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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why choose wood rather than PVC-U?

A: Replacement windows are an important long-term investment. They can add value to your home, save on fuel bills, reduce condensation, improve peace and quiet, and reduce the time you have to spend on maintenance. Before taking the plunge it’s worth looking at whether you would be better off choosing wooden and plastic windows. Here’s a comparison to help you make that decision.

Cost PVC-U windows are almost always the cheaper option. However, they rarely offer the best value. Wooden windows will last at least twice as long and they will also add value to your property – particularly if it’s a period home.

Warranties Wood windows typically come with have a 30-year warranty, whereas PVC-U windows typically have a 10-year warranty.

Appearance PVC-U replacement windows have spoiled the look of many period properties right across the country. Although some PVC-U companies are now making better looking period windows, nothing looks or feels quite the same as wood. With today’s wood windows, you can have authentic traditional details, such as joints, narrow glazing bars and integral horns without sacrificing performance. Modern wood windows, even when they are aluminium-clad, have a solidity and quality that are as important inside the room as outside.

Energy-efficiency Both wood and PVC-U replacement windows can give high levels of energy-efficiency. The strength of wooden frames makes it easier to fit heavy triple-glazed units without ultra-thick sections.

Maintenance Today’s windows, whether PVC-U or factory-finished wood, are low maintenance. The only annual maintenance they need is for the frames to be washed down and the hardware lubricated. Depending on exposure conditions, factory finished wood windows will need an initial fresh coat of paint after about ten years; then at seven year intervals. This brings them back to their original condition – and allows you to change the colour if you want to! PVC-U windows, on the other hand, do not need to be re-coated but will gradually lose their finish. Wood windows are also much easier to repair than PVC-U.

The environment Wood is the greenest choice of window material. Studies show its superiority across a range of environmental impacts. Most significantly, for every one of our windows you fit instead of a PVC-U window, you save around 160kgs of carbon dioxide.

Q: Can I replace my sliding sash windows with PVC-U?

A: In a survey published in December 2013, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) lists the top 10 crimes against period homes.

Number 1 on the list is ‘Replacing original good quality sash windows with inappropriate modern aluminium or PVC-U casements and stripping out original period doors.’

Q: How should I look after my windows?

A: Properly cared for, today’s high performance, factory-finished timber windows and doors will last a lifetime – studies by Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh and Imperial College London show that windows made to Wood Window Alliance specifications have an estimated Service Life of around 60 years. And to support this long Service Life, many makers offer lengthy warranties – as long as 30 years on the structural integrity of the frame and typically 8 years on the opaque coating. But to ensure the validity of your warranty, you will also need to keep to a maintenance schedule (check the conditions of you warranty).

Wash the glass regularly All glass on any door or window needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid a build up of residues that can etch into its surface. Use mild soapy water and a soft sponge. Never use an abrasive sponge or cleaner, which could damage the surface of the glass and the frames. Rinse aid can be used to help prevent any streak marks after drying.

Wash the frames annually When you’re cleaning your windows, it’s a good idea to wipe down the frames, removing any dirt or debris from grooves and recesses. This helps keep the surface of the frame free from damaging pollution, keeps vents clear and helps avoid water collecting in areas that could encourage premature failure. Many warranties require the frames to be washed at least annually.

Do not us a power‐wash or garden hose on your windows. This can lead to seal failure, allowing water to enter the frame, which can lead to movement in the wood.

Check and repair the outside of your frames Check the outside of your frames regularly for any damage to the surface – a good prompt is when you wash the windows. It’s best to make a repair as soon as possible. Wait for the timber to be dry, remove any loose paint, give the area a light sanding, wipe it down, prime any bare areas of wood and then add a good thickness of top coat. This may also be a requirement of any warranty you have. Windows and doors that are south-facing will tend to need attention first, as they are subject to the greatest exposure to the sun’s UV light.

Clean the inside of your frames Internally, timber frames need very little maintenance. From time to time it may be necessary to wipe away any grease or dust with a soft cloth and mild soapy water.

Gaskets and seals Gaskets and seals are used between fixed and opening components. They create a flush, tight seal to prevent high winds and driving rain seeping through. They need very little maintenance other than the occasional clean with a cloth and mild soapy water.

When redecorating the frames, it is best to remove the gaskets. Use mild soapy water to ease them back into position.

Hardware Door and window hardware should last a lifetime, provided it is well-lubricated and kept clear of dirt and debris. Fixings should be lubricated annually (again, often a stipulation of warranties). In addition, it is a good idea to lubricate them whenever the windows have been washed. Locks can be lubricated by putting oil on the key and inserting it into the lock a few times.

Sliding doors These types of door have a bottom running track that must be kept clear of any debris and obstacles that could damage them. Although the tracks are designed so that dust and small dirt particles do not impede their function, they should be vacuumed regularly.

Condensation Condensation occurs when warm, humid air meets a colder surface, such as a window. Single-glazed windows are particularly vulnerable to condensation, which can collect on the glazing bars and cause mould and even premature failure.

Very little condensation will occur on double or triple-glazed windows unless the humidity in the room is unusually high – as, for example in a bathroom or kitchen. In these circumstances, keep the trickle vent on your window open, or increase ventilation by using a fan or opening the window for a short period.

In certain conditions, condensation can form on the outside of the glass. This is completely normal and is a sign that the doors & windows are insulating to a very high standard.

If condensation occurs within the glazing unit itself, then the sealed unit is likely to have failed and will need to be replaced. Premature failure of sealed glazing units is almost always due to poor fitting – either putty has been used, or the unit has not been seated on blocks to allow adequate drainage of any water that might enter through the seals.

Q: What is ‘engineered’ timber?

A: Sections of slow grown softwood are cut to remove defects such as knots and glued and/or finger-jointed together with the timber layered so that the grain goes in different directions. We use engineered timber because it is knot-free and has extra stability. This extra stability is important to providing a long-lasting coated surface. Choose clear-faced engineered timber for translucent finishes.

Q: Can I choose the colour I want?

A: You can choose from any of over 100 RAL or British Standard colours, as well as from a wide range of translucent coatings that bring out the natural beauty of the wood.

You can even choose to have a different colour (or translucent coating) on the inside to the colour on the outside.

Q: Why choose West Port windows or doors, rather than use a local joiner?

A: Your local joiner will be able to make beautiful windows and doors, and he’ll fit them for you. However, our windows and doors aren’t just beautiful, they are engineered to work effectively in the toughest conditions - and tested to prove it. Just as importantly, they come fully-finished – precision painted and glazed in factory controlled conditions. This is a very important part of protecting the wood and delivering the exceptional performance of our windows and doors.

Q: Who will install my windows and doors?

A: Either your local builder, or preferably one of our West Port approved distributors.

Just call us and one of our local distributors will come round to measure your windows and doors. You’ll have an estimate within 10 days. They will tell you when your windows will be ready and arrange to install them when it suits you.

Q: How can I be sure of the quality of West Port windows and doors?

A: We use the best possible materials and manufacture to proven designs in factory controlled conditions. Our windows are tested by TRADA to ensure they meet British Standards and they are covered by extensive warranties. We are members of the British Woodworking Federation and the Wood Window Alliance, and offer windows and doors that comply with Secured by Design.

Q: Don’t wood windows rot?

A: According to research by Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, factory-finished window frames made to West Port standards – from engineered slow grown softwood - are likely to last about 60 years, with normal maintenance. They can also be repaired simply and inexpensively, whereas when a fitting on a plastic window breaks, often the whole window has to be replaced.

Q: Do wood windows need lots of expensive maintenance?

A: No. Modern wood windows are now low maintenance.

Our factory finished windows come pre-painted to such a high standard that we offer warranties of up to 8 years on the paint finish. Furthermore re-finishing is down to a rub down and a single coat of paint, with no need for time-consuming sanding-down, burning off, or chemical stripping.

Q: How long does it take for new doors and windows to be delivered?

A: The lead time is 6 to 8 weeks, from survey to installation, dependent on the current volume of orders. Your installer will give you a more accurate estimate when you receive your written quotation.

Q: How can I get to see the West-port Timber Windows range?

A: Either on the website or through one of our nationwide network of registered local distributors.
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