As people who repair and upgrade old wooden windows, we love taking clapped out old windows and bringing them back to their full glory.
Most people are surprised that it usually isn’t necessary to replace them.
But we also know that there are times when you need to buy a new wooden window. For example:
- When installing an extra window into a new opening or extension in an existing house.
- When original windows have already been replaced in the past with poor quality windows.
- Very rare cases where windows are genuinely beyond economical repair and have less historical/heritage value.
- When existing windows are manufactured in or after the 1970s (if they are already rotting badly, they were never well made, and often can’t be repaired to a high standard economically).
We have seen many customers buy new windows, only to be disappointed in their quality, durability and energy efficiency. You’d be surprised how often we are called in to work on windows that are only 20 years old, and which have failed because of poor design, poor quality materials, and sometimes poor construction.
Here are some tips for when you need to buy new windows:
- Specify windows made with Accoya wood or if possible top quality re-used wood for exceptional durability, sustainability and dimensional stability.
- Specify windows with draught seals in staff beads, parting beads and meeting rails. To have new wooden windows made without seals is a waste of money and less efficient.
- Use a supplier who will match the decorative profile of the new windows to the original windows (if any).
- Double glazing does not equal performance – do some research to understand how to get your glazing specification right. Tell the supplier what glazing specification you want rather than taking their default advice.
- Go and see actual examples of windows made by the company you are engaging and inspect the quality of their draught seals. Don’t just leave it to chance – we almost never see a new heritage reproduction window with proper draught seals. It is common for us to see double glazed new wooden windows without any draught seals!! The seals are a major factor in thermal and comfort improvement.
- Buy your window painted by the manufacturer. It will save you a lot of time, avoids potential damage to new glass and seals, and you will get a better result than if you get a painter in afterwards.
- When considering price, make sure you factor in installation, painting and repair to the surrounding wall. This can be costly in addition to the new windows themselves.
- Ask the manufacturer and installer if the sashes will open to provide the benefit of full air circulation (e.g. for double hung windows the top and bottom should always be able to open).
- Do not buy double-hung windows with a jamb liner mechanism. They are awful and can never be made better.
- Avoid double-hung windows with a spiral balance mechanism. They never work very well and are not durable mechanisms.
- If buying a double-hung window, choose cords and pulleys or a shugg mechanism
And remember – if your other original windows can be repaired, do it!
A window that has been rained on for 100 years might look shabby. But once it’s restored it can work better and last 100 years longer than a draughty new window that might be rotting to pieces in 15 years.