All double glazed windows can develop faults in everyday use. The glass can become cloudy or misted or the handle, locks, hinges etc. can wear out or fail.
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Sadly, glazed units don’t last for ever. Generally you should expect at least ten years life, but 20 – 30 is possible in the right circumstances. Over time the seal deteriorates and moisture is drawn into the unit, with south facing windows more likely to fail first.
The remedy is to replace the glazed unit within the window (NEVER let a salesman tell you, you need a new window). The cost will depend on the size of the unit and type of glass.
Of course glass can get cracked or broken, when we will attend as quickly as possible in relation to the extent of breakage and security of the home.
These are the things that do the job of the old traditional vertical sash window cords and weights.
They are in principle a spring in a tube. Specified for each individual design style and weight, they act as the name suggests, to balance the weight of the window sash, so that they are easy to lift or lower, and hold in place.
If one fails, the window sash can fall, or stick at an angle and be difficult to open or close. (You should always be careful of fingers especially, when handling sash windows. They overlap in the middle so could trap fingers, or if a balance fails, could fall onto fingers).
If a sash window is not staying where you position it, tilts and sticks at an angle, or crashes down, try to carefully close and lock it, while calling us to attend and examine it, to provide a free quotation for repair.
DO NOT INTERFERE WITH THE BALANCE TUBE OR THE FIXINGS AT ANY POINT. The spring is under tension and could fly out causing injury.
There are principally two sealing gaskets.
One seals between the glass and the sash it is mounted in.
The second is a weatherseal, of which there are generally two. One is attached the fixed frame around a window or door opening, while the second is fitted to the edge of the window or door itself.
There are a huge number of different gaskets and seals, designed for specific window manufacturer’s systems.
We are able to replace a wide range of common sizes and types, but not all designs are still available.
If your seals or gaskets have decayed, call us and we will visit to assess the problem and provide a quotation to replace them. (Subject to availability).
These can ‘creep up on you’ as they can progress from a very minor issue that you barely notice, then as they get gradually worse you become ‘used to it’, until the day before you go on holiday, the window suddenly won’t lock at all!
Don’t get caught out, give us a call, and we can probably save you time, money and anxiety later, by ‘nipping the problem in the bud’.
As always, we will not ‘embroider’ a job. If it only needs lubricating, that’s what we’ll do, but if a part needs replacing we’ll say so.
As the names suggest there are two types. Often older types are ‘turn first’. These turn inwards on hinges at the top and bottom (Handle horizontal). By turning the handle to the upward pointing vertical position, the window will ‘tilt’ inwards. Hinged at the bottom.
More recent types ‘tilt’ with the first, horizontal position of the handle, and turn inwards with second position pointing upwards.
WITH EITHER TYPE, THE WINDOW MUST BE CLOSED TO CHANGE BETWEEN TILT/TURN POSITIONS.
Mechanisms on these windows should be lubricated a couple of times a year (more in coastal areas), using a light spray lubricant.
It is important that these are maintained properly as they are prone to be draughty and/or leak in extreme weather, especially in seafront locations.
Any difficulty in operation should be investigated at the earliest opportunity.
Window handles come in a variety of types, but the two most common are: ‘Cockspur’. Not so commonly used in modern windows. Are screwed to the face of the window, and secure the window with a ‘nose’ that engages onto a pad on the frame. Generally key lockable, but older variants may use a fiddly ‘allen’ key and screw to lock. Some may not have a lock.
‘Espagnolette’. These screw through the face of the window sash to secure a square spindle into a locking mechanism inside the window. Operation causes multiple locking points to engage into concealed keeps. Generally key lockable*.
We can replace both the above types in various sizes. Mostly white from stock but individual requirements can be discussed and quoted.
* Building Regulations require certain windows to be available for emergency escape or ‘egress’. These must not be lockable. New window installations will have a green button in the handle to indicate this.
A common area of failure in windows are the hinges. Even when not obviously broken, wear can mean that the window does not close properly, allowing draughts. This is often blamed on worn seals, but if the gap or draught is more noticeable near the hinges, then hinge replacement is required.
A broken hinge can mean the window is difficult to close, or in extreme will not close at all.
Be particularly careful with large ‘top hung’ windows. That is, ones that push open from the bottom. Not only can they open a long way and be difficult to reach to close, but present a special hazard to children, or even less able adults. In addition, when trying to close from a wide open position, if not lubricated, the ‘friction’ slide can stick, resulting in the arms of the hinge buckling.
We always recommend that ‘restricted’ versions of these be fitted to reduce these risks.
There are a number of number sizes and variations in friction stay (hinges) available. For example: Restricted (usually for child safety) Egress, to allow for easier escape in emergency (Compulsory under Building Regulations in certain situations), and Easi-clean to give better access to the outside for cleaning.
Window locks principally have two components.
The handles often have locks, but these DO NOT SECURE the window from external access. They merely prevent anyone already IN the property from opening the window.
The LOCK to secure the window may be a ‘Cockspur’ handle with a nose that engages over the frame. (Not widely used on new windows).
The more common method of locking the window is with an ‘espagnolette’, which is operated by the handle and has two or three rollers, or (more commonly now) ‘mushroom bolts’ that engage with ‘keeps’ on the frame.
The alternative is to use a separate ‘gearbox’ behind the handle. When turning the handle, the gearbox drives a pair of ‘shoot rods’ that engage into the top and bottom (or each side) of the frame probably also with two mushroom bolts.
All these types are largely replaceable although sometimes with slight modifications where designs have changed.
As always, Aftercare can examine, advise and quote on what it required to deal with any specific issue.
Many windows have a trim between the frame and the wall on the inside and/or the outside. These serve to tidy up any irregularity of the plaster or brickwork etc.
These will be pretty much maintenance free, but sometimes can come loose or be disfigured by years of redecoration etc..
We can fit completely new trim, or replace existing trim which can make a significant improvement to the appearance. They can also keep draughts at bay, where movement over the years, has caused joints to crack.
Why does condensation form on the outside of new double glazing?
Unfortunately, condensation forming on the outside of new double glazing is a natural phenomenon and it arises because the window is working so well at preventing heat loss from your home.
Condensation is defined as the process by which a gas turns into a liquid. If the temperature of an object falls below what is known as the dew point temperature, then water vapour from the air will condense on the object’s surface. The dew point varies according to the amount of water in the air (compare a shower room to a sitting room for example) and the temperature of the air. The warmer the air, the more water vapour it can hold – but it can only hold so much, so if this saturated air encounters a surface that is below the dew point temperature then it will condense.
The reason water condenses on the outside surface of the glass is the temperature of the glass drops below the external dew point temperature. The new double or triple glazing units tend to have inner panes made up of low emissivity glass and this prevents the movement of heat across the glazing unit, so the outer pane never gets warm.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, condensation forming on the outside of your new windows is actually an indication that your new windows are performing very well, although we appreciate it is not ideal!
What can I do about the condensation forming on the outside of my new double glazing?
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to reduce this phenomenon occurring, however the good news is that it only occurs in very specific circumstances – a combination of high relative humidity and clear cold conditions normally experienced in Spring and Autumn.
If you are experiencing this type of ‘external condensation’ the only real way to get rid of it is to take a towel to your external windows. Or, when the sun rises and heats the outer pane of glass, condensation will tend to evaporate.
Before & After Images - Windows
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With 25 years of experience in repairing double glazing windows, doors and conservatories, you can be assured that we’ll do the job right first time for you.
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