Get those jobs done with a little help from DIY guru Julia Gray. This week: how to improve the performance and value of wooden windows.
Many period properties (as well as some modern ones) were built with wooden windows, but in more recent decades, replacing them with uPVC ones has been popular.
If, like me, you’re a big fan of wooden windows and less keen on the plastic variety, this can be a home improvement too far, so has wood been unfairly given a bad press?
Now it’s true that wooden windows do need to be maintained – once varnish or paint chips, cracks or flakes off, the wood is vulnerable to the elements. This can lead to rot and if left untreated for long enough, rot will start eating away at the wood, which can be terminal.
uPVC windows can also deteriorate over time, to the point where they look shabby, and while they can be painted, most people don’t. Wooden windows can at least be repaired easily.
Wood is often the only choice available when installing new windows in a listed building, and usually the preferred choice on ‘designated land’, such as conservation areas (ask your local council if in doubt).
In some areas, replacing wooden windows with uPVC ones will devalue your home, while in others, fitting double glazing, which traditionally meant uPVC windows, is advisable, although, of course, wooden windows can be double or even triple glazed.
Modern wooden windows are a great long-term investment. Window frames made by members of the Wood Window Alliance (WWA; www.woodwindowalliance.com), for example, have an estimated service life of 60 years or more when well maintained, which compares very favourably to uPVC.
l Product of the week
When wood gets wet rot, it can seem disastrous, but it’s not hard to treat, especially if you catch it early.
Simply scrape out of the worst of the rot, apply Ronseal Wet Rot Wood Hardener (from £6.98 for 250ml, B&Q) with an old paintbrush and work it in well (drill holes in the wood for deeper penetration).
The hardener dries quickly and turns soft wood rock hard so you can fill on top and make a seamless and long-lasting repair.