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Sash Windows

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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Sash Windows

The one question I will always be asked, whatever I design. What will we do with these brilliant old period sash windows? “Keep them of course!” I reply. Ok so what do we do with these beautifully designed windows to match exacting interior design standards? There’s a number of things we can do actually and each one an upgrade, without detraction from the beauty and elegance of the period property.

The most basic service is a simple draught proofing system. This is ideal if budget is a constraint and we are in a rush to meet a deadline. This work can be booked in at short notice with most London sash window draught proofing companies and typically costs less than £500 per window. It provides relief from draughts, cold, rattling, and dust. We can’t have our beautiful new curtains, and blinds soiled after all. A service I’ve used recently is solar glass to reduce the sunlight bleaching our new interiors. Be warned it is costly, and has a tint, not all will find this appropriate. An example would be the same as the pictured tint here:

I’ve used other services such as double glazing the original sash in combination with a draught proofing system. Considering solar glazing can be included and we are already glazing it works out quite good on price. Typical windows will cost under £1000 but be warned we will need to decorate the frame as the method of rebating the sash to allow for a larger glazing required heavy routing machinery and this leaves decoration in poor condition. An expected problem from such a large upgrade. We must also factor £200 to decorate the inside of the window again. Once finished however, the draught proofing, double glazing, and solar glazing looks brilliant.

Sometimes we don’t need or want a particular window to open. This is the simplest of all. We seal the window in allowing no dust or dirt, draughts, and nasty nasties through. It is surprisingly effective for noise as well because all the little gaps are closed in and that leaves for an air tight fit. It’s also a good solution if your house has movement or subsidence and you don’t want to pay to have the whole window refurbished

I personally don’t recommend sealing your windows in it’s nice to have breeze and enhances the style if all windows are slightly open at the top and bottom. The ventilation works best that way allowing hot air in at the top and colder air can circulate from the bottom. If all windows can do this it’s very handy in the summer months when some nice cool fresh air is a bonus.  London Sash Window Repairs Ltd offer all the services mentioned above – sash window draught proofing, sash window double glazing of existing sashes, and even sash window repairs if you need them to. I’ve had sill replaces, rails patched up and even whole new sashes when it was too expensive to make good on the original.

This beautiful curved window needs new glazing and a draught proofing system. The obscure glass is dated and would benefit from satin or sand blast effect. The window structurally will benefit from draught proofing.

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