Thursday, 7 March 2013

A Guide to Timber Box Sash Window Repairs

repairing your sash windows can be a hard task to complete
The Wooden Window Workshop - based in London provide an excellent sash window restoration service.
There is no fair reason as to why you should replace your windows that may well have survived for more than a century, with something inferior that will not even stand a decade before its framework rots and breaks down.

A sash window repair service can help you spend less time, and a lot less money to fix the damage and extend the windows lifespan into the next century!

The Timber utilised in most modern softwood doors and windows will no doubt come from "first growth pine" This softwood is then kiln dried in large units to speed up the drying out time this results in a wood product that is not at all sturdy, and far less resilient compared to the naturally seasoned timber that would have been used 100 years ago.

Old houses which still have original hand-blown glass is an indication of how old your original sash windows may be. The glass may have a rippled, scattered and bubbled surface, this is due to the old technique of blown and rolled glass. Despite this fact period sash windows are unique in design and style. Many sash window replacement contractors will try to sell you new replacement windows but do not be foolish enough to believe what they might tell you, over 90% of period windows are recoverable and the wood they are made from is better than any other modern timber you might be able to source, whether it be hardwood or softwood.

With the above in mind we would urge you to consider restoration of your old timber windows, consider what will happen to your original period sash windows if they are replaced, they will end up sitting on a landfill waste disposal site and even so, may well will sit there and outlive your new sash windows! If the option of restoration is not viable due to costs we would ask you to call English Heritage for advice as there are grants available to help out if needed. 
The main structures of the box frames often do not need much repair unless severely affected by moisture. This is because they are usually strong and solid. As a result, you will always find that frames get damaged at the joint edges as the timber grain is most exposed here, but the good news is that rotten joints can be cleaned and repaired easily by sash window craftsmen.

Severe damage of the structure will frequently involve the lower parts of the sashes. Replacement, therefore, is strongly recommended only if the bottom rail is rotten, else consider repair on minor damage. Emphasis is put on fixing the damage rather than replacement because of the time and money required for the project.

During the dismantling of the window and box frames a lot of care should be taken. This is because removing any old glass from a frame is a tiresome process that may consume a lot of your time, therefore, do it with precaution. Sometimes the putty might be lose and easy to remove using putty knifes and paint scrapers, but if it is hard more advanced tools will be required such as a pneumatic chisel.

Once the glass is removed and set aside carefully, the next thing is to get rid of the old paint. Old panes usually have at least 12 layers of lead paint. In this case, the numbers of windows to be repaired are many it is advisable that you take them to paint strippers, where it can be safely removed without risk of fatal injury from lead poisoning.
Full PPE kit should be worn at all times if you are removing paint with heat guns.
Once the repairs are complete it is a "simple" case of reassembling the windows and redecorating them, of course you could call a Professional sash window company to take care of things for you but we would leave that decision up to you.


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