The Window Health Check: Five Ways To Maintain Your Sash Windows With Ventrolla
PAID PARTNERSHIP/Above our kitchen is a guest suite comprising a bedroom and a bathroom, one of the reasons why this house immediately sold itself to us when we viewed. A guest room was essential when we were hunting for our new home. We moved from Berkshire to York six years ago and as a result, have a regular stream of visitors from the South (most regularly mothers in law) who partly want to see us but mostly want to see York which is pretty much the most beautiful City that I’ve visited in the UK. Not that I’m biaised, obvs.
Anyway, the room is quite compact, with double aspect. It’s accessed via the kitchen with its own separate stairs and entrance and only really used when we have guests, so it’s empty a fair amount of the time. A couple of months ago I was preparing it for the arrival of my mum when I noticed that the ledge of the sash window overlooking the courtyard was covered in black mould. Not only that, it had what looked like yellow foam coming from the bottom pane which had hardened. I storied it on my Instagram, convinced that there was some sort of leak that had caused damp.
I was contacted by Ventrolla, a local Harrogate company who have been around for over 35 years and who specialise in the repair and upgrade of sash windows. They’re a national company, although they have local teams so they service the whole of the UK. The business is focused on renovating, repairing and upgrading sash windows sustainably, taking the process from start to finish. The company was founded in 1983 by Robert Tunnicliffe who previously worked at Ford Motors – the word Ventrolla is a take on the words ‘ventilation control’. He invented the first perimeter sealing system after his wife noticed that it was difficult to keep their home warm thanks to the draughty windows! Robert patented the perimeter sealing system and the sash removal system and both of these are still core products in the company’s range. They are now the market leader in the repair, restoration and replacement of wooden sash windows.
Ventrolla made an appointment to visit and survey the window. They then sent me a summary of works that would be required and advised me that it wasn’t a leak and that it was, in fact, rot. Rot occurs when moisture enters the timber for one reason or another, which in the case of my window was that the previous owners had installed softwood timber that hadn’t been properly treated before installation.
So how can you ensure that you keep your sash windows in top condition? Here’s five ways to maintain your windows without too much trouble and ensure that problems are kept to a minimum.
1. Open regularly year round.
Making sure the room is well ventilated will help prevent condensation and the likelihood of problemsoccurring.
2. Be aware of possible problems.
Look for leaking gutters, water coming in through gaps or rot. Prewarned is prearmed.
3. Update the paintwork regularly.
Making sure that the window frames are well painted and not peeling will help prevent deterioration, particularly from the exterior side.
4. Protect the glazing bar.
By taking your paintwork 2mm on to the glass, you will help prevent water entering and causingproblems.
5. Clean the draught seal.
The draught seal is an essential part of the window and it’s important to remove and clean it regularly so that it can do its job properly.
Sash window repair is part and parcel of owning a period property and you can experience rattles, draughts, leaks and noise problems, all of which Ventrolla are well qualified to correct. Once repaired, the windows will have a completely new lease of life and allow you to keep the charm and character which is so indicative of the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian era whilst also giving the insulation and performance which we require in modern homes today.
The joinery shop is based in Harrogate and each sash window that leaves includes the draught proofing system which seals the entire perimeter of the window and has been independently tested to withstand windows of up to 71mph (very important when you live in Yorkshire!). The windows are then sprayed with a high build base coat and an anti stain primer before being cured and sent to the glazing team.
So with the survey done and problem diagnosed, what were the next steps in my window renovation?
Measured The Window
The team returned to measure up the window and work out what would be required to remedy the problem. The top sash was completely undamaged; the bottom sash required complete replacement with a new timber frame. It was important to get the measurements absolutely correct so that the replacementsash fitted perfectly.. This process took a couple of hours.
Installed The New Sash
After building the sash off site, the team arrived to install. Because it was a first floor window, it required scaffolding in order to correctly fit. The bottom sash was removed and the new one was installed and made good. They were able to reuse the brass hardwarefrom the original window so that it matched the window on the opposite side of the room. The installers protected the room by covering it in dust sheets so that the furniture and carpets were kept dust free and clean. Now all that was left to do was for me to repaint the window for it to look as good as new.
I’m completely delighted with the new window. It’s been perfectly made to match the original and the installation was seamless. I have loved working with Ventrolla on this project - they were super efficient, professional and took great care and consideration when deciding how to approach the problem. The solution has completely transformed the space. And my mum will be pleased when she visits as there is no now excuse for not decorating the room!