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French Doors

My house has subsidence issues.

So I thought I would throw a post up to help some of you guys. We all know London’s properties are only built on four feet of sand in some cases as footings and so movement in our homes is pretty common. The problem is how to deal with that movement, both structurally, and aesthetically.

Structurally the only genuine option is underpinning. The question is do you need underpinning? Of course you think yes, and your insurance company believes no, in every case! So they come around and put some pins in the wall and then take a reading. They will come back and then measure the pins placed some months before for further signs of movement. Ok well if the gap has not increased the movement is finished and therefore there is no value or need to pin. To an extent I believe and agree with this. Mainly because once the movement has occurred you will never straighten the house up after all. That does not mean that the problem is over not by any means. Just take a look at the featured image on this page and you’ll see the sash windows are wonky. In this example the London sash window repair specialist has had to plan the top of the sash in order to make the head meet. This kind of movement is normal I am told and planning to sashes to fit box a normal procedure. If the movement is beyond planning a sash, and it would affect the structural integrity of the sash then the next option is replacement sash purpose built with a larger top rail so that it can be planed in. Aesthetically this doesn’t look all that great and it’s at this point you might start fighting the insurance company for a replacement box sash window entirely.

The other scenario is that the movement has continued and as a result you require underpinning. It’s not uncommon for the insurance company to try to delay and wait for another reading. Please do not panic because this makes arguing for replacement sash windows and doors, that have moved all the more easy in the near future. Although always stress the importance of the issue and that it must be rectified immediately. Really it should be, subsidence is not laughing matter.

Once you get a date for underpinning this is when you’ll be able to asses the situation of your joinery for the first time thoroughly, because you’ll really know the full extent of the damage. I would recommend contacting a London sash window repairs specialist that offers a free no obligation quotation – at this point to ask them if they would quote for the structural repairs created by the movement. This way you’ll be able to present the insurance company with an unbiased review of the structural conditions. It is also worth contacting a door specialist because doors can move also. It’s far less likely because doors have a much thicker, stronger frame, however if you notice movement, or the door becomes stiff, checking costs nothing if you can find a company that will offer a free no obligation quotation as we mentioned regarding the windows. French Doors seem to be more susceptible to movement as they do not have the same thickness of frame and refurbishment commonly required.

Make sure to keep an eye for any bricks that crack or become loose. The pointing should also be covered by insurance if it is subsidence related. Normally bay window pillars are the most common point of serious movement, as they are not technically structural to the main property and the lintel may have been made from a timber cut at 45 degrees which moves slowly with the pillars over time.

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French Door Refurbishment

French door refurbishment is the perfect way of saving money as well as bringing features back to life in your Victorian property. Many London homes of any age will have a beautiful set of back doors at the rear of the property leading out to a small garden. The cost of replacing French Doors can be from £1200 all the way through to a hefty £5000 depending on how much joinery is required, how ornate, and the glazing options selected. That means refurbishing and making good can represent an incredible saving, as well as providing a more authentic finish than any new ones could ever do.

To get started with French door refurbishment we will need to remove the doors first. Once removed, this is an ideal opportunity to sand, plane, and prepare your doors for decoration at a later stage. Most will not strip the timber as it is far too much work for the extra aesthetics improvement, as well as the old paint, if bonded well it doing a job of keeping your joinery in excellent condition. Once preparation complete we must install a groove around the sash for the draught proofing system to be installed. Once grooved out we will install pile carrier and pile. This is exactly the same system as sash window draught proofing, however installed on a door instead. By sealing all the perimeters we can stop draughts and reduce noise, as well as make savings on our gas bill.

Refitting the French doors will be easy because the hinges are already cut out and the screws simply need replacing just as before. On the rare occasion the doors may need a little easing in because the house has moved and taken the frame with it, whilst the French doors stay square and this creates gaps that we must contend with. Normally professional French door refurbishment specialists will shoot doors tight to the head of the frame leaving a neat finish to the eye. Then on the lower of the door install a surface mounted weather bar to take up any gap under to stop the draughts and cold coming through.

There is also the option to upgrade the glazing. Some prefer a simple solution of 6.4mm laminate. this improves U-Value and makes the doors more safe. A recommended upgrade if you have children. It will stop any major accidents as well as improve security. Double glazing is also an option, the timber frame needs cutting deeper to allow for this unit. Then an external timber glazing bead can be applied to leave an excellent, modern finish.

Once rehung, to complete the French door refurbishment, we will undercoat, and then gloss. It is highly recommended that you use a high quality paint such as Dulux Weathershield. It might be the difference between painting again in three years, or as much as seven! The paint really is that much better than cheaper alternatives.

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