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How Your Heritage Windows and Doors Can Offer 21st-Century Performance

Graeme Clarke April 24, 2018 Heritage Windows

Don’t assume you are condemned to living with these issues just because you have a beautiful old Victorian house, a Georgian property or any other classic period building.


A lot of heritage homeowners face the same problems with their heritage windows and doors. 

  • Cold drafts that make keeping your home comfortable a challenge in winter. 
  • High energy bills to combat overheating in the summer. 
  • And, thanks to the sounds of modern life that didn’t exist when the home was originally built – traffic, planes, trams and buses – chronic noise pollution.


You can insulate your old windows and Victorian doors with double glazing just like what can be done with non-heritage properties – and, you can still retain the original character and movement of your heritage windows and doors, getting them to operate like the day they were first built. But now, they perform like energy-efficient, noise-reducing modern windows.


The best part is, it’s more affordable than you think.



The way to experience the results you want – 21st-century performance combined with 18th- or 19th-century aesthetics – is to use the retrofit double glazing system designed specifically to solve the problems that traditionally come with restoring and insulating old windows and doors. Thermawood’s patented dry glazed Retrofit Double Glazing system is used for insulating and soundproofing heritage windows and doors and has even been approved by the Heritage Council for Grade 1 and State-Listed properties. 


And, it costs a fraction of the price of new double glazing.


The secret to success with period homes is to tailor all your heritage double glazing units to the unique needs of each room. You’ll achieve the best results possible with a custom retrofit approach.


Here’s a look at the problem-solving possibilities for your heritage home with Thermawood’s unique Retrofit Double Glazing system.



More Thermal Insulation in Drafty Rooms


A lot of heritage homes were built back to front. As a result, the front of the house is often more vulnerable to drafts and heat loss. 


This makes the front rooms uncomfortable, even with the heat on. It also makes your heating system less efficient as all that nice warm air you are paying for is seeping out through your single glazed windows and doors. 


When Thermawood comes in to address poor thermal insulation and other problems, we don’t just install insulating glass units (IGUs). We assess each space and then work with you to create a solution – tailored to each room. So, for drafty front living rooms, for example, we can install higher performing IGUs when we do the retrofit. You may want thicker glass or argon gas – all which offer better protection from the cold. Thermawood will also machine draft acoustic seals into all opening windows to remove the drafts from your old windows so they seal like a new window.



Soundproofing Heritage Windows Where It Counts


What if those same front facing windows look over a busy street? 


To dampen the sounds and significantly reduce noise pollution, we can use special acoustic glass in the heritage double glazing units. Then you have the thermal insulation as well as the acoustic performance you want.


What about making sure your bedrooms are quiet? 


With today’s level of noise pollution in most urban and even suburban homes, especially if you live anywhere near an airport or a rail system, few of us enjoy a truly quiet sleep. This is another problem retrofit double glazing can fix as acoustic glass can be used in the insulating glass units in these rooms.



Insulating Heritage Windows for Summer Heat


Another issue you could have is a lot of west-facing windows. In this case, your home is bearing the brunt of those infrared waves emanating from the sun and your home is likely prone to overheating. To solve this problem, we can use low-emissivity glass as well as argon gas to reduce the amount of the sun’s heat energy that enters your home.


Just imagine. You’ll be able to keep your curtains open in the summer and enjoy that beautiful natural light flooding in through your charming period windows, without feeling like your home has turned into a heat sink in the hot weather.


The low-emissivity, or low-E glass, reflects thermal energy. As such, it can be used to improve the thermal insulation of your windows and the glass of your Victorian doors all year. It can send the sun’s energy away from your home in the summer and reflect your interior heating back inside in the winter.




1. What about windows that don’t work or hardware that’s broken? 


As Thermawood franchisees have direct experience restoring heritage windows and doors, we also have the skills, tools and even the backup heritage-grade hardware pieces, to fix any issues.


2. Windows painted shut for the past 50 years? 


We can carefully remove the old paint, re-weight the sashes when we retrofit your heritage windows with double glazing units and have your century-old windows operating flawlessly.


3. Pieces of soft or rotted timber? 


If your windows or doors have deteriorated too much, don’t worry. We aren’t going to put in a double glazing unit only to have it fail within a few years. But, if there are isolated areas where we can refurbish the wooden frame or sashes, or the wood of your door, we’ll have it done with an expert hand.


4. Do you have lead lights that you want to keep? 


We'll have them refurbished and then installed within your double glazing.




We’ll also replace any broken hardware with pieces that look as close as possible to the original heritage hardware. Because Thermawood franchisees frequently work on heritage buildings, we either already have or know how to source the right pieces to maintain that priceless heritage look.



Why a Dry Glazing System for Period Double Glazed Windows Makes All the Difference


Although you may be focused on upgrading your heritage windows and doors for noise reduction and thermal insulation, there’s another huge benefit to retrofitting with this Thermawood Retrofit dry glazing system.


Thermawood has developed a special, patented drainage system to protect timber windows and doors against their biggest threat – water. From rain to water vapour, the moisture that forms on your glass and that drips down around the joinery can slowly cause a host of problems.

  • Wood rot;
  • Mould growth; and
  • Broken sealing.


With a special drainage system built into your double glazing, you’re not just restoring your heritage windows and doors and upgrading them to high-performance models. You’re also protecting them.


When water doesn’t have the chance to slowly work against all the beautiful materials, craftsmanship and engineering that goes into your period double glazed windows and doors, there’s no reason they won’t last for another century. With Thermawood's system you are getting the most advanced double glazing system for timber windows.



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