Conservation casement windows on a snowy cottage

What Are Conservation Windows?

Flush casement windows

Conservation windows are fitted to period properties, or properties within conservation areas that are required to adhere to strict requirements. These requirements are listed in a conservation order created and upheld by the local authority.

A conservation window should be sympathetic to the style period of the property. Timber flush casement windows and flush sash windows are a great way of retaining the character and charm of a period property. The interpretation of conservation can be ambiguous and you will need to rely on the advice of your local conservation officer.

For conservation windows, extra options such as the addition of glazing bars to mimic cast iron bars on Victorian windows should be available.

With timber frames, there is a choice of softwood or hardwood. There may also be a heritage colour palette, which may feature colour choices approved by local authorities to fit with the setting. New windows that replace or imitate period windows should meet today’s standards and regulations and should not compromise on thermal efficiency or security.

You should check that any new timber frames are backed by a rot and fungal guarantee for peace of mind.

Always speak with your local conservation officer before making a purchase to ensure you are in line with the specific needs of your project.

Of course, conservation windows aren’t just for period properties within conservation areas. What better way to inject some character into a modern build than with beautifully crafted timber windows?

What is a Conservation Area?

Casement windows in conservation area

A conservation area has been designated as an area of important historical interest and therefore worthy of preservation.

Conservation areas are usually parts of a town or village protected in terms of town planning, trees, landscaping and building. In a conservation area, the local authority will hold a conservation order. A conservation order is a list of regulations that need to be met before any new developments can be approved and signed off. To meet the requirements of a conservation order, a new installation or replacement must blend seamlessly into its surroundings. A large part of this depends on the use of materials and construction methods.

If your installation does not satisfy your conservation officer’s stipulations, they can order it to be removed.

If your installation does not satisfy your conservation officer’s stipulations, they can order it to be removed. It is very important to consult with your local conservation officer prior to carrying out any work. They can help you understand the criteria you need to meet.

How do I know if I live in a conservation area?

To find out if you live in a conservation area, contact your local planning authority (LPA) (opens in a new window). They will be able to tell you why the area was designated. They will also map where the area extends to and explain the level of legal protection in place.

If you have any questions about conservation windows, please contact our friendly, fully trained staff who are on hand to help.

See also:

Fully Compliant Conservation Windows

Conservation Casement Elegant Windows 

Guarantees on Conservation Windows

Frosted glass window

Feng Shui for Windows

You might have heard that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Well, when it comes to Feng Shui, the reverse is true: the windows are the eyes of your home. Their job is to allow you to see what’s outside, and to allow light into the home. According to this ancient Chinese school of thought, windows also allow chi to enter and exit the home; and this is certain to impact your life in several essential ways.

If you’re not a spiritual or superstitious person, this may sound like a load of hooey to you, but Feng Shui generally results in balanced minimalist interiors that anyone can enjoy. And if you are interested in it, then you’ll be happy to know that we’re going to look at Feng Shui theory and how it relates to windows in particular.

What is Feng Shui?

Before we go any further, let’s quickly define what it is. As we touched on before, it is an ancient philosophy originating from China with roots going back over 6,000 years. It is a system of laws that governs over buildings, particular the way they are designed to allow for a healthy flow of energy (or ‘chi’). It’s not just the building itself, but also includes the interior too. Some of it is based around superstition that certain things will bring you bad luck, but overall is part of a wider philosophy that emphasises balance, harmony and minimalism.

So what does Feng Shui have to say about the way we use windows in our home? Let’s take a look.

Getting the Right Balance

As with most things in the world of Feng Shui, obtaining the right balance is critical. Windows that are too large will seem overwhelming; windows that are too small will make everything seem dingy. Good Feng Shui practice for windows might mean casements or sash windows, provided that they aren’t too tall and narrow – as this will limit the opportunities which enter the home. With that said, the top of your window should still be taller than the tallest person in the home.

What Shape Should a Window Be?

Either casement or sash windows can sit right with the rules of Feng Shui. However, there’s a rule against inward-opening windows. Outward opening windows are thought to improve your career, increase the amount of fresh air and releases any foul air once opened. Angular windows are, according to the rules of Feng Shui, best for workplaces and public buildings, while rounder ones are more peaceful, and therefore better for the home.

Beds Under Windows?

The bed-under-window superstition is perhaps one of the most well-known Feng Shui guidelines. It’s inconvenient, particularly in smaller bedrooms – but we have to consider that these rules were composed before the invention of double-glazing, and thus there was always a chance that something might have fallen onto the sleeping person from outside. Nevertheless, if you want to stick by the rules, it’s worth moving the bed to the opposite side of the room – that way you’ll be able to put a radiator underneath the window and give the warm air a chance to properly circulate.

Window Placement

If windows and doors are directly aligned, then energy will tend to ‘rush’ through the home. This is especially so when the doors and windows are just a short distance from one another. So, ideally, you don’t want to be stepping out of one room to be confronted immediately by a window. When doors and windows are placed so close to one another that they actually touch when opened, this creates an effect known as ‘arguing’ – this will spell trouble and conflict for everyone living in the home.

Kitchens and bathrooms are considered important from a Feng Shui perspective, and thus deserving of more than one window. In modern homes, which come with extractor fans, this isn’t much of a practical concern – but it’s still worth thinking about if you want to be comprehensively Feng Shui.

sound waves

Which Type of Glazing for Noise Reduction?

There are several different sorts of glazed window available. There are traditional single-paned windows, which comprise just the one sheet of glass. Then there are the popular double-glazed units, which sandwich a layer of inert gas (or vacuum) between two glass panels. If you want to go even further, there are even triple-glazed windows which add another layer of glass (and another layer of inert gas).

The more layers, the more thermally insulated it is. But what if you’re concerned with sound pollution, too? Well, the good news is that certain sorts of window will offer considerable protection from unwanted noises. But which is best? And what alternatives are available?

Which Window Glazing is Best for Noise Reduction?

Will Double and Triple Glazing Reduce Noise?

A double-glazed window will reduce noise more than a single-glazed one. Triple glazing tends to be no more effective than double glazing when it comes to sound insulation, if you are keeping the thickness of the window the same. Thinner sheets of glass will vibrate more easily, and if the volume of air is the same, then there’ll be no real difference in sound conductivity. In practice, triple glazed windows contain more glass – and since sound travels more easily through solids than gases, they conduct noise more easily.

Will Secondary Glazing Reduce Noise?

If one window will reduce noise, then two windows placed back to back will reduce it even further. In fact, secondary glazing is even more effective when the glass used is of a different thickness. It’ll resonate at different frequencies, causing a more complete deadening effect.

Window Glazing Costs

Different sorts of glazing will incur different costs. Triple-glazed windows are far more intricate and complex than double-glazed ones, which tends to mean more expense. You can expect to pay around 50% more for a triple glazed window than a double-glazed one.

The material used for the frame will also influence the cost of the window. Aluminium windows and timber windows tend to sit at the more expensive end of the scale, but they do look better than uPVC ones – which, while more affordable, aren’t quite as strong, and thus need to be made thicker. When you’re making this decision, you should factor in the money that you’ll save over time as your energy bills go down.

Generally speaking, the more windows that you elect to have fitted at the same time, the more economical things get. Installers must factor in the time spent travelling to and from your property, and thus getting everything done at once tends to be cost effective.

How Can I Soundproof a Window?

Of course, replacing an entire window can be very expensive. If you’d like to reduce the volume without spending a packet, then there are a few simple steps you can take.

Firstly, you might dress your windows with heavier curtains – and then, crucially, draw them. You might then examine the edge of the window for any gaps, and seal them. Finally, you might consider covering the window with a screen – or even secondary glazing. If you live in a conservation area, this latter option might make a fantastic alternative to traditional double-glazing.

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Plant on a window ledge

Window Treatments for Autumn 2019

A great set of windows deserves the right treatment. Modern homeowners can avail themselves of an unprecedented range of options: there are half a dozen sorts of blinds to choose from, along with curtains of varying weights and colours. You might even decide to go for one set of each!

Types of Window Treatments

Given the variety of window-dressings available, it’s worth taking the time to acquaint ourselves with a few of the more popular options. We’ll start with blinds, and then move to curtains.

Roller Blinds

A rolled up tube of fabric that unfurls from the top of your window and retracts into a small space. This won’t entirely cover your window, but it is lightweight and practical.

Venetian Blinds

These are the horizontal strips which can be rotated to adjust the amount of light reaching the interior. They can be wooden or metal, with the latter offering a little more flexibility.

Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds work in the same way as Venetians, except that they hang in vertical strips rather than in horizontal ones.

Roman Blinds

Romans function a bit like roller blinds, except they’re heavier, and not on a roller. You’ll need a bit of space at the top of your window to accommodate them, otherwise they’ll prevent light from getting inside even when they’re fully open.

Voile Curtains

Voile curtains are made from an extremely lightweight, usually white, fabric. This means that it can ensure your privacy while still allowing natural light in. Voiles are often used in combination with other sorts of curtain.

Blackout Curtains

Some curtains come equipped with a layer of thick fabric sewn into the rear, called a blackout lining. This prevents sunlight from getting in. This is ideal if you’re looking to enjoy a film during the day-time, or catch up on some sleep. Blackout linings will also reduce heat loss, making them the energy-efficient choice.

Window Treatments Trends

So what’s in vogue in the world of blinds and curtains in autumn 2019? As ever, homeowners are concerned about the financial cost of heating their homes – but, to an unprecedented degree, they’re also concerned about the environmental cost. As such, blackout curtains are just as popular as ever they were.

When it comes to curtains, mustard yellow is a bold choice but a popular one this season, and works best with matching accents in throw cushions, and otherwise neutral-toned walls and furniture. On the other hand, you might go in the opposite direction: if your walls are already looking on the loud side, you can tone things down by going to black, white or grey curtains, which we’ve seen cropping up a lot on our design feeds.

If you’re looking to do something with blinds, then a set of Roman blinds with a busy pattern is on-point at the moment, as are the wooden Venetian blinds, which work well for kitchen spaces where fabrics don’t work so well.

Your taste in window dressing will be as individual as you are. Moreover, those tastes are likely to change over time – so if you’re going to go bold, be sure that you appreciate that doing so is inherently risky. Having said that, you won’t achieve the interior of your dreams without taking a little bit of a risk!

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.

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Bedroom

Do Glass Windows Protect against UV Rays?

Ultraviolet radiation refers to light that is at a higher frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum than the light we can see. It’s notorious for being bad for your skin and eyesight, for being associated with various sorts of cancer, and for causing sunburn.

If you’re shopping for a new window, these are all things which should concern you. Does ultraviolet light pass through glass in the same way that visible light does? And, perhaps more importantly, can you get sunburnt from sitting beside the window? These are the questions we’ll be tackling in this article.

Do UV Rays Go Through Glass?

The answer is a little bit complicated. Not only are there different sorts of glass with different properties, but there are different sorts of UV light, too.

Shorter-wavelength UV-B rays are easily excluded, but longer-wavelength UV-A rays can easily pass through a normal glass window.

If you’re wondering, there is such a thing as UV-C – but these wavelengths tend to get blocked by the atmosphere before they even strike the surface of the planet. So, that’s one less thing to worry about!

Can You Burn Through Windows?

Common glass windows in your car, home, office and in our range will block almost all UV rays that reach the Earth. Glass does struggle with UV-A rays as mentioned before, so whilst you may not feel burning, the UV-A rays can still cause damage to your skin. However, in the UK, you’re going to have to be sat by a sunny window for a long time for that to happen. If you are going to be by a window on a sunny day for hours and your skin is quite sensitive, then some sun block won’t hurt.

Sunburn, moreover, is just one type of skin damage that can result from excess UV exposure; certain sorts of people will be vulnerable to increased freckling and photodermatitis (a skin condition exacerbated by exposure to light).

For an average person in the UK, you really don’t have to worry about burning through your windows on a sunny day. But UV radiation and its effects on the skin aren’t to be ignored. Take care in sunny conditions and always err on the side of caution. Remember also, that you can get sunburnt on a cloudy day.

Of course, some of us deliberately seek out the sun in pursuit of a healthy-looking tan. We’ve covered how windows can contribute to tanning in a previous blog, so be sure to check that out.

Another factor we haven’t considered is that the UK doesn’t receive all that much sunlight – so unless you’re sitting in a conservatory for hours on the south side of a building, you’re unlikely to suffer much. While obviously being true, this fact doesn’t stop UV rays from being damaging. If you’re fortunate enough to work in a greenhouse all day (or unfortunate enough to work at a computer besides a sun-facing window) then it’s important that you aren’t blasé about the damage the sun can inflict. Draw the blinds (or apply some sun lotion) and give yourself peace of mind!

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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.

Tree in a field on a sunny day

How to Recycle Window Glass

Glass recycling isn’t exactly a new idea. Hopefully you will have been using your local bottle banks for many years now, and recycling all your sauce jars and bottles wherever and whenever you can. But this isn’t the only sort of glass that can be recycled: the stuff in your window is just as amenable to being melted down, reformed, and ultimately reused.

Can You Recycle Window Glass?

There are a few differences between the glass in your windows and the glass that makes bottles. Window glass is treated using a special combination of heat and chemicals. This makes it more difficult to break, and also gives it a higher melting point. Moreover, when it does melt, those chemicals leak out – which if you’re creating new glass products designed for food and drink storage, is a considerable problem.

The long and short of all of this is that window glass can’t be mixed with general glass recycling. It can be either used to make more windows, or it can be ground into a powder and then used as a bulking agent in cement and concrete. This means putting in a special recycling bin. In the developing world, this requires infrastructure which simply isn’t yet in place. In the UK and Europe, however, the story is a little different. A Europe-wide project is currently underway, which aims to make the recycling of this sort of glass economically viable, and thereby spread the practice.

Recycling Glass Windows

So, you might be asking, how do I get rid of old windows? You have several options available, but the most straightforward is locate your nearest recycling centre and make a trip down there.

Where Can You Recycle Glass Windows?

The chances are good that you’ve a suitable glass-recycling facility within a few miles of where you’re now sitting. British Glass provide a useful tool which will help you to locate your nearest. Give them a call before you turn up, and check that they’ll take your window, and that they’re open to non-locals. You might find that you have other recyclable materials at home that can be disposed of on the same trip.

Re-using the glass

On the other hand, you might decide that you can re-use the glass elsewhere in your home. You might be able to extract the glass from your window and turn it into a cabinet, a tabletop, a picture frame, or even outdoor flooring. In the case of the latter, you’re going to be shattering the window into fragments, and leaving it to set on top of setting cement. When the whole thing is set, you can grind the thing down into a smooth, safe surface.

Obviously, this sort of thing is inherently dangerous, and requires that you take adequate precautions. Use protective goggles, gloves, and make sure that you sweep up any fragments or dust when you’re done.

Selling the Window

Of course, most of us will hesitate before going to all of this effort – particularly if we’re not all that creative. But you might find that someone else in your vicinity has a use for your old window, even if you don’t. Making a listing on a site like Gumtree or Facebook is free and may yield results. Perhaps someone needs a new window for their shed, or perhaps there’s a local artist who specialises in glass!

timber sash window

How Many Windows Are There in the World?

Over the course of any given day, we’re asked all manner of questions about windows. Some of them come up frequently, and have straightforward answers which we’ve written about on these very pages. But there are other, more difficult window-related questions which can be a little bit trickier.

Candidates in job interviews are sometimes attacked with the age-old ‘how many windows are there in a given area’ question. It’s designed to test your ability to think logically under pressure. It’s also pretty unfair. But we’re not going to leave high-flying job applicants squirming; we’re experts on all things window-related, and so we’ll try to shed some light on the matter.

What do we need to know to work out how many windows there are in the world?

It’s impossible, of course, to give a precise answer to this question. But we can do a little arithmetic based on a few carefully-considered assumptions, and come up with a serviceable estimate.

One factor we have a decent knowledge of is the number of people in the world. We can put this at around 7.7 billion, but for the sake of easy maths we can call it eight. Now all we need to work out is how many windows there are per person, and we’re set.

But we’ve just kicked the can down the road, here, because we’re no way of knowing how many windows there are per person. If you’re living in some parts of the developing world, your house might have just a single window shared between a dozen people. If we say that the average family has four members (ranging from one-person households to those with thirty or more), that means 2 billion households. We might say that the average house has around ten windows, which puts us at twenty billion. Plug in a few more accurate statistics and this figure may rise and fall dramatically, but it’s still a number.

Where things get really messy

Of course, this doesn’t account for government buildings, hotels, swimming pools, hospitals or offices. Nor does it account for the windows which haven’t yet been installed, and sit in factories, warehouses, and in showroom floors. Any what about the windows that have just been taken out and dumped in landfills?

And what about greenhouses? Do they count as one giant window, or several dozen small ones? For that matter, are we just talking about windows attached to buildings, or windows in general? Do car windows count? The average car has six of them – so if your household has two cars, you might have doubled the number of windows per household. And what about buses, trains, boats and aeroplanes, each of which can have hundreds of windows?

But not all glass panels count as windows. Obviously, a pair of eyeglasses should not count towards our estimate. But what about the sides of an aquarium? Is that a window, or is it just a big glass panel through which we look at fish?

Clearly, this is a problem just as much of definitions as it is of maths. So, the answer we’d suggest, if you’ve faced with this fiendish problem, is to say fifty billion. It’s not the right answer, but it is a plausible one. Of course, there may then come follow-up questions. But if you’re sure to mention all of the complicating factors that we’ve mentioned, you may look as though you’ve given the question at least a bit of thought. Besides, some interviewers might just be looking for an admission of ignorance: there is no good answer, and it might be worth fronting up and saying so!

Cleaning a wooden window

How to Clean Windows with Newspaper

Regular cleaning is essential if windows are to look their best. This will ensure not only that your view of the outside isn’t partially obscured by a thin veneer of grime, but that natural light can percolate through your interior to the greatest possible extent. There’s nothing more likely to liven up your living room than a healthy dose of natural light, courtesy of a set of clean glass windows!

One of the most popular ways of cleaning windows is with the help of old, scrunched up newspaper. This is among the most low-cost cleaning supplies, with many of us getting a paper through the door every week for absolutely nothing.

But what’s the best way to clean windows using old newspaper? Let’s take a look!

Using Newspaper to Clean Windows

As always, we’ll need to first assemble a few ingredients. In this case, there aren’t that many. You’ll need:

  • Newspaper (any will do)
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Washing-up liquid
  • A spray-bottle

For our purposes, we’re going to concoct a tried-and-tested home-brew cleaning solution. If you’d prefer, you can go out and buy one that’s been specially formulated (albeit at greater cost). But white vinegar is inexpensive and will break down all of the grime on your windows in moments, and thus it makes a fantastic solution for most circumstances.

First, we’re going to formulate our home cleaning solution. This can consist of a few drops of washing-up liquid, alongside a 1:3 mixture of white vinegar and water. You can experiment with the proportions for best results. Load it into a spray bottle and give it a vigorous shake before you get started.

Follow these steps to clean your windows effectively with newspaper:

  1. Apply the cleaning formula to the glass. It’s important to be cautious, here; vinegar has a habit of discolouring hardwood furniture and other surfaces, so we want to be sure that we only get it onto the glass. Apply in small patches at the middle of the window.
  2. Now, we can scrub the cleaner into the glass. Move in a small circle to begin with, so that the paper absorbs most of the cleaner. Then you can move onto larger vertical strokes from the top to the bottom of the window. Apply more cleaner as required.
  3. Using this method, clean every window as required, front and back. When you’re done, you should have a shining, transparent surface.

So, what makes newspaper so effective? Put simply, it’s rough enough to be very slightly abrasive. This makes it great at dislodging all of the tiny particles of dirt that, over the course of a week, will find their way onto the glass of your window, and it won’t leave fibres behind in the same way as toilet paper might. Of course, we might say the same about standard sheets of A4 – but newspaper is by far the more economical option!