It might seem like a funny idea, and maybe a little esoteric, but we are firm believers that the oak windows you install in your property are giving you something back! What is it? Well, apart from a supreme sense of happiness and joy, they’re giving you an excellent return on your investment!
Oak Windows Increase Property Value
It’s pretty much that simple. Oak windows are expensive. But they’re expensive for a reason - they are sturdy, reliable, strong and beautiful. As long as they are well looked after, they guarantee you generations of use, meaning that when you pass the house down to your children, you can rest assured that they will be sleeping soundly at night free from draughts!
And if you’re not thinking about passing the house on, but rather selling it, then oak windows are not only a sales point, but will actually increase the listing value of the property! If you are looking to sell on a property - particularly a high end property - a lot of the value comes from the aesthetics rather than the practicality or affordability.
Therefore, period houses which have fully functioning period windows, will be a far more attractive prospect than those hideously ugly white plastic copies. In fact, you can even add more value to the price of the property by upgrading the original oak windows to more modern like for like oak designs in order to ensure longevity in the product and to remove the hassle of replacing the windows and getting planning permission for the new homeowners - especially those in conservation areas.
Estate agents will use this as a massive sales point - “newly installed like for like oak windows, which will last for generations and give you modern standards of insulation and noise prevention” sounds a lot better than “original oak windows”, doesn’t it?
How else do oak windows give back?
Well, and maybe I’m just a massive fan, I can’t help but feel that having such rich, illustrious fixtures in your house just gives you a real sense of joy and wonderment. Most people will overlook their windows as a merely functional necessity that lets air and light in and out, rather than a huge part of the structure of their property.
By basically ignoring what you can do with these fixtures they’re missing out on the truly wonderful influence that the quality of oak offers.
Do you have any other thoughts on what oak windows can do for your property? Leave them in the comments below!
England boasts a vast amount of listed buildings; properties that are protected against development that might harm their historical importance or aesthetic. With over 450,000 of these properties in the country, they are evidence of a rich history and show the development of society and architecture throughout the ages.
What Makes a Property a Listed Building
There are a few specifics that mean a building will gain listed status. For instance any property built before the 1700’s, and which still remains close to its original form and in good condition pretty much automatically qualifies.
Those erected post 1700, and pre-1840 fall into a similar category, though they are more closely scrutinised for their historical and cultural contribution and significance. Falling during the Georgian era, these properties were constructed by notable architects such as James Paine and Robert Taylor.
Buildings following this period, which fall into the Victorian era are far more common, with good examples of Victorian listed buildings being found in Greater Manchester which saw a boom in property development during this time.
Buildings after this period are a lot more closely regarded before they can become listed. They need to demonstrate a rarity, be it an example of a unique style of construction; a notable public place; demonstrable of a sensitivity to a streetscape.
All these factors must be considered by a the Secretary of State for Culture as advised by the English Heritage.
So what does this all mean?
Basically that you are bound by law to keep the aesthetic and architecture of the property as is. You cannot make drastic changes to the property and if you are to make any changes they need to be passed through your Local Planning Authority
Restoring A Listed Building’s Oak Windows
A great deal of listed buildings have oak windows which, over the ages, have become broken or damaged. Old architects didn’t have the modern technology or know-how to create oak windows which won’t swell or develop draughts and you will want to ensure that you aren’t suffering at the hands of time’s wrath.
In order to restore these windows to their former glory, you can make repairs, however this will still need to be passed by the LPA. This is a time consuming and expensive process and is best avoided in lieu of...
Replacing A Listed Building’s Oak Windows
This is the best option if those windows become bothersome or non-functional. Whilst oak windows will age well, the centuries can take their toll, especially if the craftsman who made them originally didn’t have the best tools or materials available.
With current technology and design, safeguarding against future decay has become a science, adding value to the property and ensuring a long-lasting protection. This isn’t, however, as straightforward as installing new frames.
In listed buildings you will have to create like for like replacement oak windows which copy the originals down to the type of timber used, the finish and their dimensions. This will need to all go through the LPA before any work can even begin. A long and often arduous process, we’ve gone through it a great deal and can advise our clients the best way to approach getting planning permission for replacing oak windows in their listed properties.
So if you’ve wound up on this blog because you’re looking for a solution or some advice on oak window restoration in period buildings, then get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to talk to you about your options!
Image by: Sam22
Oak. It’s the best there is. Why? Because it’s beautiful! But much more than that, it’s a solid solution to your interior door needs. Let me tell you why.
Interior doors are needed for three basic functions. To stop draughts, to stop unwanted noise and for privacy.
The latter is a simple one. If you want privacy then getting solid oak doors will mean absolute privacy! Guaranteed! Though, if privacy isn’t the issue then oak internal french doors are an excellent addition allowing light to pass through and creating a greater sense of space.
However, it’s in the other two categories that interior oak doors excel. As a hardwood, oak is particularly difficult to work with because of how strong it is when dry. However, being an incredibly strong timber, it is heavy duty and long lasting - perfect for interior doors which are slammed and hit all the time.
Draught Proof Oak Doors
It also means that when they are manufactured they are fit flush into their frame. Because they are resistant to damage over time, they won’t at any point no longer fit into their frames thereby ensuring that they are no unwanted cold draughts sneaking into your living room!
Unlike cheap wooden doors, which will chip easily and often warp with changes of moisture in the air, internal oak doors will keep their shape, never warp or get stuck meaning that you will never get cold feet on the sofa!
This will not only keep you warm but keep the bills down too.
Noise Proof Internal Oak Doors
The title kind of gives it away already… But oak being a solid hardwood makes it an excellent choice when you want a door that will keep the noise from one room out of the other. Perfect if you’ve got a children’s den attached to your living room or to keep the study quiet.
Internal oak doors bring a sense of style inside - they are reassuringly sturdy, handsome doors which compliment any design aesthetic. That’s as well as the additional benefits of noise reduction and thermal insulation.
image by: Nacho
Exposure to the elements is practically the hardest thing for oak windows to deal with next to an infestation. You have so many different factors which will affect not only the aesthetic of the frames, but also their functionality from water getting in and warping wood, to the bleaching of the timber.
Whilst every step is taken during production to ensure that the oak window frames are able to deal with these issues, it’s always worth knowing what processes can be applied if at any point you need to take their care into your own hands.
Treating Oak Windows To Protect Against Water Damage
The Problems With Water In Oak Windows
Oak has a naturally high tannin content, which means that it’s naturally good at preventing infestations and rot, but it does mean that when water gets into it the wood will become blackened as the water reacts with the tannin.
As organic matter, oak is built to take in water and utilise it when its still alive. The cells still have this capacity when they are dead, which means that, if left untreated, water is absorbed and stored inside. This will cause the frames to swell which can result in warping, jamming or the windows not shutting. Likewise if you finish with a treatment that completely locks water in, the frames will rot.
Waterproofing Treatments For Oak Windows
One of the most important steps is to ensure that the wood is as dry as can be, this is something that will be taken care of during the production period. However, dry wood is like a your morning Weetabix, it’s just dying to soak up as much moisture as it can. So you need to ensure that it can’t.
Using oil finishes is best for this job. Specifically ones that set. Oils seep into the wood creating a barrier between the wood and the outside world. As a hydrophobic material, it won’t let any water in. However, if you don’t use an oil that sets, something like olive oil for instance, the oil will go rancid, which is the last thing you want.
So what’s the best? Simple old linseed oil is about as effective as it comes, providing a nice finish, even coating and long lasting waterproofing.
Exposure To Sunlight Damaging Oak Window Frames
Water isn’t the last of the external oak window frame’s worries. Not by a long shot with the sun pouring down on it through rain and shine. Unlike humans who will get a radiant tan when in the sunlight, dead timber gets washed out, and that lovely oak marbling that you’ve paid for will turn into a greying husk.
Treating Oak Window Frames To Prevent UV Damage
Unlike your standard internal furnishings, which can be left au naturel, you will need to use oils or finishes on external oak frames which contain a pigment that will protect it from UV damage. Again, oil finishes tend to contain stronger pigments than water based finishes, though more coats will be needed. More modern oil based gels will offer the best protection available, whilst those with weaker pigmentation will need to be reapplied often in order to avoid the wood greying.
Have any specific treatments you prefer? Share them in the comments below!
Is it an idea to find a kinda niche oil based finish company that we could promote here for a backlink or shares or whatever?
Well, quite simply, because there isn’t a wood that we think performs any better in terms of its value and natural properties. Oak being so easy to work with yet so sturdy makes it the best material for a range of furnitures not least indoor french oak doors which we proudly make ourselves.
So what makes oak so good for french doors?
There are at least five factors which we believe make oak so good, give them a read and let us know what you think!
Oak is a wood that has never gone out of style and never will. Even the least knowledgeable wood aficionado can tell oak from a country mile due to its unmistakable aesthetic. The way that the grain runs through the wood like individual waves special to each piece of timber. There’s no two oak products which are exactly alike due to uniqueness of each tree’s patterning. It’s also so simple to use such a variety of finishes on oak doors that the possibilities are pretty much limitless. Extra important when it comes to french doors which are supposed to look elegant and stylish!
Oak isn’t cheap, so this might sound like a counterpoint, but bear with me for just one second. Whilst you can find cheaper veneered options for your property, the point of french doors is that they are classy numbers, they add value to your property, they’re windows into your soul. Ok, they’re not the latter, but they’re certainly the former. What oak french doors offer you are sturdy, rich investments. As the old adage goes - you can’t put a price on quality!
We’re proud advocates of ethical forestry and wood conservation. Quite simply oak is fairly easy to grow and maintain, requiring less resources to produce the timber. Sourced from ethical, local growers it’s got a lower carbon footprint than other woods that need to be imported and is a material you simply must consider in order to reduce your whole carbon output.
Do you have any reasons why oak’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!
To check out our french doors gallery click here: Oak French Doors
Once one of the most popular forms of glass manufactured in the UK, lead glass is seeing somewhat of a renaissance in popularity in recent times. Though not suitable as panes for your windows, it’s a marvellous form of glass that can be utilised in very many interesting ways.
Containing the compound lead oxide (PbO), lead glass was discovered in the 17th century by George Ravenscroft sort of as a byproduct of them trying to repair their companies reputation. In those days glass manufacturing wasn’t as simple (or at least as automated) a procedure as it is nowadays. Impurities could easily find their way into the mixture, and as they tried to perfect the art of glass making, manufacturers would often include various alkaline salts and quantities of lime in order to produce workable and sturdy products.
Having thrown the reputation of his company down the pan, after producing a wealth of glass and crystal products that crizzled over time, Ravencroft eventually discovered that by adding lead oxide he could stabilise the mixture. But more than that, the addition of the lead oxide gave the glass a sparkling and almost magical quality.
We know now that is because the inclusion of PbO increases the refractive index of the material. A higher refractive index means that the light is more likely to encounter ‘dispersion’, where the white light is split into its component colours, which is why we see the glinting and sparkling of such glass.
But it wasn’t just the decorative qualities that made lead glass so popular. The addition of lead oxide also lowered the working temperature of the glass as well as its viscosity. This means that it was easier and more energy efficient to work with, whilst the lower viscosity meant that you were less likely to end up with air bubbles trapped within your finished product.
Everything was all well and good and people were making decanters out of the stuff, glasses, tumblers. We were rejoicing at the innovation of lead glass, until, that was, we discovered that lead is actually poisonous and we shouldn’t really be making things out of it - not least things that we consume from.
Instead what we now see are ‘lead glass’ or ‘lead crystal’ products that are in actual fact made with zinc oxide or barium oxide. With a similar refractive index and low working temperature, they are just as effective and work just as well as decorative glassware pieces.
The inclusion of lead glass is something that I, myself, am particularly fond of in regards to internal doors and windows. Used as a trim, or even as a panel in the door unit, its sparkling quality can look truly beautiful and give a real dynamic look to the room.
Getting like for like replacement windows can be a real pain, and it is increasingly becoming incredibly hard to find a company that can actually provide the service. Years ago it was far simpler to get your oak windows replaced with exact replicas. There was a wealth of companies that would provide the service, but nowadays, with so many window installers and manufacturers have moved on to producing uPVC windows, the trade is dying out pretty fast.
This is a shame because uPVC, as we all know, doesn’t offer nearly the same quality as timber like oak does. Aesthetically speaking, there is nothing at all about plastic frames which is appealing to the eye; they don’t add any value to the property and offer really nothing in terms of benefit apart from cheapness. That’s not to even mention the fact that their manufacturing process is terrible for the environment and is completely unsustainable!
It’s a sad fact that, like a lot of the products sold in the modern world, we have sacrificed beauty, craftsmanship and the environment for the sake of saving a little money. Whereas there are products out there, like oak and other timber, which are completely sustainable and pleasing to the eye!
Producing Like For Like Replacement Timber Frames
Of course, it’s not just that there is a wealth of uPVC on the market, but also the fact that creating like for like replacements is a particularly tricky job. In order to achieve the best results, you must find wood of similar properties, which can be pretty tricky in certain buildings.
In most cases when we are creating replacements, we will try instead to utilise higher quality raw materials so that we can ensure a greater longevity in our products with better acoustic and thermal insulation. In this regard we will always update the glass too, though with windows that incorporate earlier forms of float glass, this may not be possible due to the constraints of planning permission in conservation areas.
Replica window frames also often call for different manufacturing techniques from their modern day iterations. Often period properties contain windows whose aesthetic appeal has derived from the particular way it was crafted, which means that you need to pay very close attention to how you work with the wood as well as the kinds of finishes you apply to it - as often the exact colour must be replicated with planning permission.
So if you’re thinking about getting replacement replica oak window frames for your property, make sure you have checked with the LPA to see what the constraints of window replacement are, in order to avoid a headache down the road!
When you face the issues of living in a noise neighbourhood, you understand the real pain that it can be. With a non stop rumble of cars, lorries and - worst of all – motorbikes driving past your house all day and night, it can be hard to get the rest you deserve, and even harder to get your children or new born to sleep.
Whilst there are a great deal of options available for to help reduce noise on the market, there are very few total noise reduction solutions that produce the best results possible. At least that's our opinion on the matter. When looking into the market place for soundproof windows, we found that stop gap solutions, or half baked designs go only some way to reducing noise pollution in your property.
Secondary glazing does actively help in bringing down ambient noise levels, and can be fairly effective in nullifying a lot of pollution, however their visual appearance is really quite poor, they infringe upon sill space and often can't be installed at properties in conservation areas.
The installation of noise reduction glass is a fairly good option. Aesthetically this solution can be fairly appealing, with the glass capable of being fit into your already existing frames (though often new frames will be required due to the thickness of the panes). Whilst they will certainly reduce noise pollution, the simple fact is that your protection against unwanted sound is only as strong as its weakest point. This means that if your frames are compromised, or simply not optimised for sound-proofing, noise will still flood your home like a leak in a ship.
Noise Reduction Oak Windows
So we took it upon ourselves and thought how can we make the best sound-proofed windows without compromising upon the quality of our oak window frames. Incorporating noise reduction glass, our bespoke oak designs have revolutionised the way we look at window design from the ground up.
Breaking it back down to basics, we looked at every single component of both our casement and sash designs to see where we could maximise noise reduction, ensuring that the frames would not compromise the reductions offered by the glass we install. From the pulley box to the meeting rail, the sills and the latches, we have made sure that every part of the window system is offering something towards reducing the ambient sound levels in the property. So far we haven't found anyone else doing anything like this and are proud to say that we offer a total solution that is better than anything else on the market right now!
We often get many clients coming to us looking for new windows to match their property. They've decided that they need to update their current frames, but have no idea what they want at all. They turn to us and say, “should I get sash or casement windows?” and, well, it's hard to say really.
Both designs offer similar energy saving and noise reduction properties, and a lot of it comes down to the kind of aesthetic you would like. In some cases, the structure of the property will influence the decision, but there is no golden rule to fit all.
So we thought we would give you an outline of their properties, so you can decide for yourself which you think are the best for your home.
These are the kind that swing in or out like a door, and can either be hinged on the sides or on the top or bottom. In most cases these windows will require a large sill area to facilitate their use, with many narrow town houses unable to accommodate their structure. Those that can, however, get the benefit of being able to fully open their windows, which can attract 'side-breezes' into your property.
It is possible to get windows that will be fit into a sill-less property, though these are most likely to be bottom or top hung as opposed to being hinged on the sides.
In properties that do offer large sill areas, they definitely suit the aesthetic a lot more than sash windows do. That's the beauty of casement, it's a dynamic structure that can really add a depth to a room. It's also true that generally casement windows can come in fancier designs due to the fact that they are aren't restricted by their mechanism like sash windows are.
A drawback is that they can look a little dated. Casement windows were very popular in the last century and became almost ubiquitous, however recently we have seen a change in popularity back to sash frames. That said, our casement windows come in modern design and can really compliment a more contemporary property.
Well, pretty much opposite of the above. Sash windows are a great system that maximises space. They don't require large sills at all, meaning that those properties in inner cities that are lacking space will often benefit a great deal more from sash installation.
In the British climate, they also give you the option to open them only slightly, allowing in a breeze whilst keeping out any excess rain. Their design also means that by and large they are less susceptible to distortion due to the fact that they are encased within a box.
Whilst their popularity is on the rise, they also suffer from certain drawbacks, like being less secure; and more prone to drafts and rattling. However, with our designs and other modern advancements in technology, these issues are pretty much part of the past.
You'll often hear this term bandied around websites specialising in windows, doors or outdoor timber structures with very little explanation as to what it is, and fundamentally what it does. Simply put, it is the combination of three or more layers of timber which are glued together in order to combat the constant threat of swelling.
Whilst we always take steps to prevent this happening within timber products, through drying the timber or treating it with a variety of finishes like paints and varnishes, the problem will always be there. This is because wood is what we call a 'hygroscopic material', meaning that it will constantly try and reach an equilibrium with the moisture content of the surrounding atmosphere.
If you look into the cellular structure of timber you see that there are cavities between the cells, in which water is pooled when it becomes more humid. This is so that trees, when they are growing, can absorb wood without saturating the cells which would otherwise kill them. The problem is that once they are dead, they still do it.
When timber takes on excess water we call it 'movement across the grain', meaning that the timber swells in a certain and predictable direction. By multi-layering sheets of timber, with each layer prone to moving in a certain direction when it swells, we effectively negate the effects of water absorption across the structure, removing the threat of the windows jamming or warping.
Advantages of using this technique are many, with its design features appearing at the top of the list. Utilising mutli-layered timber means that we still get to retain the product's organic beauty, whilst also gaining a material that is far stronger and more reliable than single layered timber frames.
It also means that we don't have to seek unsustainable alternatives which can also give us the same reliability. So we're winning on both fronts!
Multi-layered timber is as easy to work with as any solid wood, though the cost is slightly higher and the prep time slightly longer. However, it does mean that we basically don't have to worry about water absorption any more; meaning that we can create intricate and intuitive designs that we otherwise couldn't. With an increased guarantee, greater durability and further scope for design, it's quite simple the way to go!
Replacing any window system in your property is a big job, but moving changing from casement to sash, or visa versa, is a bigger job than most. This is because rather than being able to retrofit the new windows within pre-existing frames, the old window unit will need to be removed completely and replaced entirely.
This has its benefits and its disadvantages, and there are certain factors that need to be considered before you go ahead and order a new set of windows.
When going from sash to casement, or the other way round, you will greatly alter the façade of your building. This can require planning permission, especially in a listed building or a property in a conservation area. So before you get started, you definitely ought to check to see whether you need to get the Local Authority's go-ahead.
So what do you need to consider when you want to replace your casement windows with sash?
The most obvious is aesthetic. Sash was the go-to design of the 18th and 19th centuries and found everywhere in the Victorian times. As with most things, their popularity died out in the last century, with many home owners opting to install casement windows between the 60's and the 90's.
However, we are now seeing a cultural revival of sash windows which better suit period properties, and can really enhance the way that your property looks. That said, casement windows generally come in more ornate designs which can further impact the individual look of your building.
Another thing to consider is expense and time. Properties which were designed to house sash windows generally have different architectural layouts compared to those that were designed for the installation of casement fittings.
This means that when replacing one design with the other, the designers and installation team will need to consider how the windows will fit into your property. As such, replacements of this type often require bespoke designs to get the best results. This will cost more than your average like for like replacement, but will give your property a real aesthetic boost.
Whilst all of our windows will provide sterling energy efficiency, it is worth noting that the design of casement windows does make them intrinsically more energy efficient and more secure. They will also offer greater ventilation as they open far wider than Sash designs, however the sash's fixed slider means that you can keep the window open just a crack, securely, in order to let a gentle flow of air into your property.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to each window design, but the choice fundamentally comes down to what you want your property to look like. Just remember to speak to the local authority before you start ordering up replacement windows!
Image by B.C. Angell
We're often asked why we have focused on using oak in our window design, when uPVC has become the nation's preferred material for window frame design. So we thought we would give you a little break down of the differences in order to understand why we love and champion oak so strongly.
- A sustainable, green material
- Extremely resistant to insect and fungal attack
- Excellent strength and hardness
- Intricate and stunning aesthetic appeal from naturally grown wood, available in a wealth of designs.
- Easy to work with
- Easily recyclable
- Easy to mass produce
- Weather proof, and resistant to damp
- Very durable and unlikely to corrode or need replacing
- More expensive due to the initial costs, but over the longer lifespan of the oak windows it is cheaper.
- More labour intensive to produce finished products
- Can require maintenance
- Its production causes a great deal of toxic bi-products
- uPVC is created using unsustainable resources
- Will discolour overtime
- Difficult to un-install and recycle
- Poor aesthetic appeal and limited designs available
Whilst you will find many resources claiming that the problems with using oak are manifold and include the wood warping, or movement across the grain (swelling) and cracking, these issues rarely occur in modern window design. Through the use of multilayered hardwood and extended-life finishes, those concerns can be allayed.
Fundamentally the difference comes down to price – with oak windows you are paying for a highly tailored, beautiful product that will not only safeguard against weather and reduce costs in heating, but do it in style. With uPVC you are paying less for window frames that will work, but also for a product that is harmful to the environment, unsustainable and quite frankly unappealing.
image by Daveybot
We love oak. To us it is an example of nature at its best, a pure and incredible material which has been used, and continues to be used throughout the centuries. It is our love affair with the material which lead us to start out our business of manufacturing bespoke oak windows and doors, and which still inspires us to this very day.
But what is so great about oak? I hear you ask. Well, our fondness isn't mere whimsy. It is one of, if not the best material for manufacturing windows, doors and so much more.
Strength and Hardness of Oak
With a density of around 0.75 g/cm3, oak wood is very strong, though not so hard that it makes cutting or manipulating it an arduous task. It has a medium bending strength, which means that shaping it is a fairly simple process when unseasoned, though when dry it becomes extremely hard and durable. This combined with its high crushing strength make it great for use in building supports and window and door frames where it will be put under considerable pressure and stress.
Resistance to Infection and Insects
Whilst a lot of woods may require a great deal of treatment to prevent, or at least put off fungus and insects, oak's high tannin content means that it is naturally resistant to such attacks. This makes it ideal for things like external doors and windows where it will come into contact with a lot of moisture and wildlife.
Oak has an inherent natural beauty. The way in which the oak tree grows, produces a long grain with occasional swirls and burs which give each individual cut its own personality. Its intricate and individual style give whatever it constructs a real sense of uniqueness in design. That's not to mention all the kinds of beautiful types available, like Red and White Oak, which have their own quirks.
External wooden units face the issue of movement and cracking due to water absorption, which causes the grains to swell and can cause windows and doors to no longer fit within their frames. Whilst oak can also suffer from the same issue, its tight porous structure means that it will not take on as much water compared to many other woods. Combined with our triple layered hardwood designs and finishing treatments, the problem of movement along the grain is practically negligible in our oak windows.
All of these factors, along with the fact that oak is a sustainable, green product, mean that is ideal for use in construction and design. Along with its rich and lustrous characteristics, it's perfect for outer facing units which will give your property an individual and classic look.