Original wooden windows and frames can look stunning on a period property, but their magnificence comes at a price. Unlike modern UPVC windows, annual maintenance is essential to keep wood looking its best.
With drier and warmer weather on the way, like all house maintenance – now is the perfect time to give your windows a once over, and some important tlc, so they don’t cause problems in the harsher autumn and winter months.
With the right advice, this is something you can easily keep on top of yourself, so we thought we’d offer our DIY guide to keeping wooden frames in tip-top condition.
1- Inspect windows regularly, both inside and out.
Small issues can become big problems if left unchecked so, the earlier you detect them and put them right, the better.
2 – Check for rot and infestation.
Water and wood are not a good mix. Even treated windows and frames can start to show signs of rot after a while as persistent wet weather and damp take their toll. Once rot sets in, your windows are then also prone to insect infestation. If there are signs of flaking, or the wood is spongy when pressed, measures need to be taken to prevent further deterioration. Small holes in your frames could be a sign of woodworm.
3 – Treating rot and infestation
If your window frames are just starting to show signs of rot, or you suspect woodworm, a boron treatment can halt the progression. Treatments can be found in most DIY stores and are easily applied by brush or spray. Follow the instructions carefully for best results.
4 – Replace missing or defective putty
When replacing putty around wooden windows, ensure you use a traditional linseed oil putty. The putty must be painted with undercoat and gloss paint, or exterior varnish, as soon as putty is firm and within 28 days of application, so this should always be applied before re-painting or treating your windows.
5 – Re-treat or paint windows and frames
Prevention is always better than cure so you should consider giving your windows and frames a fresh coat of paint, or wood treatment, every two to three years. Preparation is key, so make sure all surfaces are sound and any loose paint has been removed. Be careful when using hot air guns to strip paint as the heat can easily crack glass.
6 – Check that all joints are firm
The glue that holds window joints together can also deteriorate over time, causing window joints to lose their strength. Injecting a polyurethane adhesive into the loose joint with a syringe can help re-affix and preserve your window. Be prepared, this can get messy, so gloves and rags are essential.
7 – Sticking windows
There are a number of reasons your windows may be sticking. The most common causes are overpainting, swollen or distorted frames and loose joints. Overpainting can be rectified by stripping away the layers of paint and re-painting afresh. We have addressed loose joints in point 6 above. If your frames are swollen or distorted, you may need to consider replacement.
8 – Broken, seized or fraying sash cords
Faulty sash cords should be replaced, and this is relatively easy to do from inside. Always repair both cords on each sash and ensure the new cord is strong enough for the weight of the window.
9 – Ironmongery
It’s important to also check your window hinges, locks and other ironmongery. Ensure hinges are not binding and check that locks and other ironmongery are in working order. Moving parts will benefit from the application of an appropriate lubricant annually, and hinges may occasionally need to be tightened or re-aligned.
10 – Draughts
If your windows are single-glazed, as is often the case with period and listed homes, they can be prone to draughts. The best solution that enables you to retain your original feature windows, without impacting their appearance, is to install secondary glazing. This is something we don’t advise you try yourself, however. Leave it to the experts!
For more information or to book a free no-obligation survey, simply give us a call on 01384 63 63 65 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.