When to replace wooden windows

Wooden windows have multiple benefits. If they are looked after with regular cleaning and maintenance, they can last for decades. Some homes have not needed to replace their windows for almost a century!

Unfortunately, there will come a time when they will eventually need replacing due to age, weather or lack of maintenance. In this article, we’ll explain when to replace wooden windows and what you can replace them with.

How long do wooden windows last?

You may be wondering how long does wooden double glazing last, and it might surprise you to know that if they are installed correctly and regularly maintained, wooden windows can last at least 60 years. This depends on the location of the window and how much sunlight they get. 

How do you know when it’s time to replace windows?

  • The first sign that your wooden windows need replacing is visibly rotten wood or peeling paint. Although most wooden windows are treated against the elements, they’ll eventually lose their water repellency and the paint will separate from the wood.
  • The sashes (openers) on your window are sticking, no longer close properly or might not open at all if the wood has dramatically swollen due to moisture.
  • If there is a build-up of mould around the edges or corners of your window, they are failing to keep the weather out. 
  • After noticing mould, the worst case scenario might occur, which is water leaking through the windows. This is due to decayed wood and worn away seals, and will also bring a draft into your home as well as water. 

Reasons to replace your wooden windows

Energy efficiency
Even if you can’t see any obvious signs of damage, your older wooden windows may be affecting the energy performance of your entire house.

Higher bills 

With less energy efficiency comes higher utility bills if your central heating system is working harder to compensate for heat escaping and moisture coming inside.

Security risk 

Sealed window units are much easier to remove if the softwood can be easily pushed back, or locks or hinges can be broken if the surrounding wood is decaying.

More noise 

Once your windows start failing, sound insulation can be compromised, meaning that traffic or voices outside might suddenly become louder inside your home. 

A better aesthetic 

Although you can fix and paint wooden windows, it can be difficult to get them looking as good as new. You can make your home a lot more attractive and appealing with replacement UPVC windows.

Property value 

It’s always a good idea to invest in your property even if you’re not planning to move. New windows can increase the value of your home when it’s time to sell. 

Should I replace wooden windows with UPVC?

The good news is that you can replace wooden windows with UPVC and still retain the character of your home. As UPVC is available in a wide range of finishes, you should be able to find a frame that is similar to your current style of window. Many new windows have original features such as Georgian bars, to help retain exactly the same style of window. Most of the time, it’s hard to tell the difference between your new windows and a wooden frame, have a look at our period home options to see for yourself.  

And of course, your home will be more energy efficient, have less outside noise and be more secure. 

Can I replace wooden windows on a listed building or conservation area? 

There are around 9,000 local authority-designated conservation areas across the UK including residential streets, rural belts and historic town centres, and developments on them can be limited.

The local authority can deem that changing windows will impact on a conservation area’s individual character, such as your home’s appearance being inconsistent with the rest of the houses in the street.

Thankfully, uPVC windows comply with Article 4 of the Permitted Development Rights Act. This covers window dimensions and appearance instead of the type of material they’re made from, meaning that uPVC windows have been installed in conservation areas throughout the country. Check with your local authority if you’re unsure. 

You may also need to check with your local authority if you need planning permission to replace wooden windows in a conservation area or in a listed building. Generally, you can proceed as long as the appearance is not considerably different from the original design and the new windows will be more energy efficient.

What are the benefits of UPVC windows?

Customisable
UPVC windows are no longer just available in white, there are now options of alternative colours, shapes, styles and imitation effects such as wood grain.

Low Maintenance
Unlike wooden windows which require sanding, varnishing and repainting, uPVC  windows can last for decades, only requiring a wipe down with soapy water to prevent staining and to remove dirt.

Reduced heat loss and energy bills
UPVC is a low conductor of heat, so if fitted correctly, you could reduce heat loss considerably, meaning lower heating bills.

Better Ventilation
UPVC windows are available in a ‘tilt and turn‘ configuration which can open in two separate directions to provide draft-free ventilation.

Less noise
UPVC works in combination with double glazed window panels to help decrease the amount of external noise by up 50% compared to wooden frames. 

Eco-Friendly
UPVC windows have a lifespan ranging between 40-80 years and are made from mostly recyclable materials that can be reused for other products such as pipes, plumbing fittings and more.

Improved security
The ultra-light but sturdy frame of UPVC in conjunction with various locking combinations and double glazed glass will deter intruders.

Weather Resistant
UPVC windows do not react with air, water and the natural elements, meaning a longer life span.

Is it worth restoring wooden windows?

If you want to preserve the existing stained glass in your original period windows, we can extract it and use the glass to embellish your new piece. This means you can keep your original period style with all the benefits of a new feature.

Should I replace all wooden windows at once? 

We would advise that you replace all your wooden windows at once, if you can afford it, to save time, stress and paperwork. 

UPVC windows from CR Windows 

We have over 40 years’ experience of providing quality windows, doors and conservatories and our A-rated windows are accredited by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) for their energy efficiency. We offer a wide range of styles and a 10 year guarantee on all products manufactured and installed by us.

If you have any additional questions about replacing or restoring your wooden windows, we’d love to help. Get in touch to speak to our team.

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