Sash Window Decoration

Sash window decoration is the single most important factor in determining how long your windows will last. When overhauling, draught proofing, and repairing your sash windows it is extremely important that they are decorated within a couple of months of the installation to ensure maximum lifespan. We should never skimp on paint costs either, it is one of the biggest false economies to be found in renovating your home. Only quality paint such as Dulux Weathershield should be used. It will last three times longer than cheap nasty paints, as well as provide better coverage, and therefore less labour is required for application.

We can include decoration as part of our overhaul, repairs, and draught proofing process. When sash windows are removed they become far more accessible for sash window decoration, it also means that no costly scaffolding is required and all decoration can be done to a high standard from inside.

The process is relatively simple, we move the sash windows, we prepare the frames and sashes, prime and undercoat. We then install draught seals into the sashes, and then put windows back together with a full coat of gloss. For those that enjoy a read and some images I have put together a slightly longer version.

The sash windows are removed from frames. This allows us full access to the sash and frame. It’s a great time to carry out decoration. Technically speaking by city and guilds own guidelines (and they are worth listening to), they say that only the visible parts of sash windows should be decorated when the window is closed. this applies internally and externally. There is good reason for this. City and guilds fully understand sash window decoration and carpentry, somewhere between them it has been realised that decorating only visible parts of the window has proven to increase the amount of time your window will function without the need for further servicing, and shooting in. Now going back to the fully accessibility, I am not suggesting we should paint all of the exposed window, absolutely not. However whitewashing the frames with an undercoat doesn’t hurt to provide an excellent overall look when windows are put back together. The major benefit lay in the accessibility of sash. Typically you cannot paint the sash behind the parting and staff beadings. This can look unsightly as well as creating a point for water to enter. The most vulnerable part of any sash window is the mortice and tenon joints on the lower sash. When we remove the sashes it’s quite possible to make a really good seal all around the lower rail.

On this particular job I am talking about we needed to rebuild the lower sash first as it was rotten all the way through, stiles and glazing bars were still in excellent condition and made no sense to replace entirely.

Lower sash with a rotten bottom rail.

So we cut the lower rail out and then began the process of replacing rail, and installing new glass, then priming and undercoating reading for decoration. Below is a picture of the sash window repair ready to be refitted.

Sash Rail replaced and as good as new.

Let’s take a look at the frames. We will rub the frames down with a mechanical sander ensuring all loose material is removed. We will then fill any really obvious blemishes. This is done before any priming. We use a quality two part resin based filler to ensure the bond to frame is as good as can be. Low quality powder based fillers flake too quickly, however easy the are for decorators to apply and face up the frames.

Bay window on pillars with movement

You’ll notice the sills are cut out as well. This is because of rot. We needed to splice back to useable timber in order that the repair be a lasting one. There is absolutely no value in covering up rot.

Here is a look at the condition of that sill close up.

sash sill spliced out

Once the sill repairs are timber spliced and then resin joint filled. We can begin the process of decorating the frames and sills. ready to install the sashes back in place.

Here is a picture of the sill repaired and primed ready for decoration. Looks as good as new.

sill repaired ready for decoration
Sill spliced repaired and primed ready for decoration

We have learnt over time that there is little value glossing everywhere when we need to rebuild as it scuffs the sashes and we only need to go and do it all over again! The best method is to decorate only externally, then rebuild the window when it has been primed ready for decoration. Below is an example of the window primed and being rebuilt. This particular bay window is suffering from movement, but certainly only aesthetics, there are no structural problems that lay ahead.

sash window partially built and being decorated
Upper sash refitted prior to gloss work for easy access and to avoid smudges.

If I haven’t lost your interest yet you’ll be able to see the finger marks all over the sash and frame. It is unavoidable because fitting windows back is a tricky job. Once the windows are fully rebuilt we will then decorate, and finally install new furniture. If the client wishes to have security restrictors, then these must be installed prior to decoration and the wood flakes will spoil the sash window decoration.

Here’s a close up of the frame decorated and the standard of finish you can expect. It is on first floor and outside, but we still like to make a quality finish even though out of site. Decoration isn’t just about aesthetics, up on the first floor access isn’t easy and weather damage is far more likely to occur.

glossed sash window frame
A close up look at the sash window frame work and decoration finish

If you’d like to know more about our sash window decoration service then please do not hesitate to contact us. After the repairs have been effected, primed, and undercoated this bay will now be good for another twenty years with only the need to decorate every five years or so. There is no set rule regarding decoration. You should asses the condition of your paint work at the beginning of every summer. Sills blistering, for example would not warrant entire redecoration on windows high up. You would probably be far better advised to sand back, prime, and then gloss the damaged areas. It certainly wouldn’t be worth the costs when considering the aesthetic improvement will not be considerable. That said, if your bay is lower or ground floor, then simply patching will not look all that elegant. Windows on lower and ground floor tend to receive less weather. If you clean the paintwork every so often it will go a long way to improving the overall lifespan. Warm soapy water would be more than adequate.Here’s a look at the bay from the outside.

sash window decoration
Sash window fully decorated, draught proof, and repaired in London

An old sash window really will clean up nicely. It’s quite interesting that no other builder or sash window repair specialist were willing to repair or replace this window. Replacement is understandable as it may have caused structural issues. Repair however, as you can see from the images was plenty feasible and the overall result a big saving on entire replacement. Given this building was in a conservation area it also saved the owner considerable headache as replacement would have required like for like with matching materials, long wait times on the application, and then further fine tuning of details. A great deal of work just to get to the stage of having the work done!

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London Sash Window Repairs Ltd – Sash Window Decoration Reviews

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