Summer is the best time to refurbish beautiful windows

Sustainable Home Insulation expert Mukti Mitchell shares advice for restoring traditional windows during the warmer weather that bring peace of mind and save you money

Almost everyone would love to live in a period home if they could afford the upkeep, and period properties require considerably more TLC to preserve their traditional elegance and character.

Planning ahead for colder winter months by arranging for refurbishment in the summer can considerably reduce costs, while the satisfaction of knowing you have taken the care of your beautiful traditional windows in hand will greatly improve your peace of mind.

Undertaking any restoration, decoration and putty work in the warm weather of summer is easier, quicker, more comfortable and less expensive than at any other time of year.  And you also have the opportunity to install a conventional or advanced system of secondary glazing that will save heat otherwise lost through the windows in winter, making you much more warm and comfortable, saving money, and insulating you against rising fuel costs.

Mukti Mitchell, Director of CosyHome Company, who specialise in insulating period properties, recommends summer as a particularly good time to refurbish your windows:

“Many period windows are 100-150 years old and with the right care and attention they’ll last the same time again. Everyone adores Georgian windows with ultra fine glazing bars – they give you far greater glass area than modern windows and are far more elegant to look at, reflecting that elegance into your home.  The dry summer weather makes it quicker and less expensive to take sashes out, repair any decayed sills and rotten wood, and get everything working smoothly.   We can take the windows out and it won’t cause a major inconvenience. The process only takes a few days.”

Gaining popularity like wildfire with conservation officers, landlords and homeowners, is CosyHome’s elegant advanced secondary glazing system, known as “CosyGlazing”.  This award winning system is hailed for being virtually invisible (unnoticeable unless pointed out), has comparable thermal efficiency to double glazing, high sound proofing levels, and causes the least impact on the fabric of the existing window. The system uses Plexiglas, as used for aeroplane windows, which is fitted to upper and lower sashes or hinged casements using magnetic tapes, so it’s ultra easy to remove for cleaning and maintenance. It reduces heat loss through the glass by 70%, and combined with draft proofing and loft insulation, can cut your heating bills by as much as half.

Mukti Mitchell suggests using reclaimed timbers for window restoration:

“We recommend reclaimed timbers such as Pitch Pine, which match the quality of timber found in one hundred year old windows.  The timber used one hundred years ago was usually grown slowly on north facing hills, which makes the rings of the trees very close together. The resulting timber is described as ‘close-grained’ and is very long lasting.“

When replacing sills, Mukti recommends using sustainably grown European oak, being the most durable timber, which also causes the least environmental impact.  Whilst oak has a reputation for moving – the modern, young and straight-grained, kiln-dried timber is remarkably stable.  The best carpenters combine these high quality timbers with epoxy resin compounds used as a glue and structural filler. Epoxy comes from the boat building industry and while expensive at the outset, its unmatched combination of adhesive quality with structural strength enables the restorer to retain the maximum quantity of the original timber and glass in the window, and making a repair that will last for decades.

Spotting even small amounts of decayed timber in a window, many builders and joiners recommend replacement – however, using epoxy resin and quality timbers, good craftsmen can restore such a window to its original condition whilst retaining 90% of the timber and glass.

An acclaimed expert in sustainable living and author of The Guide to Low Carbon Lifestyles, Mukti Mitchell says that the peace of mind you’ll enjoy by getting your home insulated in advance of winter, will be further enhanced in the knowledge that you’re also be saving yourself money and doing your bit to protect the environment.

Mukti Mitchell explains:

“Financially, insulating your period property is currently one of the highest-yielding investments available, offering up to 25% annual return with little risk, and saving tens of thousands of pounds over the next 20 years.  And environmentally, insulating your home is one of one the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint, dramatically diminishing energy loss. Britain has 270 million windows, which if replaced every 25 years would mean throwing 10 million windows a year into landfill. So restoring old windows saves a massive impact on the countryside.  And if all Britain’s old house stock was properly insulated, the nation’s national footprint would be cut by 10%.”

So if you want to give yourself peace of mind this summer by getting your home cosy, comfortable and draft free in advance of colder winter months, you can make the investment assured in the knowledge that you’re not only saving yourself lots of money but also making a valuable contribution towards preventing climate change.