, when hammering rain and freezing temperatures can quickly take their toll on your woodwork.

  • Clean them

Wipe a soft, damp cloth round the frames to clean off any dirt, grease or dust. Rinse the cloth regularly to make sure you don’t simply smear any dirt around, and wring it well to make sure you don’t introduce unnecessary damp to the frame.

  • Fill them

If you notice any cracks, flakes or splinters in the frames, take the time to fill these straight away. The smaller they are the easier they are to fix, but if you ignore them too long they will become a gateway for rot.

  • Treat them

Whether your frames are painted, varnished or stained, make sure you add another coat of treatment to the timber when it’s needed. This keeps the surface of your frames waterproof, keeping out the damp that will lead to rot.

If you have suffered from rotten window frames and need a window replacement, we have an excellent range available. From high performance JELD-WEN windows to our own beautifully crafted timber windows, we have many styles available. Have a browse and get in touch with any queries.

triple glazed bay windows

Can You Replace a Window Without Replacing the Frame?

If you have a broken or deteriorating window, you’ll undoubtedly be looking into types of window replacement. Depending on the condition of your windows, you will have different options open to you. If your frames are in good condition, you can replace the window without replacing the window frames – this is known as a pocket window replacement. However, if your frames are aging, it will be best to opt for full frame replacement windows.

We’ll take a look at the different replacement window options, their pros and cons, and when to choose each kind of replacement below. 

Choosing Window Replacements

When your windows need replacing, it can be a chance to fully embrace the change. You can pick a new style of window, one that fits your tastes or the design of your home better. In addition, you can pick a more efficient, insulating window replacement, one that performs better and lowers your bills.

On the other hand, all the options available can be overwhelming and it can be time-consuming trying to find the best choice. For most people, it’s less of an opportunity and more of a hassle. Potentially an expensive hassle. Many people just want the quickest, cheapest option. Their instinct will be to get a like-for-like window replacement and be done with it.

Most people only know of full frame replacement windows, but did you know there could be an easier way to replace your windows where you keep the existing frame? A pocket window replacement allows you to replace your window without having to replace the window frame.

It’s not suitable for every situation, but it is a more cost-effective solution if your window frames are still strong and stable.

What Is a Full Frame Window Replacement?

A full frame replacement involves taking out the entire window and frame. Even the trim is removed, everything right down to the walls of your home.

It’s a complete fresh start for your windows, allowing you to change the material, appearance and style of your window.

Pros of Full Frame Replacement Windows: 

  • You will be left with a far more energy efficient window. Firstly because the sash-to-frame fit will be a lot closer (as they were manufactured to match), but also because it allows the chance to add insulation around the window opening.
  • It exposes the rough opening of the window, allowing a chance to inspect it and address any issues, like damp or rot, that might shorten the life of your window otherwise.
  • You will keep the full breadth of the window glass.

Cons:

  • It is more expensive as it is a more complex job. It isn’t just the cost of the extra frame – the work takes more time, and potentially more manpower, all of which contributes to an increase in price.
  • It is more disruptive. 

What Is a Pocket Window Replacement?

Also known as an insert window replacement, a pocket window replacement is when only the interior frame (or sash) of the window is removed. A new window is then ‘pocketed’ into the old frame. 

Pros of a Pocket Window Replacement: 

  • It is cheaper – not only does it involve less materials, it’s also a quicker job.
  • If your window frame is still fully functional, it is less wasteful.

Cons: 

  • It can mask potential issues in the frame, such as wood rot or damp in the rough opening.
  • Even if your frames are stable at the time of the pocket replacement, they will still need replacing eventually – potentially long before the insert window does.
  • By inserting a new frame into an existing frame, you will lose some of the glass size of the window. This will affect how much light the window lets in.

When to Choose a Full Frame Window Replacement

Obviously, if you want to dramatically alter the appearance of your windows then your only option is a full frame replacement. If you want to switch from casement to box sash windows, or similar, even if the window is the same size, a new frame will be necessary to house the opening mechanism.

However, appearance isn’t the only deciding factor. You can only choose an insert window replacement if your existing frames are still in excellent condition. If your frames are even slightly cracked, chipped or warped, they could be compromised and it wouldn’t be worth using a pocket replacement, as the frames would need to be replaced soon enough anyway.

If there is rot present anywhere around the window, including the frame, sill, trim or casing, then you will have to go for a full frame replacement. The rot will weaken the frames, and could spread to the insert window. A pocket window replacement on a less-than-perfect-frame is a waste, as it will have to be fully fixed later.

When a window gets damaged, the prospect of replacing it can be daunting. Choices will need to be made, money will need to be spent. With a pocket window replacement, you have the option to spend a little less, while still keeping your home safe and warm. However, if your window frames aren’t good as new, it is best to opt for a full window replacement. This will allow top performing windows in terms of insulation and security, and ensure you don’t need to do more work in the near future.

We offer a wide variety of high quality replacement windows. From our top of the range, high performance JELD-WEN windows to our own timber windows & aluminium windows, there’s something for all properties. Get in touch with any enquiries.

man preparing a window for window replacement

How Long Does It Take to Replace One Window?

The prospect of updating or replacing a window can be a daunting one. Removing a window leaves your room open to the elements, and the idea of having a big gaping hole in your home can be concerning.

Unfortunately, it is an inevitable part of home ownership as no window can last forever. Having an old, damaged or draughty window can cause a security and financial risk to your home – they’re more inviting to potential intruders and can hike up your energy bills.

Luckily, window replacement is actually a pretty painless procedure. 

As it is much better to get it done as soon as necessary, we thought we’d clear a few things up about the process of replacing windows and how long it will take, so that you can feel comfortable and confident to make the arrangements.

Ordering a Replacement Window

The first step to replacing windows is choosing and ordering your new one. A straightforward like-for-like window replacement will be a lot quicker than changing to a different window style, so make sure you’re committed to your design choice. If you’re looking to increase (or shrink) the size of your window, that is moving away from simple replacement and could take a lot longer.

It is important to have precise and accurate measurements before you order as well. Take the time to double, triple, even quadruple check your measurements as any mistakes could have a knock-on effect for how long the replacement process takes.

Production and Delivery Times

Probably the most changeable time factor in the whole window replacement process is the production or sourcing time for the replacement. Some companies ship their products from around the world, and this leads to long delivery times.

At Windows & More, we produce all our windows in the UK. This means that we average 4 weeks on our standard windows or 8 weeks for any that are purpose made. This is one of the quickest lead times in the UK.

If you need a window more urgently then, contact us directly and we will see what we can do.

Installing Your New Window

Once your replacement window has arrived, installing it is a quick enough job.

One window should take anything from an hour to half a day to install. The length of time is mainly dictated by the type of window you have chosen, and how many people are working to install it.

A small window can be replaced by one professional installer on their own, usually within a couple of hours, but a large one may need up to four fitters to help.

Tips to Help Speed up Window Replacement

There are things you can do to help speed the process up. Make sure access to the window, inside and out, is unobstructed. If the window is being installed on the second floor, clear as much space as possible outside to allow for ladders or scaffolding.

As well as moving furniture from in front of the window and decorations off the window sill, make sure to take down your curtains, blinds and any other window dressings. If you have an easy-to-remove curtain pole, getting that out of the way is also a good idea.

These are the little things that make an installer’s job easier and, in turn, quicker.

A standard casement window will be installed before you know it, within a couple of hours. Whether you have uPVC windows or wooden windows shouldn’t affect the time – type of window, size and construction are more important than material. A box or sliding sash window may take a little longer to install, just to calibrate the mechanism. 

Whatever style of window you have, if you’re replacing it with the same size and style, you can rest assured the whole process should be done in less than half a day.

If you’re looking for high quality window replacements, we have a range of beautiful windows to choose from. Choose from our high performance JELD-WEN brand range, timber windows and aluminium windows. If you have any queries, our helpful team is on hand, just get in touch.

mouldy window frame

What Is the Difference Between Wet Rot and Dry Rot?

Rot is bad news. When this happens to the structural elements of your house, it can spell disaster! But even if it’s just the superficial parts of a door or window that are affected, rot can be a real pain.

You might even have heard that there are different kinds of rot, which manifest in different ways. Don’t worry, we’re not going to delve into the biochemistry here (interesting though it may be); instead, we’re going to look at the practical consequences of rot, and how to avoid them.

What is Wet Rot?

Certain sorts of microscopic fungus will multiply when the moisture levels get high enough. As they spread, they’ll need to eat. And what they eat is the timber in your home. There are many species of fungus that do this, but the most common cause wet rot: they’ll discolour your timber and cause it to fall to bits.

What is Dry Rot?

Certain sorts of fungus have a distinctly different effect on the wood they’re chewing through. Timber infested with dry rot will become brown and crumbly, sometimes so much so that it can be broken into powder between your fingers. Despite what you might assume, dry rot needs a certain amount of moisture to survive – typically around 20%.

Dry rot is rarer than wet rot, though considerably more serious. It will spread away from the source of the damp rather than staying close to it, meaning it could quite literally bring the house down. Don’t delay in treating it!

How to Fix Window Rot

Once you’ve identified the sort of rot you’re dealing with, you can move onto fixing it.

How Do You Fix Wet Rot?

The affected area will need to be stripped out and repaired, blending any replacement timber in with the existing stuff. Of course, this will only prove effective in the long term if the source of the moisture is dealt with.

How Do You Fix Dry Rot?

Timber affected by dry rot should be treated with a suitable fungicide and wood preservative. Badly affected or warped timber should be replaced with a pre-treated substitute. This will lessen the chance of the timber being infected again. Given the serious consequences of a dry-rot infestation running out of control, this is something you’ll want to bring in specialist help for.

How Do You Stop Window Rot?

Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. And so, it’s best to stop rot from occurring before it starts. It’s a good idea to control the ambient moisture level around your timber, and to get damp looked at before it spreads. But if you’re dealing with timber on the outside of your house, such as in a window, this might not be an option. In this instance, look for a lengthy guarantee against rot and fungus when you’re buying the window. Our timber windows ship with a forty-year guarantee against rot and fungus, giving you peace of mind from the moment you install.

Image credit

Man installing a window

When to Replace your Windows

A good set of windows will last for decades, providing consistent draught exclusion and insulation throughout that lifespan. But as with all structures of this sort, even the most stringently manufactured window will one day begin to break down. To ensure that your home enjoys the best possible security and energy-efficiency, it’s vital that you invest in a replacement set when your windows reach the end of their lifespan.

Signs Your Windows Need Replacing

But exactly how do we know when it’s time to call time on that trusty double-glazed window set? There are a few common signs which can help clue us in. We’ve touched upon the signs that double glazing is failing in a previous blog, but we’ll briefly recap them here:

Physical Damage

Begin by examining the window itself. Is it in good shape? Are the seals still intact? Does it open smoothly? If your window has been cracked, then it might be possible to get it repaired. However, if the window was already a little long in the tooth, it will probably make more sense to look for a replacement instead.

Discolouration

In the case of uPVC windows, you’re looking for a yellowing which occurs when the plastic is exposed to direct sunlight. Over the years, all of that UV can take its toll on certain older sorts of uPVC. Happily, modern stuff can withstand a great deal more before it starts to discolour.

If you’re replacing a timber window, then you’re looking for signs of warping and rotting. You might be able to address this with a little bit of preventative maintenance: sanding and refinishing can work wonders. Eventually, however, you’re going to have to replace.

Condensation

While condensation on the inside of a window during winter indicates that the panel is performing well, the same isn’t true of condensation that forms between the panels of your double glazing. This space is built to be sealed. If any moisture has gotten inside, then that means that the seal has failed, and all of the heat-preserving gas has leaked out.  This means the energy-retention of your window will have plunged.

Can You Replace Windows in the Winter?

A necessary evil when it comes to window replacement is that you’ll need to remove the old set before installing the new one. As such, there will be a short period when your home is open to the elements. If this period occurs during cold weather, then your house will become very cold, very quickly. As such, many installers will recommend against replacing during winter.

However, if you plan competently, there’s no reason that you can’t get your windows replaced at just about any time of year. We are, after all, only talking about a short interval where you won’t have any window at all. Just be sure to check the weather forecast on the day in question, and don’t be afraid to push things back if there’s a blizzard incoming.

transom sash windows

How to Replace Sash Window Springs

A sash window is the second most popular type of window after casement windows. They consist of a fixed panel, and a mobile ‘sash’ panel, which is capable of sliding up and down to allow the window to open and close. This is possible thanks to a complex arrangement of cords, weights and springs, that are concealed into the frame.

Since these mechanisms are concealed, they tend to boast a long lifespan. When they do fail however, it can be tricky to correct the problem and get the window functioning again – but not impossible.

Here we’ll walk you through how to remove and replace one of these components: the sliding sash window springs.

What Do Sash Window Springs Do?

Traditional sash windows operate via a system of weights and pulleys that keep the sash in position. Weights are carefully chosen to balance against the sash, so that when you open the window, you don’t have to actually bear all of the weight by yourself.

Of course, this vastly increased the weight of the window. While you can still get weight-and-pulley sash windows, modern alternatives use springs instead. This means that instead of the weight of the sash being counterbalanced by the weights in the frame, it’s counterbalanced by a set of springs, each attached to the pulley just as a weight might be.

A spring-based sash window will come with one spring on each side, with the pair balancing the weight of the sash between them. When one of the springs fails, your window will fall down on one side, and won’t stay open. Now, it might be that it’s the cord attached to the spring that’s snapped rather than the spring itself. The only way to find out is to open up the window and check.

How to Replace Sash Window Springs

You won’t need any specialised tools to do this job, though you will need:

  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • A new sash window spring
  • Someone to help you.

Let’s run through the process, step by step.

Step 1.

You need to remove any stops that might be preventing your sashes from rising too far within the frame. These are usually plastic, and removable with just a bit of force. You’ll find them on the inside, near the top of the window.

Step 2.

Next, you’re going to pull out the clips, which you’ll find a few inches above the sash. These clips are designed to keep the weights in place while the window is complete. You might need to prise these away with the head of your screwdriver. You don’t want to remove them completely; you just need enough room to lift the sashes.

Step 3.

You’re now going to remove the sash from the frame. If it’s a large sash, then make sure your volunteer has hold of the other end. You’re going to be lifting it up on one side, following which the other should slide out easily. Lay the sash on the floor, somewhere safe.

Step 4.

You’ll be able to see the spring balances now. Push on the top of them to release the clips, and keep hold of the springs to prevent them relaxing. Lift up the spring balance until there’s no more tension on it, and you’re able to easily unhook it from the bottom of the frame. Don’t release it under tension, or you’ll risk injuring yourself and damaging the window.

Step 5.

Having removed the balance, it’s time to measure up for a replacement. To do this, measure the width across the back of the balance, and the height of the channel (not including any attachments at the top or bottom of the channel). You’ll need to match those attachments up when you’re shopping for a replacement channel.

Step 6.

If you don’t already have a replacement spring balance, you’re going to need to purchase one. It’s fine to leave the window without a spring during this time; you just won’t be able to open it.

Step 7.

Once you have your replacement spring to hand, you’re going to be attaching it using the hook at the bottom. There should be a gap at the bottom of the frame that’ll accommodate it. To get the balance into the frame, you’ll need to push down until you can get the top of the balance underneath the screw. Once this is done, you’ll have a new spring inside the frame, and all that’s left will be to replace the sash itself.

Step 8.

Getting the sash back in might well be a two person job. You’re going to be lifting the sash right to the top of the frame and pushing the opposite side into position. You then lower the entire sash until you can feel it moving against the spring balances. You’ll know if you’ve done it right, because the weight of the sash will immediately decrease.

Step 9.

Finally, we’ve got to re-insert the clips so they’re flush with the frame. Do this in exactly the same way as you took them out.

Step 10.

Before we finish, it’s worth checking that everything moves as it should. Be sure to lift and lower the sash entirely, several times. Once this is done, you can safely declare the window fixed.

Now, if all of this seems like a lot of work, we’d recommend you save yourself some time later down the line and replace both springs in one go.

Image credit 1, image credit 2

An open casement window

How to Repair a Casement Window

The most popular style of window in the UK is the casement window. Unlike its closest rival, the sash window, the casement window opens by swinging outwards on a set of hinges.

This offers several advantages.

For one, casement windows are less complex and easier to maintain than sash windows, and they can be equipped with compressible seals which keep out draughts and can help cut your energy bills.

However, as resilient as casement windows are, problems can occasionally occur. Thankfully, the majority of those problems can be solved without the need to call in a professional. In this article, we’ll look at how to repair casement windows. We’ll examine some common issues, and see how they should best be addressed.

How do you fix a sagging casement window?

Throughout a casement window’s lifespan, it will gradually sag as a result of gravity, and it only takes a few millimetres of drop for the window to begin catching against the frame. If your window is dragging, you need to adjust the hinge channel to compensate. This should be done from the outside. You’ll need to first establish the direction in which your window is sagging, and then move the corresponding hinge.

Step 1.

First, we’re going to remove the arms that make up the hinge at the bottom of the window. Open it and unscrew everything. You’ll then be able to lift out the sash which tethers it to the window frame.

Step 2.

It’s time to fill in the existing holes. Do this with epoxy resin if your windows are uPVC, or wood-filler if they’re timber. Don’t be tempted to skip this step, as you’ll be drilling new holes just a few millimetres from the old ones, and the drill could slip into the old holes. Be sure to rub the filling smooth for the best possible finish.

Step 3.

Now you’re going to drill some new holes using an 1/8” pilot drill. Drill them a couple of millimetres across from the old holes. A little bit of guesswork may be in order here, given that there’s no way to test the window before you’ve secured it to the frame. If you’ve only just noticed the problem, chances are that moving the hinge across a small increment will result in a significant improvement.

How do you clean casement window hinges?

open window looking onto countryside with hinges visible

On the other hand, rust accumulating on your gears can cause the window to become stiff and eventually inoperable. Cleaning the gears thoroughly requires a little bit of disassembly – but it’ll help fend off corrosion and keep your window working as it should for longer.

Step 1.

First, we’re going to unclip the operator arm. This usually comes apart from the window via a clip. It’s attached at the other end via a series of screws, which can be removed with the help of a trusty cross-head.

Step 2.

Next it’s time to clean away the grime. Do this over a plastic tub using methylated spirits and an old toothbrush. Scrub until every last bit of grime has been removed.

Step 3.

Before we return the gears to the window, we need to ensure that they’re lubricated and protected from the elements. Apply your lubricant generously and use a soft cloth to distribute it across the entirety of the metal. Work it into the gears by moving them back and forth. When they move easily, you’re ready to reinstall.

Step 4.

Some casement windows are attached to an arm which runs along a track at the bottom of the window. These should be cleaned using a harsh, wire brush and solvents applied to a cloth (which should lift up all of those stray metal particulates).

Make sure you’ve gotten right into the track, and apply a layer of lubricant when you’re done, as just described. Again, you can work the lubricant in by moving the window back and forth.

Now, there are some instances where it’s impossible to repair the hinge, and you’ll need to look at replacing the hinge instead. Replacement hinges for casement windows are widely available and inexpensive.

How do you re-seal a casement window?

The seal around the edge of your window contributes enormously to its energy efficiency. If yours is damaged, then fixing it should be a priority. The stripping might have been pulled away from the corner of the frame, in which case you can address the problem by simply sticking it back into place with a dab of polyurethane sealant. On the other hand, repeated cycles of compression and expansion can, over the years, cause the stripping to lose its elasticity. When this happens, it’s time to replace it.

Step 1.

Pull the strip loose from the window. Do this slowly to minimise the risk of the wedge section of the strip remaining stuck in the grove. Should this happen, you’ll need to work it loose using a coat hanger or hobby knife.

Step 2.

Insert your new weather-stripping, starting from the corners. You won’t need to apply any adhesive, here; it should slide into the groove with a reassuring ‘click’.

How do you replace a handle on a casement window?

When your handle is spinning, but the window isn’t opening, a broken shaft is normally to blame. In most cases, this problem can be fixed with a replacement handle. You can buy replacement cranks which can be adjusted to fit different spindles, or you can contact the manufacturer and ask for a like-for-like replacement. If it’s the shaft itself that’s worn down, you can often correct the problem temporarily by filing the edge of the shaft so that the screw can lock properly. Don’t expect this fix to hold up for long if you’re opening and closing the window repeatedly, however.

Anything else?

Casement windows are incredibly robust and given the right care and attention, they’ll last for years. To stand the best possible chance of avoiding problems, we’d suggest taking a pro-active approach. Check your windows periodically for damage and if you notice a problem, don’t be tempted to delay in fixing it. The chances are that it’ll only get trickier (and more expensive) to solve!

Image credit 1image credit 3,

Condensation on window

Poorly Installed Windows: Signs to Look for and How to Fix Them

If you’re buying double glazing, you’ll be protected by a piece of legislation called the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (which replaced the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982). It mandates that double glazing installations should:

If your installation doesn’t meet these conditions, then the supplier has breached contract and they’re obliged to either repair your windows or replace them. What’s more, they’re liable whether or not they hired subcontractors to carry out the actual work.

Customers who’ve paid for their window using a credit card are entitled to further protection in the form of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which makes the credit company liable where costs amount to more than £100 but less than £30,000. This will provide protection if the glazing company goes out of business and is unable to pay up.

Signs of Poorly-Installed Windows

So what sort of thing should owners of newly-installed windows be on the lookout for? Let’s look at what makes a double glazed window ‘unfit for purpose’.

Gaps

A poor window installation manifests itself in several ways, but the most obvious of these is a visible gap between the frame and the sill. This means that the installer hasn’t measured properly, either when selecting a prefabricated window or measuring up for a bespoke window.

Draughts

Gaps don’t need to be visible to be problematic. If you notice that your home is a little breezier than it once was, your new windows may well be the source of the problem. In addition to feeling the draught itself, you will almost certainly notice a rise in your home’s energy consumption, as your heating struggles to compensate for the loss of warm air.

Find out how to check windows for air leaks here.

Water Damage

Those gaps won’t just allow cold air into your home; they’ll allow water to drip through, too. This will eventually cause water damage to the surrounding walls. If this happens you’ll see mould forming around the frame, peeling paintwork, and puffy wallpaper.

Condensation Between the Panels

A modern double glazed works by sandwiching a layer of inert gas between two glass panels. This arrangement reduces the conduction of heat from one side of the window to the other, but if the gas isn’t properly sealed in, it’ll escape. This will also allow water vapour to find its way into the cavity and condense into droplets – which are among the most common signs of a bad window installation. Once this has happened, it will be too late to do anything about it, so get the window replaced while it’s still in warranty.

Warranty

Good window manufacturers enjoy extremely low failure rates. This allows them to offer lengthy warranties. If you notice that your new window isn’t covered by a warranty, you’d be right to be alarmed, but note that most warranties stipulate that the window should be installed according to manufacturer guidelines. If yours isn’t, then you may not be covered. Note however that you’re still protected by the Consumer Rights Act even if your installer has managed to void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Sash Windows Don’t Close

In the case of sash windows, poor double glazing installation usually comes in the form of windows that don’t open and close properly. Sashes that aren’t properly aligned, or that are too large or small for the window, will stick as they move up and down. In the long-term, this will cause knock-on effects like damp and draughts.

What Do You Do About Poorly Installed Windows?

If you suspect that your double glazing isn’t up to scratch, it’s important to act fast. The sooner you put in a complaint, the quicker it’ll be resolved (and the more likely the resolution will be a positive one). Let’s run through the double glazing complaints procedure, step-by-step. For further detail, read this guide from Which?.

  1. Contact the firm that carried out the installation. The best way to do this is by phone. Confirm the problem and get them to agree to sort it, and by a specific date. Once you have this information, write to them confirming the details.
  2. If the firm hasn’t sorted the problem by the agreed date, it’s time to escalate. Contact them again and get them to agree to a ‘final’ date.
  3. If this doesn’t work then it’s time for an ultimatum. Write to them saying that you’re going to seek another installer if they don’t do the work within a given, short deadline. State that if you’re forced to take this action, you’ll seek compensation for the work costs through the courts.
  4. If you need to get another installer to correct the problem, you’ll need to collect evidence that your windows have been installed incorrectly, as well as evidence of how much it’s cost to correct the problem. This should include photographs of the faulty window installation, along with quotes for the repair or replacement work.
  5. It’s time to get your money back. Write to the original double glazing provider explaining the work that’s been done, and how much it’s cost. If they’ve allowed things to go this far, there’s a strong chance they might ignore you. If that happens, you’ll need to take them to court to get your money back.

There is a small fee payable to the small claims court, which you’ll need to pay in advance (you can read more about the small claims court here). HM Courts and Tribunals Service changed its online claim system in 2018 to make the process of applying a little bit easier. You’ll need to give the defendant a chance to either accept or dispute the claim. They’ll have 14 days to file an Acknowledgment of Service, and another 14 in which to file an actual defence. If you’ve followed the procedure outlined above, however, the chances of them disputing it are negligible.

Image credit 1Image credit 2

bow window

How to Replace a Sash Window Cord

A traditional pair of sash windows make a great match for older properties – and some newer ones, too.  They incorporate one or more movable panels (or ‘sashes’) which can be slid up and down to open and close the window.  These panels are counter-balanced by weights, which hang on cords concealed by the window frame.  What happens when one of these cords snaps?  The sash gets stuck.

Replacing these cords can be a little fiddly, and so once you’ve got the window open, you’ll want to swap them all at the same time.  And, while you’re at it, you might as well install insulation brush strips around the sashes.  Brushes will keep those pesky draughts at bay and safeguard the overall performance of your window.

Let’s consider how the job might be done.

1.      Assemble your tools

Before getting started, you’ll want to be sure you’ve a few items to hand.  These include:

  • A filling knife
  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • A volunteer
  • Some nails
  • A hammer
  • New cords. Waxed cotton is best: it’ll move smoothly and will last for ages.

2.      Remove the sashes

From the inside of the building, prise the beading from the frame using either a knife or flat-head screwdriver.  You’ll then be able to lift out the inner sash and see into the compartments that house the weights.

The covers will flip open with a little encouragement from your screwdriver – but if they’ve been painted over, you’ll need to cut them out.  Between the two sashes is another layer of beading.  Remove it in the same way and free the sash.

3.      Remove the old cord

Having disassembled the window, you’ll be able to remove the old cords.  Before attempting this, cut the weights off the end using scissors.  Having freed the cord, you’ll be able to easily pull it out.

4.      Install the replacement cord into the outer sash

Get your volunteer to hold one end of the new cord, and then feed it over the pulley beside the outer sash channel.  Once you’ve pushed it around, you’ll see it dangle on the other side.  Pull it down and tie it securely to the weight.  Now repeat the procedure on the other side.

For the cord to be the right length, the outer sash should be a few inches above the windowsill when the top of the weight hits the pulley.  Get your volunteer to hold it in position and then pull the cord until you hear the weight impact the pulley. Then, secure the cord into the cord grove using a nail.  Trim away any excess and then replace the central beading.

5.      Install the replacement cord into the inner sash

Next, you’ll want to install your replacement cord into the inner sash.  Attach the new cord with nails in the same way.  This time, the cord is the right length if the weight is at the top of the channel when the sash is all the way down.

6.      Put everything back together

Your final task is to reassemble the window.  Replace the weight covers first, tapping them into place with your hammer.  Then, replace the sashes and the beading.  If any have been damaged during removal, they’re inexpensive and widely available.  Check everything’s working properly, and apply a coat of paint if you feel it necessary.

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

Want to learn more about sash windows? Check out our other posts:

How to Paint a Sash Window (without it sticking)

Sash Windows: uPVC or Timber?

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

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 in conservation areas?

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.

Here at Windows & More, we offer a range of high quality timber windows which are sympathetic to the original style of windows in period properties. Our conservation windows include flush casement windows and sash windows – take a look or get in touch to find out more.

Image credit