Secondary glazing for your home

November 14, 2014

If you own a historic or a listed building, the windows will make a significant contribution to the appearance and character of the building. However, older windows are often draughty as the joints weaken and the window becomes distorted. This causes an issue with insulation and can waste a lot of energy. It can also be uncomfortable for the occupants and reduce the quality of living.

Replacing the glass is difficult as listed buildings will require the replacement windows to be the same as the old ones so as to not remove the character of the building. Therefore, regular double glazing units may not be an option. Also, regular double glazing will not look as appealing in an older property. Yet you still want windows that are energy efficient and will stand the test of time.

Secondary glazing allows the original windows to remain unaltered or repaired, whilst reducing heat loss and air leakage. Insulating frames can also be used with a hard coating on the outside to further increase the energy efficiency.

What is secondary Glazing?

Secondary glazing is where a second window is installed on the room side of the existing window. The purpose is to cut down heat loss and increase noise insulation. These can be open-able, removable or fixed. Open-able secondary glazing is the most popular option as it allows access to the external window to allow it to be opened for ventilation purposes.

This allows for the original windows to remain, which retains the original appearance and character. Traditional window frames are very hard wearing and relatively easy to repair. Indeed, a lot of window frames constructed in the Victorian times are still standing today, whereas modern double glazing often needs replacing after 20 years. Repairing the frames is the preferred option as it is cheaper than replacing the glass and it retains the visual character and can also add to the value of the property.

Double glazing or secondary glazing

Double glazing is particularly effective at heat insulation, especially in newer buildings. In fact, double glazing is now compulsory in new builds. This can lead to savings in energy and reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

However, replacing the existing windows in a property will lead to a change in appearance and, in some cases, a loss of character. In older buildings, you will often require planning permission before changing the windows and double glazing may not be permitted.

Although double glazed units insulate heat better, the extent to which they do this is often over estimated, especially as a lot of the heat is lost through draughts. Secondary glazing is nearly as effective at insulating your home and is better as reducing noise. In tests, double glazing provides very little improvement over single glazing for noise reduction.

However, the extra space that secondary glazing requires for installation makes it very inconvenient for a lot of home owners. Before you install secondary glazing, it is important for you to consult the conservations officer at your local authority for advice. Listed Building Consent may also be required. 


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