When old windows are better than new windows

If you are the owner of an older home or strata unit you should really consider upgrading and double glazing your timber window.

Lack of compliance for new build strata has been in the headlines recently, with the evacuation of the Opal and Mascot buildings in NSW and fires in multi-storey buildings in Melbourne attributed to structural and build defects.

Deakin & Griffith University research on Australia’s east coast has also revealed multiple building defects with cladding, fire protection and water proofing the most common.

What will emerge next? With new houses having been built at a rate of knots as well, why would compliance, and for that matter the materials, be any better for houses than strata? Will similar issues occur with detached housing?

This leads to the question of why don’t we hear about, or seem to have these problems, with older building stock? Evidence that these problems don’t exist, at least to the same extent, with older building stock is supported by recent comments from Philip Gall, Chair of Owners Corporation Network in NSW, who is quoted as saying

“…. (do) not be tempted to buy a new apartment over three levels. Think about older, simpler, three-level walk-up options”.

There are multiple messages in this, one being that older buildings were built better, compliance checked and the materials have a longer work life.

When it comes to the quality of materials used in older buildings, wooden sash windows have stood the test of time -, 60, 80 even 100+ years. They may have a patina, a few bashes and bruises, they may have thin glass, rattle and be draughty, however, fundamentally they are in very sound condition because the wood is old growth, dense fibre material with residual oils that resists rot. In addition, they were assembled by craftsmen to last and be repaired over time.

So if you are an owner of an older home or strata unit and you are thinking about ways to improve your comfort and energy efficiency from your old wooden windows think twice (at least) about full window replacement. Even if you replace your wooden windows with new wooden ones with upgraded glazing, that wood will definitely not be the same quality and nor will it last anywhere as long as the original windows.

The wood in old wooden windows is actually irreplaceable. Never to be harvested again by humans because it’s so old and rare to find now. It would make no sense to trash a rare piece of wooden furniture and throw it into a landfill. The same is true of wooden windows, especially given that they are an important architectural feature of the building which you have paid a lot of money for. But guess what? Lots of wooden windows are being thrown away, filling up our landfills, in favour of plastic, aluminium and second grade new wooden windows that will never last as long.

At Sealasash we have solutions to retain the original windows, upgrade thermal and acoustic performance, make them work like they never worked before so that you will live in comfort and your investment and our built heritage is protected.

If you would like to talk to a timber window expert who understands all your options, and who will listen to your priorities, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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