Crittall window experts, You Choose Windows looks at how authentic reproduction windows can increase a period property’s appeal inside and out
The worst crime owners of the 4 million-plus Victorian and Edwardian properties in the UK can commit is to replace original, good quality sash windows with inappropriate modern aluminium or uPVC casements and strip out original period doors.
The view of Graham Ellis, the associate director residential at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, is shared by a large proportion of househunters.
In fact, buyers will pay a premium for homes with original period features. However, Victorian and Edwardian homes account for a disproportionately high number of the essential repairs listed in mortgage valuations and survey reports, according to the RICS.
This is because Victorian builders were not always averse to taking shortcuts and skimping on materials, which has resulted in ‘inherent defects’ developing in later life.
When it comes to maintaining a period property, it is always preferable to restore rather than replace its original fireplaces, Art Nouveau tiling, high skirting boards, architraves, doors, coving and picture rails.
But just as when efforts to restore a 1930s fresco of Christ on the wall of a Spanish church did so much damage to the artwork that locals changed its name from Behold the Man to Behold the Monkey, botched repair jobs can make some period features of a family home only suitable for replacement.
That is why there is a wealth of suppliers that can provide modern reproductions of period features, including fireplaces and windows.
Windows Define a Home’s Character
When it comes to windows, their size, shape, position and style make a major contribution to the character of period properties.
However, older window frames made from timber or metal can often be the source of energy-sapping draughts because over time they can suffer from lack of maintenance, building movement and weakened joints. While good ventilation is important in older buildings, excessive air leakage through windows wastes heat and creates a cold, unwelcoming home i8n the winter months.
Typical problems with sash windows include sashes that stick in the frame, broken cords, damaged putty and timber rot.
Steel windows were defining features of the Art Deco and International Modernist movements. Common faults developed by metal window frames include distortion of the frame that can damage the glazing units, failed latches and hinges plus rust. Not only that, homeowners must take care that the paint used to protect their metal-framed windows does not contain lead.
It is often more cost-effective to replace the whole unit, rather than repair sections of the original window. Replacement sash or Crittall windows that are faithful reproductions of the original frames not only maintain a property’s appearance they increase its ability to retain heat.
This is because high-quality full box hardwood replacement sliding sash windows, for example, are often supplied as double-glazed units that incorporate draught proofing, period hardware such as handles and peg stays plus a tilt mechanism for easy cleaning.
And at a time when homeowners are looking at ways of reducing their maintenance costs, authentic reproduction period windows also come with a guarantee lasting up to 10 years.