06 May 2020
Bespoke Kitchens Sussex

Bespoke Kitchens SussexHindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?  It would be a particularly useful skill to have before undertaking a renovation project.  Well, with the help of some local residents that have already been through the kitchen renovation mill, we’ve put together all their golden nuggets of knowledge and hindsight to create a comprehensive guide of things to consider before and during your kitchen renovation.  So, whether your kitchen requires a complete redesign, an extension, or simply a few units replacing, this guide will give you the precious foresight you need.

Before you start your kitchen renovation…

Decide on your style.  Whether, French country, cottage charm, country farmhouse or cutting-edge contemporary, decide on the look you want to achieve.  Seek inspiration from magazines, kitchen showrooms, social media and Google.  It is also a good idea to have a nosey around any friends and neighbours’ kitchens to check out what they have done.

Consider the time of year

Think about when you are going to start your project.  Early spring when the clocks go forward is a great time to start, as the main disruption will take place in late spring/early summer when you’ll have more hours of daylight, you can utilise garden space (BBQ cooking), and cold dinners are no big deal.  It is also generally, a nicer, more positive time to start a project.

Plan your budget

It is a good idea to add a 10-20% contingency to your budget and allow plenty of time.  Be realistic with time frames – do not underestimate how long things take especially when factoring in manufacture lead times and trade availability.  There will very likely be problems discovered which require lots of flexibility and patience on your part and they may add to the cost.

Pre-plan and minimise disruption

Try and pack your kitchen utensils up in order of how you use them and keep the everyday stuff to hand.  Kitchen renovations can be a lengthy process, so you’ve got to get practical particularly if you have a young family to consider.  Set up a temporary kitchen space elsewhere in the house, advisably near a bathroom where there is a tap to wash cutlery, plates and glasses.  Keep the microwave handy too and try and batch cook meals that can be stored in containers and heated up in the microwave.  After all, there are only so many takeaways you can eat (and afford!). Don’t underestimate the dust in the house.  Cover everything!  It might be a good idea to invest in plastic covers for door frames with a zip in the middle.  They are brilliant at keeping dust in the kitchen and out of everywhere else.

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Find the right people

If you don’t ask, you don’t get!  A good builder will offer his knowledge and experience up to you.  Experienced builders will have seen it all, so they are often very helpful when it comes to ideas and thinking outside the box if things don’t go to plan or you have an awkward shaped corner to contend with.  Your builder may even be able to order your kitchen for you at trade cost – it’s worth a try!  Your kitchen supplier/designer will also be able to offer their expertise in solving problems, for example there may be a longer length wall cabinet available accommodate a high ceiling.

If you are extending, it may pay off to find an architect that has a good/proven relationship with your builder.  It is important that they can work well together particularly if changes are made mid-way through the build.

No matter how good your builder and kitchen designers are, always measure everything yourself, then check and double check them.  We are all human and make mistakes so the more people checking the better.  It is also important to always check what builders/trade persons version of ‘finished’ means as it might not be what you expect.

Use builders that people you know recommend.  Research your builders thoroughly and go and speak to them face to face, this will give you a good sense of how you will work together and if you think they understand your vision.  Use certified installers, associated with a trade body (TrustATrader for example, is not a trade body it’s an advertising portal).   Make sure to check your builder has the appropriate Public Liability insurance in place.  If you are managing the project yourself and outsource anything to bona-fide sub-contractors (BFSC), ask to see their details.  After all, anyone hiding this isn’t worth working with.

Get the approval you need

If you are extending, make sure you get your drawings approved by planning and building regulations (at your local council office) before you start.  You will be surprised at the amount of people that start works thinking that permission will be a given just because other people in their road have done a similar thing.  If planning is refused, you will have to take down anything you have built.  Or you may be granted planning permission on the condition that a few necessary tweaks are made to your original plan, meaning you may have to completely start again.

Design, layout and planning…

It is important to have a thorough understanding of how you want the layout to be.  It’s got to be practical and work for you and your families’ lifestyle.  If you are aiming for an open plan kitchen/diner you may need to include a small workstation for a laptop for working at home days or maybe you’ve always dreamed of a breakfast bar for the children to sit at and do their homework while you prepare meals.  Maybe you are an active family with a wealth of muddy boots and wellies to contend with, or maybe you are a couple who love cooking and need maximum worktop space.  Your needs will determine your layout and design and whether you can fit it all into your current footprint, or whether you need a completely different set up.

Inbuilt recycling bins and microwave?  Wine fridge? Do you need cupboard for a hoover, mop or brooms?  Can you open your dishwasher doors without blocking any other cupboard doors (a nuisance particularly if it’s the cupboard where you want to put all your everyday crockery)?  Do you need a towel rail for tea towels?  Would it be beneficial to have your plates at arm-height, so you don’t need to reach too high or too low?  If you are stripping back your walls to brick and using insulation and plasterboard, make sure you account for the thickness when working out kitchen cupboard measurements.

There are lots of things to consider when deciding on your layout and design, so don’t rush it.

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Kitchen appliances

If you are working to a strict budget, try and keep the plumbing where it is.  Moving gas and water lines to accommodate the reconfiguration of sinks, ovens, stoves, or dishwashers is costly.  If you do have the budget to rearrange appliances, make sure you keep your floor plan in mind.  When it comes to layout, think about how you work in the kitchen.  When unloading the dishwasher, you do not want to walk a mile to the cupboard to put things away or have the cooker/hob too far from the fridge.

If you are having a dishwasher installed into an island, remember to take into account the gap underneath the dishwasher door which may eat into the kick panel.  It might be a great space saver to integrate your washing machine under your island, but will it work practically?  For example, when you fit the island worktop, you may want it to overhang slightly to accommodate bar stools – will you still be able to get the fabric conditioner in the washing machine tray with the worktop overhanging above? It’s the simple things!

Oh, and self-cleaning ovens are also a god send apparently!

Lighting and plug sockets

A common find is that most people undertaking a renovation project do not realise that you must think about electrics at the planning stage of a project.  Do you need extra lighting?  Maybe you need a light in a larder, or you would like new spot lighting with dimmer switches and some pendant lights over your island?  You need to consider your requirements at the start of the project as this will be vital when planning your layout – you don’t want lights shining down on top of the wall cupboards rather than shining onto your work surfaces or pendant lights hanging off centre of your breakfast bar or dining table.

The electrician will carry out a ‘first fix’ of electrics before your kitchen is fitted (to rewire), then come back to do a ‘second fix’ after installation (for fixtures).  You do not want the electrician drilling holes in your newly plastered and painted ceiling or walls at this stage due to the knock-on effect of late alterations made to the layout.  The same goes for plug sockets.  Think about where your appliances will go so you can plan where you put them i.e. where will you make tea and put the microwave?  If you are planning on having an island unit and want plug sockets on it – ones that pop up from the worktop seem to be a popular choice.

Top tips:

  • USB plug sockets are super convenient for charging phones and iPads!
  • Overhead lights are good for general illumination
  • Spotlights are ideal for lighting up specific areas where you perform tasks
  • Accent lighting is best used to highlight features in your kitchen such as under cabinets to highlight the work surface and splashback.
  • Long-lasting LED light bulbs are a great investment, some brands claim to last up to 17 years!

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Windows and floors

When it comes to your floor, make sure it is level.  It may sound like a given but a tiny amount of sloping (that you might not be able to see with the naked eye) could have a knock-on effect with everything else.  Try to have your flooring chosen before you make any key decisions as your builder will need to know how ‘deep’ each tile is to accommodate everything that’s being fitted on it!

If you are having new windows fitted make sure to factor in manufacture lead times.  At Wandsworth Sash Windows we have a 12-week lead time from the time of order, which often means customers having to think about finishes from the beginning of the project.  Another top tip is to ensure wall cupboards don’t cover any newly fitted windows when cupboard doors open.

Worktops

Obviously, you will choose worktops that fit your preferred style and taste.  However, practicality does play an important part…

  • Quartz has fantastic stain resistant properties and comes in hundreds of different styles and colours.
  • Granite has been used in the industry for many years, proving itself time and time again. It has a more natural look to it but, is just as hard wearing.
  • Marble is good for a timeless, classic look. It’s a softer material than Granite or Quartz but still a great option. Marble can be treated to help prevent it from staining.
  • Wooden worktops look great but can be challenging and a little unforgiving to maintain. Treating them with oil every six months or so will help keep them looking ship-shape for longer.

When your kitchen renovation work commences…

Stay calm and make sure you play an active role.  Do not be tempted to go on holiday and avoid the chaos.  It is important for you to be around to keep an eye on what is going on and make decisions quickly (if need be) so the project is not delayed.

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Understand the running order of works

Knowing what will happen and when, will help you to check your builder is coordinating the right trades at the right times, factoring in lead times and keeping your project on track.

Get connected

There is nothing like a bit of moral support when you undertake a renovation project.  Joining a DIY Facebook group will give you an opportunity to share advice, get ideas and vent!

So, there you have it.  A ton of things to think about before embarking on your kitchen renovation journey.  Remember, we are more than just a window company.  As we have our own in-house team of skilled builders, we are able to manage all aspects of your projects.  We have undertaken a wide range of extensions, property refurbishments, loft extensions and other large projects across London and the South East.  From ground works to plumbing, electrics to tiling, landscaping to decorating, we can do it all.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need us to ease the burden of your project.

31 Mar 2020
House Plants

House PlantsDid you know that there are hundreds of toxins polluting our air indoors?  Tiny particles from mould spores, house dust, pollen, cleaning products, gas cookers and cosmetics, all linger in the air and overtime, can have an impact on our health.  With many of us currently spending most of our time inside, we thought we would suggest a few easy ways to make your indoor space healthier with some pollutant-busting tips…

Open a window and ventilate your house

No surprises that we would mention this point first but opening a window and letting in some fresh air is actually one of the easiest things you can do to improve the air quality in your home is to keep it well ventilated.  It is especially useful when cooking, showering and cleaning (even if it is just for ten minutes at a time at regular intervals throughout the day).

Look out for condensation

With the weather in the UK often being wet and cold, it’s important to watch out for damp and mould growing in our homes.  Damp leads to condensation, which encourages mould and other fungi to grow and can lead to some nasty health problems.  Lots of things can cause this, from cooking to washing and drying clothes.  Condensation is more likely to happen in cold places in your household, like windows or rooms with external walls.

There are many ways that you can help reduce interior condensation including:

  • Using extractor fans in your bathroom and kitchen and opening windows after showers and baths to help circulate the air in the room.
  • Try and prevent leaks from your roof and any water damage
  • Dry your washing outside (if you can)
  • Remove any mold straight away and wipe down your windowsills regularly to keep condensation down.

Houseplants can help clean the air

Did you know that having plants around can improve the air quality in your home as well as look great on your windowsill?  Many houseplants work super hard at cleaning our air of toxins and releasing humidity back into the atmosphere.   For example, Aloe Vera emits oxygen at night whilst simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide – something we naturally produce when breathing. It is one clever plant at purifying the air and aiding a good night’s sleep.  Plus, the gel inside the spiky leaves also makes an excellent moisturiser – a great way of making your own beauty products at a time when you might not be able to get out and get any from the shops. 

Choose candles wisely

Candles may smell nice and may look lovely on your windowsill but, they can give off nasty toxins.  Most scented candles contain paraffin wax which, when burnt, releases toxic chemicals into the air and long-term exposure can be harmful.  Don’t worry though if you love a scented flickering flame at home, choose soy or beeswax candles instead.

Bust the dust

House-dust mites are common to trigger allergies and with so many of us at home over the weeks ahead, it’s important to keep them at bay as much as possible.  A regular whizz around with a vacuum cleaner will do the trick – it’s good exercise too!

We hope our pollutant busting tips are helpful in keeping your indoor space healthier.  If you are using your time at home to plan a window/house renovation project, please do not hesitate to contact us for a chat.  We are always happy to talk through any questions and queries you have even if you are not ready to start the project yet.  Call us on 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

09 Mar 2020
Wandsworth Sash WIndows Green Lane Stained Glass front door

Wandsworth Sash WIndows Green Lane Stained Glass front doorStained glass has been around for centuries, in fact, tools employed by craftsman for making glass have been known to date back thousands of years.  Traditionally, stained glass was used in British churches and became more common in houses during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.  The privileged few that boasted stained glass in their home often used them to pull rank in social status.

Today, we know that although some of the tools to create stained glass have been modernised and improved upon, the traditional skill has been retained, and stained glass windows are still hand crafted as they were centuries ago.  Unlike most window companies, here at Wandsworth Sash Windows we love working with stained glass and we are able to either repair and refit (or make new) your existing windows, or if this is your first experience of stained glass windows, we can create a brand new bespoke design especially for you.

Stained glass window repair

If you are looking to revamp or repair your existing windows, our team of very skilled craftspeople would love to help.  One of our installers will visit your home and carefully remove the existing stained glass.  The installer will do this using extreme precision as old, fragile glass is not often in the best condition.  The installer then carefully wraps and stores the glass.  We will temporarily re-glaze the openings with clear glass before we send to our workshop to be expertly glazed into new frames.  If the glass needs to be repaired in any way we may send to our friends at Bromley Stained Glass where they help us with a range of specialist works from re-soldering a small amount of lead, replacing panes within the stained glass unit with new glass that matches the existing elements, to replacing all the leadwork.

New stained glass windows

If you are new to stained glass windows or would just like to start from scratch, then we would love to arrange a design consultation to either match your existing windows or create a completely new and bespoke design with you.  Making new stained glass allows us to seal it inside a double-glazed unit to create double-glazed stained glass windows.

The manufacturing process

There is a reason why the manufacturing process of stained-glass windows has remained the same for thousands of years…because it works!  However, it is a highly skilled craft that requires time to perfect.  For the manufacture of new leaded glass, we would allow 4-6 weeks.  If replicating the existing glass, the design timeframe could be as little as 2 days, or a few weeks if there is a lot of back and forth between our team and the customer.

 

How much does a stained glass window cost?

We can either repair and refit the existing or create brand new designs. We can usually quote for both options.

Obviously, the price will depend on your exact requirements but as a guide:

  • We recently repaired existing windows on a property in Kings Hall Road (Beckenham, Kent) and the repairs cost around £400 for all ten panes.
  • We recently installed new leaded glass on a property in Green Lane (Chislehurst, Kent) which cost around £950.

          

If you are thinking about revamping your property and would like a stained glass feature, or bespoke windows, doors or shutters for your home improvement project, please do not hesitate to contact us for a chat.  We are always happy to chat through any questions and queries you have.  Call us on 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

11 Feb 2020

Certass are specialists in installer certification for the building industry.  In order to become members of Certass, companies are assessed inline with specific licence requirements and industry standards.  In a nutshell, Certass financially and technically assess its members to ensure they meet the required standards.

When did Wandsworth Sash Windows join Certass?

Having previously been members of another government authorised scheme for many years, we decided to switch our company over to Certass a few years ago.  We officially became members of the Certass Competent Person Scheme (CPS) in August 2017.  This essentially means that Certass have inspected our team of installers and surveyors to ensure they are competent in their work and have certified that our team meet the high standards held by Certass.

How has becoming a Certass member helped our business?

When it comes to finding the right tradesperson for a project, whether commercial or domestic, trust is king and being recognised by a well-known and respected trade body is a fantastic endorsement and privilege.  Being members of a respected, award-winning scheme like Certass helps us show our customers that our company and its products, services and standards are held in high regard.  Customers can also feel rest assured that the work we complete for them will be officially certified, a must-have requirement if they are planning to sell their property at some point in the future.

The Certass logo is on all of our letterheads, published materials and website which immediately puts customers at ease when they receive a quote from us through the post, read one of our brochures or browse our company online.

How does a Certass Certificate help our customers?

We specifically chose to switch to Certass due to their efficiency in issuing customer copies of certificates, something that the previous scheme we belonged to was not very quick at doing.  It is often the case that customers lose their original certificates and only realise they need it when they are selling their property, at which point they need a copy of their Certass Certificate ASAP.  If certificates are slow at being issued it causes numerous calls from customers chasing them up which is time wasting and frustrating for our customers.  Certass are also excellent at helping customers with queries after installation – being able to contact and physically speak to someone at Certass to gain advice is a service that is much appreciated by our customers.

It’s not just customers that are assured by the Certass brand either, architects and other trades that have dealt with Certass previously and found them helpful are assured by our certification and are therefore confident when recommending us to their clients.

We are now working towards becoming registered members of the Certass CQ-Assured Workmanship Scheme, as well as working towards being certified under the Certass Thermal Ratings Register (TRR) as a fabricator.

If you are looking to install sash or casement windows in the coming months, or maybe you are considering repairs to your existing windows, don’t forget we are always on the end of the line to chat through your questions and queries so don’t be afraid to give us a call on 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

06 Jan 2020
young-boys-looking-out-sash-window

young-boys-looking-out-sash-window

A home boasting elegant sash windows is often admired for the defined period style that sash windows evoke. However, due to the age of sash window design, there are often common misconceptions that they are not as secure as newer style window designs. But sash windows have stood the test of time for a reason.
If you are thinking about installing restrictors on your windows to restrict how far your window is able to open, you will be pleased to know that it is an easy D.I.Y task that even beginners can do. Whether you want to childproof your sash windows or add some extra security to prevent intruders, our step-by-step guide on how to install a sash window restrictor is all you need.

Where should I fit a sash window restrictor?

Typically, sash restrictors are fitted 100mm above the mid rail, so that the window can only be opened by 100mm. 100mm is the industry standard fit as it is estimated that a baby could not fit through a 100mm opening and fall out the window. For customers that do not have children to safeguard, but are concerned about security, we would recommend fitting the restrictors directly above the mid rail, so that if the bottom sash is forced open by an intruder with a crowbar (for example), then the restrictors will prevent any further movement.

Are sash window restrictors childproof?

Yes, they sure are.  Unlike sash window locks, restrictors require a key to open the window and therefore ensure a childproof sash window.

Which sash window restrictors should I use?

There are a variety of sash restrictors on the market, all of which come with their own unique installation instructions.  It is very important that you purchase your restrictors from a reputable ironmongery supplier and avoid ones from sites like Amazon that can be flimsy and unreliable.  We would recommend going to Mighton or Reddiseals.

Some sash restrictors from these suppliers are easier to fit than others. Our preferred product is the MigStop from Mighton

Install a sash window restrictor in 5 easy steps:

This is a guide to fitting the MigStop restrictor from Mighton.
Parts list:

Migstop

Close and lock sash before starting installation. Measure 100mm up from top of bottom sash and mark window frame as shown above.
Drill a 10mm diameter hole 18mm deep on the marked positions on the top sash.

Migstop

Using a 6mm Allen key, screw the Insert Unit (A) into the holes on both sides of the top sash.
Attach Barrel Unit (E) into Insert Unit (A) using the Key (B) provided and lower the sash. Install the Strike Plate (C) where the Barrel Unit (E) meets the meeting rail using the Screws (D) provided.

Migstop

Verify device operates correctly and window opening cannot exceed 100mm.

You can de-activate/activate the MigStop by removing/attaching the barrel unit with the key provided.  Make sure you keep the key in a safe place!

If you are looking to renovate your existing sash windows this year, or maybe you are considering sash windows for the first time, don’t forget we are always on the end of the line to chat through your questions and queries so don’t be afraid to give us a call on 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

05 Dec 2019

woman-watering-plants-on-window-sil

As much as we love the twinkly lights that illuminate our living rooms at this time of year, they are not your only option when it comes to adding colour and brightening up your home during the winter months.  Here are our suggestions for some blooming lovely houseplants that will really make a festive statement on your window sill.  Keep them in the right conditions and they will impress your friends and family well into the New Year.

Five favourite plants that will make your window sill shine

    • Pretty Poinsettia
      Top of the bill is Poinsettia.  A cheery plant that are always a popular choice over Christmas for their brightly coloured brachts ranging from pale cream through to deep red, the most popular being scarlet.  Many of us dispose of these lovely plants once they have started to fade and the season is over but with a little care, you can keep them all year and they should colour up again next winter.  They will thrive in a well-lit window but will not appreciate drafts so make sure you take care of any window repairs before putting them on display.
    • Peaceful Pelargoniums
      If you like full-on colour, then pelargoniums are a must for your essential winter houseplant checklist.  They produce plenty of flowers and are a real showstopper.  Plus, scented leaf varieties will save you stocking up on festive scented candles and Ivy-leaf varieties make good trailers from a high window ledge.
    • Christmassy Cyclamen
      Indoor cyclamen originate from a wild species native to the Middle East.   They are pretty, reliable plants that look great in arrangements or on their own.  Modern fusions include those with silver marbled leaves, frilled petals, fragrant blooms and miniatures, and a range of flower colours.  Cyclamen will bloom for several months and can flower again in future years.
    • Angelic Azalea
      Indoor Azaleas need slightly cooler conditions to help the blooms last longer.  Avoid direct sunlight – a west or east-facing window sill is ideal.
    • Decorative Cymbidium Orchids
      Cymbidium Orchids make a great statement with their beautiful stems of exotic, waxy flowers.  Great for larger windows where you have a bit more space to show them off to their best advantage. These will look good right through till next spring when you can cut them back and neaten them up for the new season’s growth.

    So, there you have it…plenty of options to deck your halls and your window ledges to keep the festivities going until spring.

    If you are looking to undertake a project in the new year, we are always on the end of the line to chat through your questions and queries so don’t be afraid to give us a call on 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

25 Nov 2019
Building plans

Building plansIf you are planning on undertaking a project at home you may want to consider the following key things to help keep things running smoothly and to schedule.  We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of kitchen refurbs and loft conversions over running by weeks on end haven’t we?  Well, whether you are planning a new bathroom or a sash window renovation, here are four fundamental things that will help you avoid delays and keep your purse strings tight.

Consider production lead times

When undertaking any self-build or renovation it will pay to be proactive and to constantly think ahead; to think about what comes next and what comes later down the line.  Some materials are off-the-shelf so they are straight forward to acquire.  However, some will have longer lead times and need ordering well in advance.  Here at Wandsworth Sash Windows we have a 12-week lead time from the time of order, which often means customers having to think about finishes at the same time as being involved in preliminary site works.

Co-ordinate trades

Make sure you are aware of the sequence of events within your project so you can think ahead as to requirements for up and coming labour.  A helpful tradesperson may let you know that they will be requiring a follow-on trade, especially as they won’t want to be held up by their non-appearance.  But, you can’t just rely on their good will alone, it is your responsibility to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be at the right time.  Failing to think ahead will often lead to breaks in the timeline and that will, inevitably, lead to an increase in costs and lots of frustration on all parts.  In short, know from your builder at the beginning of the project what the lead times for things are and what order things will happen in so you can plan accordingly and avoid costly delays (which will be vital if you are having to rent whilst the work is being completed).

Communication is king

Most arguments that occur on site between client and tradesperson result from unclear or miscommunicated arrangements and expectations before the job commences.  Your list of what you expect may be fully detailed in many cases, but in others, it is perhaps best to simply include the whole trade in your description of what you are expecting or requiring.  For example, if you are having lights fitted in your extension followed by a new kitchen installation, who’s responsibility is it to wire up your new hob and extraction unit?  The electrician that has been and gone since their work on your extension or the kitchen fitter? Make sure at the very onset that you make it clear who is going to be responsible for what, as you don’t want to have to pay for an unnecessary return visit.

Make sure you include who is responsible for clearing up too – another grey area between trades.  Often, one tradesperson (say a plasterer) follows on from another tradesperson (say an electrician).  After the plasterer has finished his work and left the property, the electrician arrives to find that the plasterer may not have prepared the areas around the sockets correctly and will refuse to proceed until the plasterer has returned to do more work – a costly, return trip that could have been avoided.  Make sure that a tradesperson knows what finish you expect and ensure that they don’t cut corners.  Proactivity is key – don’t assume trades will communicate amongst themselves.

Find the right builder

Word of mouth and customer reviews are always a great endorsement when it comes to reliability and trustworthiness of a builder or tradesperson.  Failing that, check out this handy guide to help you find a reliable builder that is right for your project.

So, remember to know your lead times (your builder will not appreciate being told to ‘go quicker’ when it is beyond his control!), communicate your project aims clearly and communicate changes and plans to everyone that has a part in the project to avoid unnecessary spend and timely delay.  Manage your expectations and work with a builder you can trust – the majority of our work here at Wandsworth Sash Windows is from word of mouth recommendation.

We are always on the end of the line to chat through customer’s questions so don’t be afraid to give us a call on 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

21 Oct 2019

For longer-lasting, better looking timber sash windows, regular cleaning is recommended.  Cleaning your glass and timber surfaces often, will also help keep your sash windows functioning smoothly and will aid in letting light in and keeping draughts out.  If you are wondering how best to clean your sash windows whilst keeping your feet firmly on the inside of your home, read on for our advice…  

Safety precautions when cleaning windows

When cleaning any windows, always put your safety first.  When glass and heavy timber structures are involved, you can never be too careful about keeping safe.  Never try to clean high windows without the necessary equipment or try to clean without two feet firmly on the ground.  It’s always tempting to stand on a stool or chair but please avoid doing so.

Cleaning traditional sliding sash windows in five easy steps…

  1. When cleaning, the outer face of the upper sash should be cleaned first. Simply slide both sashes right down, carefully reach over and clean the top half of the outer glass.
  2. You are now able to clean the inner (bottom) sash by lowering the top sash to its limit and lifting the bottom sash halfway up to clean the upper half of it.
  3. Raise both sashes right up to their limit and clean the lower half of the outer glass.
  4. Pull the inner sash half-way down to facilitate access to the lower portion.
  5. Admire yourself in the pristine reflection!

What should I clean sash windows with?

To clean the inside of sash windows we recommend a glass cleaner and microfibre cloth because the inside of sash windows are usually not as dirty as the outside. For outside cleaning of sash windows, you should choose a dishwashing liquid mixed with water and use a sponge.  Remove any dirt from the timber with a wet soapy cloth but be sure to dry after cleaning for a more polished finish and to remove excess water. The more regular you do it, the easier it is.

Inspect your windows for repair

Cleaning provides a great opportunity to inspect your sash window parts for any sign of wear and tear.  If there are any signs of damage, it always pays to act quickly. Repairing timber sash windows sooner rather than later could save you lots of money.

Please feel free to contact us for any advice on your sash windows.  We are always happy to chat, obligation free.  Call 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

27 Sep 2019
Wooden windows

Wooden windowsOur customers often have questions regarding types of wood, and regularly ask us ‘should I choose hardwood or softwood sash windows’? The short answer is that it comes down to personal preference – both types of wood have their plus points and will make durable, hardy and very beautiful windows.

In general, we use kiln dried redwood when we make our windows. This is a softwood that is easy to work with and that we have found to be a durable, long-lasting material. That’s not to say we can’t use other materials and you can decide on the material that is right for your property when you are having new sash or casement windows made.

Softwood vs hardwood windows – which option should I choose?

When you are deciding between hardwood and softwood windows, essentially the choice is yours. However, we would generally recommend softwood windows for the following reasons:

  • Softwood is an easier material to work with when crafting windows and doors. This is very important when making sash windows in particular, where designs can be intricate, especially if period features are being restored or imitated.
  • Softwood is more environmentally friendly. Softwood trees take less time to grow and, due to being less dense, the wood will dry out more quickly. This means that less energy is required to transport and process softwood, and the trees can be regrown much more quickly. It’s by far the most sustainable option.
  • Softwood tends to be cheaper. Again, the fact that hardwood takes longer to grow, cut and process also makes it more expensive. Softwood will be a lower-cost option for your windows.

Some people do still choose to have hardwood windows – these are some of the reasons why:

  • The new windows are being matched to existing hardwood frames. If you aren’t changing the windows in the whole of the property, you will want to match new windows to the ones that are already there.
  • Some people prefer the appearance of the woodgrain. However, woodgrain tends to be less important for sash windows, as the wood is usually painted.
  • Hardwood is durable and fire resistant – you can expect it to last for many years as the density is higher. This is why hardwood is usually used for floorboards and decking, and is a popular option for cladding and furniture.

Hardwood vs softwood – what’s the difference?Wooden windows

Softwood: this comes from evergreen trees that are usually coniferous and have needles and cones. The wood itself is much less dense than hardwood, coming from fast-growing trees.

Some of the most popular types of softwood are:

  • Redwood
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Douglas fir
  • Spruce
  • Yew

Hardwood: this type of wood comes from deciduous trees and broadleaf evergreen trees that flower. The trees are slow growing and the wood has a dense structure.

Wooden windowsSome of the most popular types of hardwood are:

  • Oak
  • Ash
  • Alder
  • Beech
  • Birch
  • Maple
  • Walnut

Whilst softwood is generally softer and easier to work with when manufacturing windows, this isn’t always the case. Yew is hard for a softwood, and balsa is soft for a hardwood. It can be difficult to understand the properties of different types of wood and choose the one that will be best. If you would like any help, we regularly advise our customers on the best kinds of wood for their windows. Please just ask – call 020 3930 1457 or email info@sashwindows.london.

Redwood windows – our most popular option

Our timber of choice is redwood, specifically Scandinavian kiln-dried redwood.

We choose to use redwood that has been kiln dried because this process will reduce the moisture content to make sure the wood is not going to warp. Kiln drying is faster than letting the wood dry out naturally, and it means that moisture removal can be fully controlled.

Bespoke hardwood or softwood sash windows – the choice is yours!

Wooden windowsWe make all sash windows by hand in our very own Wandsworth Sash Windows workshop. We use Scandinavian kiln-dried redwood as standard, but we can use any type of timber you like, as every element of your new windows will be made by hand, by our skilled carpenters.

If you would like any help or advice when choosing the most suitable timber for your new sash or casement windows, we are more than happy to help. We can talk you through the options and make sure you choose the right timber for your property. If you have existing windows and would like us to match your new windows to them, or you would like a new sash for an existing box frame, then we can also offer our expertise.

We make all windows and doors ourselves in our workshop and you are welcome to come and see your products being manufactured in the timber of your choice.

Please get in touch to discuss your sash windows, casement windows, and the best types of wood for you. Call 020 3582 762, email info@sashwindows.london or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.

02 Sep 2019
Child_safety_bolts_on_Sash_Windows

 One of the questions we are most often asked is ‘are sash windows safe with children in the house?’ It’s understandable – children are curious and accident prone, and it’s always worth considering how you can make your sash windows safer with little ones around. This is an especially important consideration with older sash windows, where the lock could have become looser, making it easier to open the window. Sadly, ten children are killed each year due to a fall in the home, and most of these cases involve stairs or windows. You just can’t be too careful with young children around.

Sash window child safety

You will be pleased to know that it’s perfectly possible to keep children safe around sash windows. You just need to take steps to ensure the windows can’t be opened too far, or that your children can’t get too close to them. In this guide, we will tell you about some of the key safety considerations for sash windows, so you can have a truly child-friendly home.

Sash window safety restrictors

Sash windows can be easy for children to open, or children might be able to fiddle with a sash window that is already open, creating a larger gap that they could fall through.

It’s simple to make sash windows childproof. All you need are child safety window restrictors. These window restrictors are little bolts that sit at the side of the upper part of your sash window, restricting its opening. They are operated using a specific key for added safety, and they are fitted at a height that is inaccessible for young children.

If the sash is raised more than ten centimetres, then the bolts come into play, preventing it from being lifted any higher. This means the opening will be too small to pose any immediate danger to your child. If you would like to open your windows further when children aren’t around, you can unlock the bolts using the window restrictor key, allowing you to operate the window as normal.

As an additional benefit, window restrictors can also act as a security feature. If someone attempts to raise your sash window from the outside in order to enter your home, they will be prevented from doing so by the window restrictor. The ten-centimetre gap is good for children, and good for protecting your home from break ins.

Sash window safety restrictors are a low-cost solution for childproofing your home, and they are aesthetically pleasing as well. They can be fitted when we install your sash windows, or they can easily be fitted retrospectively as your family grows. Talk to our team – we are always happy to advise on the safety features of sash windows. Call 020 3930 1457 and we can advise you further.

Sash window safety guards

When children are very young and just starting to walk and explore, you might not want them to be near an open window at all, even if it is only open very slightly. In this instance, it is also possible to install sash window safety guards. These clever contraptions are similar to the child safety gates you can use by staircases, creating a barrier that your child cannot cross and keeping them safe from falls. You can get various designs; some grilles can be used with sash windows and others are designed for use with casement windows. Check the specifications to see what will work for your home.

Double hung sash windows for extra safety

Double hung sash windows feature two moveable sashes set within the box frame. This means that the window can be opened by sliding the bottom panel up, as well as by sliding the top panel down. Many families with young children prefer to install double hung sash windows. They can open the top window for ventilation and it will be too high for children to reach, making it easier to keep little ones out of harm’s way. Of course, children are curious and may still be able to climb up to the window, so keep a close eye on them and make sure an adult is always present.

Sash window safety and security – an important point for the whole family

Ensuring the safety and security of your sash windows is important for the whole family. You will naturally want to make your home as secure as possible when living with children, and windows are one of the most common entry points during burglaries due to their fragility. A simple and proactive step that you can take is to upgrade old sash windows; burglars are always going to look for the easiest option. If it’s a choice between targeting a property with old sash windows in crumbling frames, or a property with brand new sash windows in strong, robust frames, the visibly older windows are going to be the more vulnerable option.
How do sash window bolt restrictors workChild safety bolts on Sash Windows

General sash window child safety tips

Here are some general tips for keeping children safe when you have sash windows in your home:

  1. Only have the windows open when an adult is present
  2. Don’t put anything underneath the window that your child could climb onto, such as low tables or toys
  3. Don’t leave anything near to windows that could become a trip hazard
  4. Never let children climb up onto windowsills
  5. Make sure your sash window restrictors are working correctly – test them regularly and get them fixed straight away if you notice they are becoming old or inefficient
  6. Open the top window instead of the bottom window if you have double hung sash windows
  7. Talk to older children and sensibly explain the dangers of going too near to sash windows
  8. If you have window restrictors, ensure that you keep the key out of reach of children

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Original post August 2015

Here at Wandsworth Sash Windows one question we often get asked is “what additional security can I have to prevent my children from opening my windows?”

Sash windows are traditionally associated with old and old-style buildings. Around one hundred years ago people didn’t take health and safety as seriously as we do today. In short, if you fell out of a sash window then tough – it was your own fault!

Original Sash windows do raise concerns when considering safety. Old sash windows are unlikely to have locks or, if the window has fallen into disrepair, then the lock is likely to be broken or easy to undo.

Young children are naturally inquisitive and like to ‘fiddle with things’, and don’t really have that much of an idea about their own safety. Sash windows can therefore be very easy for them to open, and because of their design as being close to the floor, an adventurous child can soon climb onto or even out of the window, putting themselves in serious jeopardy.

You might think that “my child would never do that”, but the unfortunate truth is that around 4,000 children fall through open windows each year in the UK alone. Many of them suffer serious injuries, sadly including fatalities.

The good news is that making your sash window ‘child-proof’ is not difficult at all. All you need to do is to choose some child safety window restrictors.

These restrictors are little bolts that sit at the sides of the upper part of your sash window and operate using a specific key. Crucially, they sit at a height that is out of reach of most children who are too young to understand the danger inherent in messing about with windows.

If the sash window is raised more than ten centimetres, then the bolts come into play and prevent the sash window being lifted any higher. This ten centimetre gap is specified as the safest distance to prevent any age of child falling through the window.

When it comes to purposefully lifting your sash windows fully, all you need to do is unlock the bolts using your window restrictor key. You can then slide the sash window beyond the restrictor, and to whatever height you choose.

One additional benefit of window restrictors is that they act as an additional security measure if someone attempts to raise your sash window from the outside with the intent of gaining entry to your home. Burglars are definitely not able to squeeze through a ten centimetre gap and you will be able to leave your sash windows partly open without worrying about security which is particularly useful during the hot summer months..

When it comes to sash windows, window restrictors offer a very low cost solution to some important safety issues, both for the safety of your children, and the safety of your home.

If there is anything else you would like to know about sash window safety, please do get in touch. We are always happy to offer you advice – our team know a great deal about sash windows and how they work.

Call 020 3930 1457 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.