Windows are one of the most prominent features on the exterior of a property. This means that ensuring windows are of a high quality and aesthetically pleasing can vastly improve the kerb appeal.
However, before you go ahead and replace the windows, there are some important things to check.
Do the windows need replacing?
One of the benefits of timber windows is that general wear and tear and minor damage can easily be repaired. If maintained properly and at regular intervals, timber windows can last hundreds of years before requiring replacement.
If the windows let draughts into the building but are otherwise in a good condition, you may be able to draught-proof and overhaul the existing windows rather than replacing them. This will help improve the energy efficiency of the windows at a fraction of the cost of replacing them.
Alternatively, it may be that only the sashes require replacement or you may be looking to install double glazing in windows that are still in a good condition. If this is the case, fitting new sashes into the existing window frames can be cheaper and less disruptive than installing completely new windows.
Are the new windows ‘period’-appropriate?
Where the original windows cannot be repaired, any replacements should be as sympathetic as possible to the original design. Installing the wrong windows can drastically reduce the value of your property and make the windows stand out for all the wrong reasons.
If the property is listed or in an article 4 conservation area, planning permission will be required for any new windows, and it will normally be a legal requirement to ensure that any new windows are ‘period’-appropriate.
Ensuring you install period-appropriate windows will involve ensuring that both the material and design style, such as any sash horns and the number of glazing bars, is correct. A specialist, traditional window company should be able to work with you to help design and manufacture period-appropriate windows for your project.
What material should you use?
The material can make a large difference to the aesthetics of a building. Traditional properties often suit timber windows as they are more period-appropriate.
When maintained and painted properly, timber windows can last for over 100 years. High-quality timber windows can offer great durability and energy efficiency.
However, not all timbers offer the same benefits. When looking to replace windows, it is therefore important to check the durability and stability of the timber. Accoya is a popular choice as it is extremely durable, has high stability and comes with a 50-year anti-rot guarantee.
What type of glass do you require?
When choosing the type of glass, you will want to consider whether you are looking to achieve anything from the glass. For example, are there any thermal, acoustic and aesthetic requirements?
There are lots of different glass options to choose from, covering a wide range of applications. Don’t be misled into having standard types of glass if there is something specific that needs to be achieved.
For example, simply replacing single glazing for double glazing doesn’t always necessarily reduce noise. But using acoustic glass can help make a difference. Some of the most common specialist glass choices include patterned glass, acoustic glass, safety/security glass and toughened glass.
Remember too that there are legal requirements with regards to safety glass that will need to be met for windows in certain locations.
Choosing a supplier
Make sure that you leave enough time to order the windows for your project. The best companies can get very busy, especially if their products are made to order, and will often be booked up several months in advance. You don’t want to have to settle for a lower quality product because the best companies are already fully booked.
As all traditional windows are bespoke, not all companies will be able to manufacture traditional windows sympathetically to suit a period property. This means that it is important to ensure the company has experience working on period homes before ordering any new windows for a renovation.
It is important to check and query their guarantees – they should be able to tell you exactly what is and isn’t covered by each of the guarantees, as no individual guarantee will cover everything.
Finally, it is also important to check a potential supplier’s accreditations. Check whether the company are members of the British Woodworking Federation or the SafeContractor scheme. The SafeContractor scheme shows that the business’ health and safety documentation is up to date and meets recognised industry standards, which will be important if they are working on your project.