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How To Properly Maintain Your Heritage Doors & Windows

If you own a historic or listed building you probably have your work cut out trying to conserve and maintain the integrity of the building. You may not be able to change any of the building's original features or install things such as double-glazing. However, there’s plenty you can do to maintain your heritage doors and windows. We all would like our heritage features to last decades, but unless you put in some effort to keep them well-maintained they can easily deteriorate.


Whether you are restoring or renovating your listed building, you may be considering replacement doors and windows or ways to maintain the original heritage windows. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about heritage window and door maintenance.



Sash window

Listed property grades

The criteria for listed buildings are as follows:


- Buildings built before 1700 in near original condition

- Built between 1700 and 1850

- Built after 1945 but is of significant architectural interest


If you are planning restoration work on Listed or Conservation Zone properties, you should approach your local authority before starting work. Conservation officers check proposals and assess if permission is required.


What window repairs can be completed on listed buildings?

If you require minor repairs on your listed building windows, these are usually allowed without permission. This includes painting frames, draught sealing and overhauling. If you have timber frames that require minor repairs are fine, however, if they require major work or replacement you’ll need permission. Furthermore, new glazing can be fitted as long as it is of similar thickness to the original glass.


As long as the work carried out is for restoring, not altering the building is fine. You’ll only require permission for extensive work and you should reach out to your local council before proceeding.


How to maintain heritage windows and doors

Heritage windows are often beautiful features of a home or building, which is why you may want to preserve them as much as possible before choosing replacement doors and windows. If you do want to learn more about heritage door and window maintenance, here are our tips:


Inspect your windows and doors regularly

You’ll need to keep an eye on your heritage windows and doors to see how well they are lasting. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather or lots of rain, your window frames can deteriorate quicker than other places. Furthermore, if you notice any cracks in the glazing or any signs of rot or woodworm, you’ll need to fix the problem before it becomes a larger issue. Give your windows and doors a quick once over every now and then and you’ll easily be able to notice any issues.


Replace broken window glazing

If you do notice any cracks or chips in the glazing of your heritage windows, it’s best not to ignore this. Not only will it be unsightly, but it will also be inefficient and a safety hazard. In order to make heritage windows more efficient and satisfy the planning authorities, you may need to use ultra-thin vacuum glass. This is more efficient and better looking than standard double-glazing and will make your home feel warmer while still keeping its traditional look.


Painting and coating

When restoring or installing your windows or doors, always choose the best materials. If you need to refresh the paint use microporous paints that allow the wood to breathe and stop water penetration. Using this paint ensures that it expands with the wood without damage, so the protective coating is able to do its job for longer. You’ll need to reapply these coatings around every 10 years, however, it is a quick and easy fix and your windows will look like new again.


Repairing frames

The best material for a long-lasting window frame is timber. It is also the material that will best suit a listed building and is more likely to be approved by authorities. uPVC is also a good option, in terms of longevity, however it can become brittle. Timber is usually the better option as long as it is well-maintained. A well-treated timber frame will give a longer service and can often last as long as 50 years. The right wood and treatment will not suffer from shrinkage, swelling or rot and will be impervious to water ingress.


Repair broken window parts

Heritage windows have many complex parts that can be hard to replace. Systems of weights and pulleys riding in pockets on the sides of windows, commonly seen on older windows that can easily become broken. You may find yourself seeking repairs for these parts in order to restore your windows. You’ll need to find a window specialist who has experience with listed buildings as well as a precise hand to ensure no more damage is done to your heritage window.


Consider new window installations

If you find your windows are constantly requiring repairs or your attempts at maintenance aren’t working, you may need to seek replacement doors and windows. It’s important you seek a window installation company that has experience with heritage and listed buildings and gain permission from local authorities before you replace windows on your listed building. Heritage slimline double glazing is a great option because it offers the perfect solution for listed and heritage buildings that require window and door replacements. The thin glass is in line with the requirements for most listed buildings and allows you the benefits of double-glazing.


Should I replace or repair my listed building windows?

If your older listed building has timber windows, you’ll usually find that repair and maintenance is the best option, many replacements take place when actually repairs would have been the best choice. The timber used in homes pre-1919 is of high quality and cut from older trees, which means there is a lower percentage of sapwood present which creates the perfect conditions for fungus. Newer timber frames are more prone to wood rot, so you should avoid replacing your heritage windows unless absolutely necessary. Even if your older window shows signs of rot, it can usually be repaired easily.


Furthermore, you’ll find that restoration, maintenance, rejoining and overhauling will always be cheaper than replacement, so it is usually the more favourable option. Avoid uPVC double glazing as these will not be permissible in Grade II buildings and well-maintained timber windows will usually outlast uPVC replacements.


Find a reputable company to install heritage double-glazing

If you want to replace your heritage windows with heritage slimline double glazing then you need to find a reputable provider who is able to work on listed buildings. A standard double-glazing window specialist won’t have the experience or materials to work on listed or heritage buildings. As it is important to maintain the original features of the building, you’ll need a window installation specialist who knows what is required to work on older buildings.


The best way to find the right company is to speak to your neighbours or other people you know who have listed buildings. They will be able to recommend which company they used for their replacement doors and windows and you can find out if they are worth using. You can also check reviews and testimonials online to see what other people thought of their service, this is one of the best ways to know whether you can trust the provider. Finally, you should reach out to the window company and discuss your requirements with them. Let them know what repairs and maintenance you require or if you need a full replacement for your doors and windows. By talking about what you need, the specialist will be able to tell you if this is something they are able to do and you can go from there.


London Sash Windows & Doors is your quality provider of heritage window and door replacements. If you’re looking for a reputable heritage window company, look no further. Our team is experienced in heritage and listed buildings so we know exactly what it takes to maintain, restore and replace heritage windows and doors. To learn more, get in touch with our team today. We will be happy to discuss your requirements.

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