Maintaining historical casement windows

Casement windows were, until the invention of sash windows, by far the most popular style of window in the UK.

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This historic popularity is the reason why so many homes in conservation areas and many listed buildings are left with the difficulty of the need to main aging casement windows.

There has also been a significant resurgence in the popularity of this style in recent years as it suits period properties very well at the same time as giving a certain feeling of elegance to modern properties.

Anyone looking to replace their windows would be well advised to consider casement windows, but what about those who already own a period property with historic casement windows that are past their best? When is it a good idea to repair them and when is it best to replace them?

Certain issues with older wood windows are easier to deal with than others. A rotten cill, for example, looks hideous and may prompt you to consider replacement, but it could be repaired by a skilled joiner should you wish to try and save the original windows.

Possibly the greatest issue facing homeowners with period windows is the heat loss from their home. There are a number of factors that contribute to this problem. Wooden window frames are very susceptible to changes in size caused by weather. Wet weather leads wooden windows frames to expand and then they contract again when they dry out. Overtime time this leads to a situation where the frame no longer properly fits the window space, and of course hot air soon finds its way out of your house, having a significant effect on your heating bills! The other key issue with historic casement windows is that single glazing is far less effective at preventing heat loss.

Homeowners who live in a listed building or in a conservation area will often find that they need to gain planning permission before replacing old casement windows. Permission should be forthcoming in those cases where the current installation is beyond repair, but in most cases there will be an insistence on a design that is sympathetic to the overall appearance of the building. In these cases, opting for a bespoke job which replicates as much as possible the original appearance will be the homeowner’s best option.