Measuring is simple… right? Installing polycarbonate secondary glazing

Polycarbonate Secondary Glazing

I had been meaning to draught-proof the windows for ages.

I had contacted some companies and received extortionate quotes and then watched various DIY youtube videos.

We live in a Victorian terrace house with sash windows that I love the look and feel of, especially the few panes we have of the original glass. There was no way we wanted to go down the PVC route, but sashes are so, so draughty.

During the last cold snap I was home one day with my young son so had the heating on all day. During the mid-afternoon, I checked the thermometer on the kitchen table – a depressing mere 15 degrees! And I had cooked baked potatoes in the oven and I had the open fire going in the living room.

Basically, we were heating the street!


Polycarbonate Secondary Glazing

We had had a Home-tutorial with Neighbourhood Construction a few months previously and had gone through various measures that we could take to draught-proof the house.

I deliberated over whether to book on the Internal weather workshop – surely I could work this out myself? But being unconfident and therefore procrastinating and having very little spare time I decided it would be a good way of at least getting me started.

I don’t regret the decision at all. Ordering the materials was so easy as Neighbourhood Construction has made some good contacts for these and it meant I had a deadline for getting the stuff together and the reminder that we measure, remeasure and remeasure again.

Measuring is simple right? Surely I couldn’t get that bit wrong. Yes, I could!

I had made a really silly and common mistake which would have cost me a bit if I’d not checked before placing the polycarbonate order for the secondary glazing.


Polycarbonate Secondary Glazing

During the workshop, myself and the other practitioners, fitted secondary glazing to the living room bay window.

The process, in essence, is very simple but every window has its anomalies which are hard to explain. For example, some parts of the frames stood proud of others and none of the bay windows was square as the house had moved over time.

I understand things best by actually doing them and I was then able to finish most of the rest of the windows in the house myself over the weekend. I then had a bit of help from Simon on the upstairs bay while we discussed ideas for draught-proofing the loft.

The polycarbonate looks surprisingly smart and it’s actually very easy not even to notice they’ve been done. Furthermore, materials for secondary glazing the whole house cost less than £400.


Polycarbonate Secondary Glazing

On the second day of the workshop, we moved door jams to draught proof 3 internal doors and fitted them with new latches to hold them snug.

Again the theory is simple but it’s the anomalies you encounter which are tricky.

Our doors are all reclamation doors with huge gaps at top and bottom and some were significantly warped so getting a tight fit wasn’t straightforward. However, now I understand what I am trying to achieve I feel confident I should be able to problem solve the quirks presented by the remaining doors.

This method is not about shoving some sticky backed foam around the frames and hoping for the best. This is a long-lasting and comprehensive approach to draught-proofing and making the doors fit and as we close the doors now we feel a satisfying whoosh as they seal themselves into place.

It was incredibly satisfying for me to learn some practical DIY, having lost confidence with it over the years. The workshop was really fun too and because Neighbourhood Construction had all the right tools to hand there was no rushing back and forth to the hardware store for bits and pieces.

As a busy mum child-free time is precious and so I want to be able to continue the rest of the jobs as efficiently as possible and now I know exactly what I will need for the remaining doors and the loft hatch which are next on my list to tackle.

I love the neighbourhood approach of sharing skills including that of the overall project planning. I am beginning to work towards a plan for the next few months to enable me to solve some other more complex draught and insulation problems in the house.

Locks and Latches

The first evening after the workshop found me and my partner repeatedly dancing joyfully around the bay exclaiming, ‘it’s even warm over here!’.

Our living room never felt warm and even with the central heating on all day and open fire going it struggled to meet 18 degrees. It’s now averaging about 19 degrees with only a couple of hours heating in the morning and evening. It even hit 21 when the weather got a tad milder.

We went away at the weekend so switched the heating off. The house still felt warm when we came back. (It was a cold windy weekend in early March).

When we open the curtains in the morning there is no waft of freezing air behind them and no condensation on the panes. We now have to go outside to check how cold it is and how many layers to put on to go out – whereas we just knew when it was cold before!

Getting out of bed on frosty mornings is significantly easier!

I really can’t believe what a difference it has made and wish I’d done it years ago.

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