Regrettably for years our 1930s house did not keep us as warm as it should. So we have steadily made improvements.
We had a loft conversion 16 years ago that involved a new properly insulated roof and double glazed veluxes, so that was a start.
After some thought we decided not to do anything to the walls, no outer insulating layers slapped onto the bricks or cavity wall insulation. But we have tried to sort out draughts which is not easy with two original doors that expand and contract according to the weather and we have changed the windows.
As the house faces south at the front the windows take a battering, with desiccation in the summer contrasting with damp etc at other times so the window frames had started to rot. We replaced them with (nearly) matching wooden framed double glazed windows. The first thing we noticed was the lack of condensation on the inside of the windows – fantastic!
Our second window improvement was to the landing window which is quite large and leaded with frosted glass plus a 1930s purple border that we did not want to lose. The leaded panes do not fit well so if the wind was in the wrong direction rain would leak in and dribble onto the windowsill. This, combined with single glazing, meant that we had a huge heat loss. The firm that had rebuilt our conservatory advised fitting a large sheet of glass into the window recess outside. So they measured and estimated, then re-measured. Eventually the glass was ready and two fitters arrived. The problem was that the landing window is very difficult to access. It is high up and faces our neighbours across a narrow path bordered by a wall, and to add to the complications there is a gate across the path. With the help of a small scaffolding tower (or was it just some ladders – we can’t remember) they lifted the glass and fixed it in place. Recently one of the fitters reminded me about the difficulty they had balancing such a large pane at that height – definitely scary! So far so good – nice and cosy indoors, original window undamaged and a glistening sheet of glass on the outside that keeps the weather at bay.
In the 1990s we had our kitchen extended which involved new windows (but not double glazed astonishingly – clearly insulation regulations were lightweight compared with now). That was fine until we found, at an early stage, that the frames were susceptible to rot. Over the years various repairs were done but the rot always came back.
The two north facing bedroom windows have always behaved very well with no sign of rotting frames. But they looked as though they were the original glass with some slight waviness in some of the panes. The downside was that they were cold and condensation was always a problem.
The firm that so successfully installed the landing window glass has always done a very good job. The plastic framed double glazed conservatory has been a great success and has converted us to plastic rather than wooden frames. So this autumn we decided to double glaze all the remaining single glazed windows and install secondary glazing in the bathroom where the leaded paned window and its wooden frame are, for some reason, in good shape.
We cleared the area near the window in each room and covered bookshelves, beds etc with our own dust sheets. The plants from the kitchen windowsills as well as equipment, were parked in the conservatory.
The two fitters arrived, dead on time, in their van full of windows, double glazed units etc.
Front and back doors were all left open all day (coronavirus times) with a large dustbin for rubbish just outside the front door.
The fitters immediately laid dust sheets up the stairs and started knocking out the two bedroom windows.
It was quite dramatic and noisy but very controlled – just a few chippings landed on the conservatory roof (!!) and they were sucked up by the firm’s industrial vacuum cleaner.
Below are the blue window frames from the larger bedroom.
In what seemed like a very short time the new window frames were installed.
Below is the view from inside the conservatory with dust etc on the top of the glass.
The two fitters had a most efficient division of labour – one removing the old window then the other putting the new window frame in place as the next window was knocked out.
They had moved on to the kitchen by 10.30 am.
And by 2.30 pm the work was finished and they had left.
All very efficient and we now have a much warmer house than we are used to.