Doors and windows are usually exposed to stresses from inside and outside the house – this makes it doubly hard to maintain their aesthetics and functionality long-term. The longevity of materials, security elements and quality of workmanship should be enough to protect you and keep your household safe and comfortable. There are several factors that can contribute to the degradation of doors and windows so start by looking at the following key areas:
Exposure to Natural Elements
A major cause of damage for wooden doors and windows is exposure to the elements. If your windows and doors are not properly treated or maintained, rain can cause the wood to become damp and can lead to rotting and the build-up of plant material – although modern materials such as Accoya wood are hugely effective in limiting this. The effects of weather are likely to depend on the direction in which your windows and doors face, and whether they get heated by sunlight during the day or whether they receive little sunlight and dry more slowly after rain. Furthermore, if you live near the coast, your doors and windows could be exposed to saltwater and sand carried in the wind, and the salinity and roughness of sand threatens the finish of the wood in particular.
Exposure to Pests
Insects and other small animals can be problematic if not detected or dealt with. Many homeowners rely on using various bug sprays in the hope of discouraging others to come back, but a more effective approach is to identify what attracted them to infest your doors and windows in the first place. Gaps and holes serve as an open invitation to pest to check out the woodwork as a potential habitat. Address this issue by sealing open spaces and using a door sweep and other fittings. Woodworm in particular thrive on digesting wooden parts of doors and windows, so make sure you’ve taken steps to repair cracks and cover hollow openings.
Well-made and properly finished doors and windows are designed to withstand the test of time as proven by many older buildings – some of which have retained their original features for centuries. These older and listed buildings often undergo maintenance work which has contributed to their longevity. The lesson here is to invest time in regular maintenance and enjoy the cost savings later – simply ensuring the windows and doors are cleaned often can have a great effect.
Other than opportunistic burglars taking advantage of open windows and doors, almost two thirds of all reported burglaries are through forced entry. Burglars will conventionally use common tools such as screwdrivers and crowbars to break glass and pry open doors and windows with weak locks and fixtures. Consider reassessing your security features and upgrading to double glazing as on top of improved strength of the doors and windows, double glazing also offers additional noise-reduction and insulation benefits. The newly fitted window and door furniture is also insurance approved.
What Can You, The Homeowner, Do?
Once you’ve identified the factors that may impact the lifespan of your doors and windows, you can then set in place steps to ensure that they are well-maintained on a regular basis. If you are replacing your doors or windows, these are all good items to consider when choosing your materials, finish and fixtures. Start with locating the cracks and damages visible to the naked eye. You can then look closer and see where moisture has built up, and take measures to dry them immediately. Check if the components are all working seamlessly, including the locks. You can attempt to fix simple repairs on your own, but it would also be ideal to have the doors and windows inspected by an expert.
- Ensure your doors and windows function effectively and are continually maintained – you will have to replace them less often.
- Well-maintained doors and windows will also save you money through lower energy use, as well as eliminate the dangers of having pests around the house.
- Home security should be one of your biggest concerns – talk to a professional about any worries you may have or how to further secure your home.
- When upgrading/replacing windows and doors, ensure the supplier is reputable and able to address the above concerns.
If you would like to discuss the options for repairing, draught proofing or replacing your sash windows, casement windows or doors, get in touch with The Specialist in Traditional Sash Windows for specialist advice and service – www.sashwindowspecialist.co.uk