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Window

If you look up from reading this page, you are likely to be looking at a window. Windows are all around us, and most of the time we take them for granted.

These days many windows are constructed in either aluminium or Upvc and double glazed panels serve to reduce heat losses. Windows prior to the 1980’s were mainly formed in timber and had single glazing. I can remember the frost on the inside of old galvanised windows when I was a boy.

Chris Ennis, Property Doctor, Chartered Surveyor
Chris Ennis, Property Doctor

My father waged a constant battle to repair defective timber sub framing. These days there are few such windows remaining in prosperous Sussex.

Replacement windows

When it was appreciated the extent of heat losses through glazing, secondary windows found public favour. These were only partially successful, and the first complete replacement window systems were sold. I remember thinking that these would be a commercial disaster, but of course I was proved wrong and many fortunes have been made (and probably lost) selling window systems.

If you are contemplating installing replacement windows, make sure your contractor is a member of a reputable trade body. They will have a code of practice, and some form of customer redress scheme. Give full consideration to your requirements since mistakes can be costly. Remember that local authority permission, free holder’s consent and planning permission will be required if you live in a flat.

Design

Consider the design of the window system… large picture windows are inappropriate for many post war dwellings. Cottage style leaded lights are not suited for installation in patio doors. Ensure that there is adequate provision for ventilation. Consider the means of escape in the event of fire. Check design and adequacy of locks and child stays. Most important of course is the type of glazing…. tinted glass, argon (an inert gas) filled panels…check the quality of hinge mechanisms?

One of the most common failings in windows is the ‘breakdown’ of the vacuum between the glass panes. This allows condensation to form and the window will then mist over. The cost of glass replacement varies depending on size, but an average cost would be between £50 and £100.

Remember, periodically clean the widows and reveals and lightly oil all moving parts.

Chris Ennis FRICS is a Chartered Surveyor Tel: 01903 261217 email: surveyor1@talktalk.net www.propdoctor.co.uk