Victorian bay sash window renovation in Maida Vale, London
After seeing some of my other London projects on Instagram, these delightful new clients in Maida Vale got in touch. They were very well-informed about window restoration having thoroughly done their homework. This was brilliant for me as they were looking for a proper conservation job so I was delighted to restore their bay sash window, stone sill and lintel in a sympathetic way to the period of the property.
Meet the client...
My clients live in a beautifully ornate, large Victorian town house which has been converted into three apartments. They had a carved-stone bay window on the ground floor at the front of the house in which the sashes had an extreme amount of rot. All three sashes were rotten along the bottom rails, the stone sill was in need of a repair and finally, there was also a terrible split in the stone lintel above the bay window.
Phase 1: Renovating the sashes
The first phase of the project was to renovate the original sashes. These still had the original Victorian glass in them which my clients were keen to keep. First, I set about removing the windows so that I could lovingly restore the timbers in my workshop. Normally at this stage, I would have boarded up in rotation two of the three windows to work on just two at a time but unusually, my clients had some spare sashes from a neighbouring house under renovation so I was able to swap these out for her leaving them with fully functioning, secure temporary sash windows.
Back in my workshop, I stripped all the windows of paint down to the basic timbers so that I would be able to repaint them in a natural linseed oil paint. I carefully removed the glass and replaced any rotten timbers with new timbers. For this, I like to use a hardwood, either sapele and iroko because they are hardwearing and durable in our wet and damp climate. Finally, I repainted with the linseed paint that my clients had chosen.
Back at the town house, I reinstalled the sashes with new sash cords and draft excluders in the parting and staff beads and installed them with lime paints and lime render on the adjacent walls.
Phases 2 & 3: Repairing the stone sill and lintel
The second phase of the project was to rectify the problem with the stone sill. At some stage in the past, somebody had added a modern cement resin on top of the stone on a previous repair job probably to fix a crack in it. The problem with this is that the sill is made from soft porous limestone which needs to breathe but a modern material like cement won’t allow this to happen. Additionally, the cement was also interfering with the wood timber window sill that sits on top of the stone sill making the situation even worse by rotting the timber window sill. The timbers in the middle sash’s bottom rail had far heavier rot than the other side sashes. So, I completely removed all traces of the cement resin from the stone sill. Having done that, I repaired the damaged area on the sill by filling it with lime render, painted it with a lime paint and I painted all the surrounds with a lime paint as well to allow the timbers and the stone sill to breath. This means that when it gets wet, it can properly dry out helping to prevent cracking.
The third phase was to address the nasty crack in the stone lintel above the window, probably caused by some minor movement in the foundations over time. Again, there was a cement repair in the crack where previously someone had attempted to fill it in. I removed all the cement pointing from the top lintel on the centre sash window and then filled it back up with coarse lime with horse hair which acts as a binding agent and prevents the lime from cracking in the future as well. The coarse lime was repainted with lime wash and it blended in beautifully.
My clients now have fully restored Victorian sash windows complete with their original Victorian glass, painted with a natural linseed oil paint. This is a great paint as it soaks right into the timbers, acting as a natural moisturiser as well as providing a colour to them.
It’s very long lasting and in 4-5 years’ time when the paint may be slightly dulling, all it needs a small amount of oil applied by a cloth to bring the shine right back up. You just wipe it over, it’s amazing stuff!
The timbers are in rock solid condition, preserved and conserved in sympathetic ways for another 100 years plus and for future generations to enjoy.
If you have wooden sash or casement windows and would like to find out more about my renovation services, please give me a call on 07502 131854 or click Get in Touch.