The windows in your listed property hold a great significance to the heritage of your home. The loss of these windows may decrease the value of the home, as it contributes to the overall traditional architecture of the house. These are reflective of the skill and the material that is a part of the historical fabric. That is why replacement of windows is treated as a last resort because it threatens the loss of heritage of the home. Unfortunately, old windows are very vulnerable to damage, especially because it is constantly exposed to harsh weather. Thus, if your window is beyond repair, then these steps might be in order in replacing them.

You might also want to check out: Period windows: all about your listed building windows

Getting advice

It is important to seek advice, especially when handling a Grade II listed building, or any listed property, for that matter. Consulting specialists and local planning authority on what to do with your windows, as sometimes there is no need for replacement, especially when repair is still possible.

Applying for consent

Work on period windows, especially if not only for maintenance or repair, require permission from the local planning authority. This is to ensure the quality of the parts that will be incorporated into the window. Like for like materials are to be used and replacing them with poor quality materials can be penalised. It is always important to run proposals through the local planning authority or conservation officer to be able to work out a foolproof plan in terms of replacing it.

Replacing windows

In replacing windows, it is best to let the skilled experts handle the job. Many companies may provide the service that you may need to execute the proper replacement steps, so it is best to contact them to get the right fit. The next parts will briefly explain possible replacement procedures you may do on your window, after getting the consent, that is.

Replacing windows beyond repair

It is important that exact windows replace the old one. This is to ensure that it retains the heritage, despite replacing the old material. Accurate copies of the windows are to be made, that is, from material to the execution, as well as the operations that can be done by the window (functionality). Old glass is to be salvaged and reused, as well as ironmongery, whenever possible. Be careful in choosing the products that you choose, and make sure that you get in touch with the right people who can do this job accurately for you.

Replacing inappropriate windows

Some windows that are already in place may be already wrong, in terms of materials or design. This may be due to previous owners who made the wrong calls in dealing with listed building repairs. When replacing these windows, the new windows should be kept according to the period and architectural style of the house. You may want to ask for advice from specialists or your conservation officer in learning about the windows that may go with the property.

Reinstating missing glazing bars

Glazing bars are often removed in trying to keep up with the times, especially in a more modern setting when larger sheets are more in the trend. If this is the case, reinstatement may be possible. This is especially true when the alterations made damage or decrease the value of the property.

For more information on making changes to your windows, you can follow this article from Historic England.

Replacement of traditional windows should always be a last resort, but if your windows are inappropriate or beyond repair, then you should definitely consider replacing them. Replacement comes with a few caveats though and using this knowledge, you may now be involved in transforming your windows into a gorgeous one!

This article was written on behalf of Boulton & Boyce by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at

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