Windows: Repair or Replace?


There’s a host of elements to think about when updating your home’s windows– specifically if you are living in a period home.


Your home’s windows are an essential part of its character. They work along with the external cladding and roofing products to form part of an architectural photo that sets the tone for the rest of the home. So if you’re taking on a renovation project and your fenestration requires attention, choosing exactly how to proceed is not something to be taken lightly.

In most situations, repairing and changing windows like-for-like is thought about permitted development (PD). This indicates you don’t usually have to get specific preparing approval, unless your project involves considerable changes.

Some councils are more versatile about this than others, so inspect what’s required. You might be expected to precisely match the style, products and method of opening of the originals before going ahead.

Note that bay windows are likely to be classed as extensions that require formal approval.

Repair work are typically also permissible in noted buildings– however replacement tends to be a little more strictly managed are needs noted structure consent. Modifications to the design or the insertion of double glazing in such properties will likewise need specific consent.

Fixing existing windows
If you’re handling a significant project that includes tired-looking windows, it can be easy to hurry into the idea of switching them out for brand-new products. This isn’t the only alternative, as damaged systems can typically be brought back into service by a skilled joiner or expert business.

Certainly, you may find that it makes more sense to refurbish what you’ve already got. This is especially real if you live in a period residential or commercial property, where preserving original examples could be key to preserving the house’s character and worth.

Even systems that seem decaying (telltale signs consist of flaking paint, sticking sashes and spongy wood that can be easily removed with a screwdriver) can be successfully reconditioned. Cills and lower rails are well-known weak points however are relatively easy to resolve. Depending on the level of the work, it might prove cheaper to repair rather than replace.

The precise procedure will depend on the problem at hand and underlying condition of the frame. Normally, any decaying timbers can be cut or routed back to sound wood and brand-new sections (moulded to match the originals) scarfed into the frame. These are then sealed and primed, prepared for design.

Developments in glazing enabled the Victorians to fit big one-over-one sash windows that maximise views and light.

Repairing draughty windows
Another typical problem that can develop over time is draughts. This is the most typical reason for substantial heat loss through old windows (much more so than through single glazing). Sometimes cracks and spaces might be plainly noticeable; in others there may be indications of mould or condensation that direct you towards the problem location.

There are 2 primary routes to upgrading. You might insert suitable draught proofing strips (most firms will do this as a matter of course while fixing windows). You could fit secondary glazing behind the system, on the internal side.

Both procedures will likewise help to lower noise issues and dust ingress. They represent the least intrusive methods to enhance comfort levels while protecting a home’s look.

Is it worth repairing standard windows?
Typically, substantial repair is just truly rewarding on heritage systems. There’s seldom much point in trying to restore a rotting 1980s softwood window, for example, as couple of items from this period are likely to be of a high sufficient quality to benefit refurbishment.

It could still prove cost-efficient to replace panes that are misting up with condensation (usually a result of harmed seals) rather than removing out the entire unit.

Worn away metal windows can likewise be brought back into good condition through professional processes, such as acid pickling or flame cleaning (note that rust expands, so it often looks worse than it truly is). Steel units struggling with bowing or similar concerns can in some cases be fixed with brand-new welded-in areas if required.

Changing windows
It isn’t always cost-effective to repair old systems; in some cases getting rid of them and starting once again is the only viable course. With duration properties, this is especially true if originals have actually previously been swapped out for low-cost, improper variations. This was regrettably a commonplace practice in the late 20th century.

In such cases, reinstating preferable fenestration might in fact add worth. It’s also a pretty safe bet if you have actually a property constructed post-1960 where the windows are no longer using great service (unless it’s a particularly amazing building that benefits a conservation method).

Like-for-like replacement will always be the path of least resistance from a preparation point of view. Depending upon your task, however, you may have the ability to gain consent for a different material or perhaps a more uncommon design (more on this later).

Note that all replacement windows come under the scope of the Building Regulations (whereas repair work are exempt from the guidelines).

The main thrust of the regs is to guarantee good thermal performance (through Part L1B) and minimum security standards (Part Q). When it comes to efficiency, the headline figures are that systems ought to achieve a minimum Window Energy Rating (WER) of Band C, or hit a threshold U-value (a procedure of heat loss) of 1.6 W/m2K.

Properly-installed factory-made double glazed items will constantly carry out to the necessary requirement. If you need a one-off bespoke system, any specialist company or joiner worth their salt need to understand the ins-and-outs of how to accomplish your performance requirements.

Materials options for replacement windows
One huge question when changing windows is the traditional argument of which frame product to choose. The leading competitors are wood, PVCu and metal– and each has its benefits when it concerns restoration projects.

Wood windows
Timber is a natural option for lots of plans, specifically where conservation issues are included or you have the budget plan to switch like-with-like. Few materials can match the natural appeal or toughness of wood– whether painted or stained, softwood or hardwood.

Modern factory-painted variations tend to come with assurances of at least 10 years on the finish. Provided they’re kept appropriately they should last in excess of 60 years prior to replacement is needed. Timber can be used to attain a range of designs and surfaces, with the flexibility to deliver the thin glazing bars that tend to match duration properties.

Wood is also a natural insulator, so usually uses a somewhat enhanced whole-unit U-value compared to other products. It doesn’t come cheap, however: expect to pay at least ₤ 200 per m2 for untreated softwood systems. Pre-painted wood windows begin with around ₤ 300 per m2, whilst wood variations can cost substantially more.

PVCu windows
PVCu windows are always going to be a strong contender for budget-conscious renovators (rates start from around ₤ 150 per m2).

Design-wise, these advances also suggest plastic frames can be a much better fit in period homes than they were a decade earlier. This is mostly due to the fact that profiles are getting thinner. That said, they still can’t quite match timber and aluminium.

Metal windows
Metal items are likewise exceptionally low-maintenance, with alternatives including galvanised steel, bronze and powder-coated aluminium. They provide the slimmest sightlines of all, which can look wonderful in both standard and modern settings. This will also maximise the amount of natural light that filters into your house’s interiors.

You’ll pay for the privilege (rates begin with around ₤ 300 per m2), but you’ll get the benefit of a high-quality item with a service life of a minimum of 45 years.

You can likewise purchase composite windows that integrate timber with aluminium cladding. This offers the best of both worlds: heat internally and a low-maintenance external surface.

Changing configurations
If you’re replacing windows anyhow, you might wish to reassess the kind and function of your fenestration. PD rights can enable you to change, enlarge and place brand-new systems in an existing structure– offered they look similar to those in the main house.

Check with your local council how far you can go, and whether a formal planning application might be needed. This is most likely to be required if you prepare to alter the design considerably. Remember you will require different authorisation for this kind of task if you’re dealing with a noted residential or commercial property.

Changes such as including floor-to-ceiling glazing at the rear of an existing home might change the way you connect with your living space. Key objectives consist of allowing more natural light to flood the interiors and creating a better connection with the garden.

If you’re starting a duration renovation, keep in mind significant intervention can affect the fabric of the structure. Take on the works carefully to make sure heritage surfaces are maintained.

A note on ventilation
Historical buildings were built as ‘breathable’ entities, allowing wetness to wick through the structural fabric and, ultimately, evaporate. Good ventilation is important to preserving this scenario.

Draught proofing or switching to sealed modern systems can cut out a possible source of air infiltration. However, in isolation, updating windows is extremely not likely to prevent the structure breathing effectively.

Provided you take basic preventative measures– such as avoiding modern impermeable paints and making sure suitable natural or artificial sources of ventilation exist in kitchens, bathrooms and comparable zones– there should be no concerns.

If you need your Windows Repaired – Camden Glass 24/7 are here for all your Double Glazing Repairs.

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