Most people reading this article will perhaps immediately think of the word “Windows” as the operating system on their computer, but no, this article does not mention Bill Gates at all (apart from just then of course), it’s an article about those square glass things that you look through every day.
Yes, you just realised that you take these things for granted don’t you?
I guarantee that every single day, anyone reading this will have looked through a window, open or closed one, or have drawn back the drapes or curtains to reveal what is on the other side, but how well do you know them?
In this article we explain in detail all about the windows in your home, the different types and styles, faux pas, what not to do, and some essential tips and tricks for replacing or repainting the windows in your house.
This is mainly for the DIY enthusiast, although some less experienced decorators may also find this interesting. Professional decorators will probably find my thoughts here quaint, or amusing at best!
Stuff about house windows you never knew or cared about!
Repairing, replacing or painting your windows ensures that your property is not only kept in good order, but is also draught free, safe and secure.
Your windows can set the style of your house, but choosing the wrong ones can also badly let it down and in some cases, affect it’s resale value.
Having ill-fitting windows can also INCREASE your home heating costs and even worse, make the property insecure and liable to be broken into at some point.
Choosing windows that are not in keeping with the style of your home can negatively affect it’s value, and if you live in a listed building or in a conservation area, you can actually end being taken to court for having the wrong windows.
So it is more important than ever to not have the RIGHT windows, but to keep them clean, maintained and in good condition, paying attention to frequent painting and removal of any rotten wood.
Even more stuff about windows…
If any of you, actually probably most of you, take your windows for granted, we thought that a bit of education about the windows in your house will go a long way so here is our 2 cents worth.
There are lots of different types of windows, from sash windows that open and close upwards and downwards, to casement windows which are hinged opening, like a door.
There also windows that slide sideways which are common in the EU, fixed pane windows (ones that are not designed to open) and full height windows such as patio doors or French windows, the latter blurring the lines between the definition of what can be described as a door and what we call a window.
Most traditional domestic window frames are wooden, although metal ones do exist and of course, from the 1980’s onwards anyway, many windows are now double glazed and made of maintenance-free plastic.
Broken and cracked windows and what to do about them
With Spring just around the corner as I write this, now is certainly the BEST time to go outside and take a good look at the general condition of your house, and of course check those windows for any defects. Getting your window cleaner to do this is MUCH cheaper than a surveyor or even your builder, so save money and use your head!
So if the windows look grubby, hire a window cleaner to come around and take a look, and while he or she is up the ladder they themselves can check your windows for anything that doesn’t look right.
TOP TIP: We often get asked what does the abbreviation “UPVC” actually stand for? Well, I can tell you, the full title of the material your double glazing is made from is “Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride” so now you know!
If you have a cracked window pane, this is not only dangerous, it can ruin the look of your house, and can make breaking in by robbers that much easier. Replacing a single glazed window is much cheaper than replacing a double glazed window pane, but either way, call a window specialist or a glazier, don’t attempt to do it yourself, mishaps with broken glass can lead to a trip to hospital, I know this from painful experience.
When windows won’t open.
NO, I don’t mean “Ctrl, Alt, Delete”, I mean your actual windows, the ones in your house.
There are many reasons why windows at some point fail to open, and on wooden windows it can be something as simple as being rather too enthusiastic when painting them, meaning you have painted over the joins or something similar.
This can usually be remedied by cutting along where the paint has gone onto the join with a knife or similar.
When windows won’t close, you need to pay attention to the points around the frame that, in normal cases, would close tight.
What is obstructing it?
Any paint spots or drips left over from painting?
Dirt clogged in the frame?
Missing or broken seals?
If none of the above are relevant and you can’t fathom out why your window won’t close, call a window company in to fix it as the last thing you want is a window that won’t close as it’s a magnet for thieves. If the hinges are rusted, try spraying WD40 on them.
TOP TIP: You may have read on the internet that the amazingly useful WD40 contains fish oil?
This is NOT TRUE and confirmation can be found on their own website, so cut and paste this link into a new browser window
Broken sash cords, if you have older windows, are a real pain to fix, usually involving removing the window itself to access the case where the weight and pulley are located.
Draughtproofing can save you money so make sure it’s done
Another aspect of good practice with windows is to make sure they do their job. Not the job involving keeping the rain out or letting the light in, I mean making sure that the wind doesn’t whistle through any gaps, making you feel colder, and more importantly, giving you much higher heating bills.
This is something that can be done very cheaply and don’t forget the doors too.
TOP TIP: The chaps at Wickes.co.uk sell a concealed fixing door brush draught excluder (Product Code: 161216) for only about £9 and no, they did not pay me me to tell you that.
This product is ideal for cutting the draught coming through the bottom of a door and will pay for itself in the first year by lower your energy bills.
The windows themselves can be draught proofed easily and cheaply by buying that sort of foam or rubber strip with a sticky side, usually in a roll and costing only about 3 or 4 quid and this can be used on door frames too, but make sure the door closes afterwards.
TOP TIP: Draught proofing is cheap but don’t be tempted to buy super-cheap, like from Poundland or something, as in most cases, the material is of such poor quality it either won’t stick or it does stick but is impossible to remove at a later stage.
Comparing spending 4 quid to 1 quid, don’t be a skinflint.
Give your old windows a new look!
If your windows are looking scruffy, with dirt and grime or maybe peeling paint then now is the time to consider refurbishing them. It’s not an expensive job and, if you take your time, the finished effect can be dramatic.
This of course does not apply to UPVC windows, so if your wooden ones are looking REALLY bad, maybe now is the time to consider having them replaced? A typical cost for a standard 3 bedroom house, to have all the units replaced with new UPVC ones would be between £2,800 and £4,000.
TOP TIP: If you do want your windows replaced with double glazed, you are best to go with a reputable LOCAL company and NOT one of the big ones, who will charge you a fortune, guaranteed, and never accept the first price they give you.
Window firms are renowned for the hard sell and will drop the price further and further until you say yes. Just because a window company is “famous” it does NOT mean they are good, it just means they have spent the most on advertising.
For wooden windows that need repair and a fresh coat of paint, this is a little more advanced and time consuming and should only be attempted with the right tools and equipment.
Explained very briefly, if you have wooden windows, then both the outside and inside will probably need repainting, the exterior paint will attract more grime and will be more likely to be affected or damaged by the elements. This also means if you are painting the exterior of the windows, you need to use a better quality paint than you would for the non weather facing bit inside the room.
Painting exterior windows is far harder than doing the wood inside, especially as in most cases you will need to get up a ladder to reach them. If you are not experienced in this, being 20 foot off the ground, whilst holding a full kettle of paint, and a paint brush, and trying to actually paint the wood in a professional manner is not for the faint hearted.
How to paint a wooden window
There are two main ways to paint a window;
Applying a new coat over the old one, or stripping all the old paint off and re doing it from scratch. The latter is the most effective but also the most time-consuming and make sure you have all the correct tools and paint that you will need before you start.
If you are repainting over old paint, it is best to give the paint that is already on there a rub down with sandpaper and then clean it thoroughly so there is no dust left.
Make sure you do not paint over the gaps or the edges of the window where it meets flush with the frame or it may stick. Paint nice neat lines and straight edges whilst carrying out the job or if you don’t have a steady hand use a good quality masking tape, peeling it off immediately when you finish.
For painting windows where all the old paint needs to be removed, use a heat gun or paint stripper coupled with a scraper. Then use a wood filler to fill any gaps or cracks in the wood, and sand it down smooth afterwards.
Then paint a wood primer on to the frame, allow to dry. Paint an undercoat, allow that to dry and then use a gloss top coat to give the window a fresh, new and hard wearing look.
Windows are not just for looking out of you know!
Hopefully we have explained, in not too much detail, everything you really need to know about the windows in your home and perhaps you do not in future take your windows for granted!
Having the right windows on your home, kept in good condition, can not only help keep it’s value, they can also help with home security and in keeping heating bills lower by banning those icy draughts.
Thank you for reading my article and please stick around and look at our blog where we have some great, original articles published every week!