How to protect your doors and windows from bad weather
The lifestyle in Cornwall continues to set itself apart from the rest of the UK and really, it’s no wonder that many of those who live here can think of nowhere else they’d rather be. It’s also no surprise that many living in or near the big cities are seeking to trade in their hectic, busy lives for the laid-back pace of one by the sea.
Not only is the landscape here spectacular, with its endless miles of rolling countryside, its golden sandy beaches and the dizzying views available from the South West Coast Path; the character of property here is also quite unlike anywhere else in the UK. From modern pads on the very fringes of the ocean, to quintessentially Cornish cottages embraced by the countryside, there’s a type and size of home here to suit everybody.
As any homeowner around the country will tell you, property maintenance is crucial. It’s just ‘par for the course’, especially if you wish to avoid costly repair bills, or if you think you’re likely to sell and therefore don’t want to lose money on your bricks and mortar. But depending on where you live, the definition of ‘maintenance’ can vary wildly. Here in Cornwall, for example, the proximity to the ocean and vast swathes of open countryside that we all love, also present something of a double-edged sword to homeowners. And while there is absolutely nothing like wrapping up warm during the colder months and watching, from a distance, the awesome spectacle of stormy winter waves, when the weather does turn, homes in Cornwall need to be able to withstand such exposure to the elements.
With this in mind, it’s important to keep an eye on your home’s exterior fixtures and fittings; checking seals, ensuring windows aren’t ‘blown’, monitoring for draughts, checking for cracks or signs of rot in window and door frames (depending on the material used) and, if you find any, getting them repaired (if this is possible) or replaced. It can be a battle, but it’s a small price to pay for a life in Cornwall. And it needn’t cause you a headache – after all, that’s what we’re here for!
It needn’t even be necessity that drives you to replace your doors or windows. It could be that you’ve moved into your new Cornish home and wish to update them in line with your own style, or you may be looking to ‘sell up’ and are therefore hoping to increase your property’s kerb appeal. Either way, and whatever the size of the project, the only word we can think of with which to describe our team of fitters, is ‘craftsmen’. Their ethos is very much focused on quality and ensuring a job is completed as effectively as possible. If this means taking an extra day to get it done properly, then so be it. In short, we want the work that we do to last; the last thing we want is to leave you high and dry (or, perhaps, damp) with shoddy workmanship!
It all starts with the materials. In order to cater for the diverse mix of property style and consumer practices in Cornwall, our windows are now available in a wide variety of styles and finishes, and with the rapid advancement of uPVC technology, it’s becoming more and more difficult to spot the difference between uPVC and timber products, with finishes from a traditional heritage range. Unlike timber, uPVC frames will not require re-painting, and they are guaranteed for years to come. They’re also a very secure option, with an ultra-light yet sturdy frame used in combination with various locking mechanisms and double glazing. Other benefits include energy efficiency – creating a closed-air system thanks to uPVC’s low-conductive properties; durability, thanks to a material that can cope in even the most extreme elements without vulnerability to rot and corrosion, as well as a coating that protects them from UV rays and therefore from fading; and soundproofing, working in conjunction with double glazed window panels to decrease the amount of noise that can pass into your noise by up to 50%. In short, they are a superb option for owners of character homes who want to retain their property’s original character while benefitting from modern technology and design standards.
But – and there’s always a ‘but’ – fitting them is not always straightforward! In older homes, especially the kind of stone-built cottages that are ubiquitous in Cornwall, very rarely do door and window frames conform to modern sizing standards, which immediately requires a ‘made to measure’ product. Even when they’ve been made, fitting them is rarely as simple as slotting them into place. But nothing, as they say, is impossible. As a case in point, one recent installation we were commissioned to undertake required the fitment of new windows and doors into a home with solid granite lintels. Anybody that’s worked with granite will know that any new fixtures need to be fitted around its natural contours, which is no mean feat! In this case, we achieved the desired fitting by ‘scribing’ the white woodgrain uPVC trims to the contours of these granite lintels. The finished windows appear to be ‘embedded’ into the walls, which is precisely what the client wanted.