A stitch in time…Makes good sense and saves money


External Joinery and Ironwork

What to look for: 

  • Decayed cills
  • Open joints
  • Door fit
  • Cracked / broken glass
  • Cracked / Missing putty
  • Broken sash cords
  • Rot
  • Insect Attack
  • Rust
  • Cracks
  • Damaged fixings and hinges
  • Flaking paint 

Timber doors and window cills are the most exposed element of household joinery and with increasing rainfall benefit from regular maintenance.  When inspecting these components, look for open joints, decayed cills, cracked or missing putty.  These will let the water in which may cause doors to sag and glazing bars to rot.  Most can be repaired rather than replaced.  Fill open joints with the appropriate putty and ensure the timber is sealed or seasoned to resist the elements.

For rotten sections that are bigger than a small box of matches, then it is sometimes preferable to undertake a scarf repair, where a small section of the wood is cut out and replaced with a new section of wood. If the timber is deemed to have suffered with insect infection or dry rot, then these areas do not need to be cut out and replaced, but the cause of the water penetration cured and the timber allowed to naturally dry out. After this, they can be protected by paint, varnish, lime wash, for example, if previously decorated.

If historic glass has a hairline crack it may be better to leave it alone rather than replace with modern glass and lose the imperfections which cannot be repeated and which give it character.  If it must be replaced, choose a suitable replica: for example, modern cylinder glass is the closest to ‘crown glass’ used before 1900 and is available from specialist suppliers. 

Metal windows face corrosion if not maintained but like-for-like replacements for those beyond repair are now available, including 1930s curved windows with curved glass. 

The tops of large doorcases, dormers and porches need protection.  Make sure any metal coverings and flashings are intact.  Splits and pinholes in lead can be patched by burning-in a new piece but the work requires a specialist contractor aware of the precautions to be taken. 

Ironwork, whether of cast or wrought iron, needs the protection of a regular coat of paint. Clean away any rust before painting.  Rusting iron can expand and shatter stonework around it.  Very small repairs can be made using a metal-rich epoxy resin.

If the stone work or wall is has suffered damaged due to expanding metal work, then it is better to carefully clean the area and apply a suitable lime based mortar to the area. This will allow any further movement to be taken up in the softer material, rather than cause further damage to the stone, and it will also allow any moisture to evaporate from the area before further rust is created.

Broken sections of wrought iron (such as railings and balconies) can be welded and cast iron can be ‘cold-stitched’ by specialists.  If replacement is required, there are firms which can supply some traditional patterns or cast a replica from an original.