5 things to check before replacing windows and doors on period properties

Replacing windows and doors is an investment of both time and money so it’s important to get it right first time

the sash window workshop windows
(Image credit: The Sash Window Workshop)

Windows and doors are two of the most important features of a house, providing a hint of the beauty that lies within. If you are lucky enough to have originals, then it is important to make every effort to restore them. However, if they haven’t been cared for correctly or have been replaced by inauthentic uPVC, then you might find you need to replace them. 

As with everything that comes with owning a period home, it is important to do your research, from planning permission to choosing the right company, as making a wrong call could cost you money, time and the authenticity of your home. Take a look through our list of the top five things to consider before replacing your windows and doors, to help you make an informed decision. 

1. Find out whether you need planning permission

If you are altering your home in any way, like replacing windows and doors, it is essential that it complies with planning regulations. If your home is in an Article 4 conservation area or is a listed building, then you will require planning permission in order to replace your windows and doors. Otherwise, so long as the new windows and doors are in keeping with the home’s design, you will not normally require planning permission. If you are unsure, it is recommended to check with your local council.

2. Choose the right materials and design for your home

The appearance of windows and doors has a big impact on the character of your home so selecting the right design can feel like a big responsibility, particularly since an inauthentic addition can significantly lower the value of your home.

When selecting the right materials for the majority of Georgian,Victorian and Edwardian homes timber windows offer an authentic replacement. 

While softwood timbers will be cheaper, they are often not as durable or stable as hardwood or modified timber, meaning that they have a shorter life-expectancy before they start to decay.  In comparison Accoya has an anti-rot guarantee of 50 years; so while it may cost more to start with you will save significantly in the long haul. 

The Sash Window Workshop new sash windows

Sash windows are a great addition for many period properties

(Image credit: The Sash Window Workshop)

3. Find out exactly what is covered in the quotation

It is advisable to get quotes from several companies, but when comparing quotes it is important to ensure that you are comparing like-for-like. Check whether the prices quoted include both manufacturing and installation costs. Also ask whether there are any additional fees that are not included in the quotation such as parking, lead weights or congestion charge. A reliable company should be as upfront as possible about any costs associated with the work. 

4. Check where the windows and doors are made

Knowledge is power, and understanding where your windows and doors are made and the process of how they are manufactured will help you make an informed decision. Ask to view where the product is manufactured, most companies will be proud to show you the craftsmanship that goes into their product.

Ask whether you can speak to previous customers about their experiences and whether they recommend the service they received, you may even be able to visit to see their windows and doors in situ. A good company should be happy to help verify the quality of their product. 

sash window workshop windows

The Sash Window Workshop, who have been based in Berkshire since 1994 and offer tours in person and online

(Image credit: The Sash Window Workshop)

5. Check the company’s accreditations to ensure safety, quality and professionalism

Ensure that any company you decide to use is registered with FENSA. If not, then you may come into problems when looking to sell your home as for complete new windows and doors, where the work has gone back to the brickwork, you will need to prove that they comply with building regulations.

Find out whether the company is a member of organisations such as Which? Trusted Traders, who independently verify the business’ standards, ensuring that you receive a high quality product and service.

It is also vital that the company is a member of the SafeContractor, or another similar scheme to ensure that the business is complying to health and safety requirements which not only protect themselves but also your home and your family. 

Though it is always advisable to look into the company's economic security, this is even more pressing in the current climate. Ensure that any deposits you pay will be protected and that your guarantee will still be valid if something was to happen to the company in the future. 

If you are looking to replace windows and doors in the immediate future, ask whether the company has re-opened, or when they plan to do so, and how they are ensuring social distancing and other required changes to working practice. 

Useful contact:

The Sash Window Workshop has extensive experience replacing timber windows and doors in period properties across London and the South. They can comply with conservation area and listed building requirements when necessary.

The Sash Window Workshop uses Accoya timber as standard and is FSC certified.  The company’s products are all bespoke and made to order in their Berkshire workshops.  Unless otherwise specified, their windows and doors are double glazed and draught proofed as standard.

To obtain a free, no obligation quotation to replace your windows or doors, contact The Sash Window Workshop on: 01344 868 668.