The window replacement has made a huge difference to the house – both the external appearance and the comfort level within.
For starters, here are some before and after pictures.
Surveyor: Mr N Standen BSc MRICS, Standen Associates, 7 Havelock Road, HASTINGS, TN34 1BP
T: 01424 434355
Carpenter: Chris Bolton, 1 Carol Cottage, Hurst Green, TN19 7PE
James Eaton, Southview Joinery, Unit 3, Wadhurst Business Park, Wadhurst TN5 6PT
Wealden Glass: http://www.wealdenglass.co.uk/
slimlite Double Glazing Co Ltd – http://www.slimliteglass.co.uk/
The double glazing system uses two 4mm panes with a 3.2mm spacer between them. The total thickness of the glazing is therefore 11.2mm and this enables it to fit into a normal rebate in a timber window, giving a very traditional look and avoiding all the clunkiness that is so often seen with double-glazed windows. We also chose the 3.2mm spacer because it comes in a light grey colour. The light grey “disappears” because it looks just like glass seen edge on. Usually one sees spacers in either white or black, both of which rather draw attention to themselves in comparison. All of this was worked out after much examining of samples and lengthy discussions on the phone with Slimlite.
The other (rather expensive) decision that we made was to have Slimlite’s “reproduction crown” glass on all the front-facing windows. This reproduces the wavy effect of old glass, and I’m glad we did this because it definitely avoids the obviously new look that you get with modern float glass, which is dead flat. This was particularly expensive for the sash window (on the left in the picture) because of its multiplicity of small panes.
A decision that we weren’t aware of making was to have low-E glass (as the inner pane). I didn’t specify low-E and I didn’t specify not to have it, so I got it. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it. Seen from the outside, it is a little more reflective than ordinary glass and again conveys the message “I’m new and modern”. But it’s most obvious when you see old and new side by side, so once all the windows are done one ceases to be aware of it. And the thermal gain effect is terrific. On a day like today, cold but sunny, you can put your hand on the inside pane and feel it really warm to the touch.
[Update 27 Mar 2014. The glass has not been perfect. Since installation, 3 of the panes have suffered from misting, ie moisture between the two glazing layers. This is out of roughly 70 panes in the entire house. The suppliers, Slimlite, have replaced all 3 at no charge, but they don’t pay the glazier’s labour cost. So far the glazier has also decided not to charge me, but whether he would do so if more panes went, I don’t know. The question is: will more and more of them go in the future, or is it the case that the ones that are going to go bad have now all shown up?]
The other great thing is the draught-proofing system. I’m pretty sure that we have the Schlegel system and very effective it is too. The contribution to inside comfort is fantastic. Mind you, we started from the opposite extreme: some of the old windows had had to have duck tape round the glass to keep it in, and many of them we didn’t dare open on the grounds that it was only being closed that kept them in one piece.
One thing we didn’t get right first off. I was told a long time ago that windows in a brick wall look best if set back from the face of the brickwork (and probably last longer too). But when ours went in it was apparent that they had been made on the assumption that they would be level with the brickwork. I just hadn’t thought about this and I wasn’t happy. So we ended up having to have the cills extended so that they could be put further back. Another thing to try and get right next time.