Cold weather and damp, with the threat of more ice and snow, are a particular problem for properties in London – particularly older ones.
Where paintwork has started to crack or peel, wooden door and window frames become vulnerable to damage, eventually requiring expensive repair or replacement. This is where paint starts to fail in its primary job of protection.
An outside paint job, other things being equal, should be good for at least 5 years. We prefer to use high-quality paints like Dulux Weathershield, which has a 15-year guarantee. Older painters sometimes talk fondly about the durability of the old lead paints (we still find lead-painted sash windows 25 years after it was banned), but the new generation of environmentally safe paints is starting to rival their performance.
Repairing window frames will cost about a tenth as much as replacing them, so it pays to check if there is a potential problem. If the joinery is affected by rot it is normally only in small areas around the bottom corners of the frames, so it makes sense just to repair these vulnerable areas.
A quick visual inspection is wise, window by window. The best way to do this from inside the building leaning out (assuming this is safe). Alternatively inspection from outside, using binoculars, is effective.
Look for areas where the paint is obviously failing, cracked or peeling. Moss or other growths, such as mould around the exterior edges and joints can also indicate that there is water getting into the wood. Any visibly rotten areas of wood obviously suggest more urgent problems.
If you think you may have a problem, we’re happy to come and have a look, or to look over photographs of the areas of concern.
The effort needed to prevent damage is much less than the cost of repair, so other things to check are gutters and downpipes – if there is any blockage, get them cleaned as the water is likely to damage soffits, frames, masonry and very likely cause damp problems inside.
We are certified to use the Repair Care International system – they are the acknowledged leader in repairs for historic buildings, local authority housing and schools, and our customers have always been very happy with the results. We have more information on our website here
Don’t hesitate to call us if you think some fast action may be needed to prevent a bigger problem later.