Windows and Glass


1stAssociated can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, independent valuations, property surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters. As you can see from this article we use lots of sketches and photos in our reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports.

We, of course, like to meet you at the property during the survey and we are more than happy to talk to you about the reports. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.


A very short history of windows and glass

If you really want to know about windows and glass then we recommend you visit our interesting people section on the website and look at Charles Brooking and read through the many interviews. You should also set aside some time to have a look around the Charles Brooking collections at one of his museums or attend one of his interesting lectures on windows, doors and staircases.
Description: DSC07014

Timber casement window


Daylight Robbery

The facts that we readily remember about windows and glass do not actually have anything to do with glass in one sense. The term Daylight Robbery, we recall being told, was introduced to describe the tax on windows which lead to windows being blocked up to save on the taxes. However we have since read this is not true at all. Whether this term is true or not, many people in the property industry would say that we cannot get the use of glass and windows right in commercial properties. The problems that we still come across have been around for many years but we never seem to learn from them.

Georgian sliding sash window


How the great fire of London changed windows forever

It is said that the reason that windows now have window sills is to stop fires travelling from one floor to the next via the windows. The window was further amended by being set back into the brickwork. You can read more about how buildings have changed over the years in a book called Lust for Window Sills written by Harry Mount and published by Little, Brown. We found this on one of our many visits to a National Trust property.
Description: 76 1666 Sash

Pre 1709 sash window


The following sketches and photos give a brief outline of how windows have changed over the years. The changes were basically brought about concern over fire



Georgian sliding sash window

Georgian sliding sash windows

Description: 77 1709 sash
Description: 78 1774 sash

Early 18th century sash window with added sill

Late 18th century sash window set back into wall


Victorian sliding sash windows

Description: 140 Victorian sash window

Victorian sliding sash window

Victorian sliding sash window

Free phone 0800 298 5424


Problems with windows

Problems with windows fall into two areas.

1. The materials they are made of

Over the years we have made windows from metal, wood and plastic and we have been on a learning curve with each of these materials.

Metal windows

The metal windows that most people remember are the Crittall windows and which is almost a generic name but is in fact the manufacturer's name. We have identified that if metal windows are not maintained they will rust, warp and twist. They often allow condensation to occur. Crittall windows are very much from the 1940's -1960's but they are still produced today.

Crittall window from the 1960's


There was a second revolution in metal windows when aluminium windows were made in the 1970's -1980's. We still come across early forms of double glazing made from aluminium.

Close up of the metal window


Timber windows

Timber windows are generally great but it does depend upon the quality of the timber. we find that older windows are well worth saving whereas newer windows from the 1970's and 1980's tend to rot unless very well looked after. we find it ironic e that many of this poorer quality timber is being used in modern housing and argued that it is Eco friendly when in fact it just means it has to be replaced (many people will replace with plastic) within five years

Timber window with paint flaking off it. An older timber window does tend to last even when neglected


Plastic windows

Plastic windows have improved vastly over the years. The common problems we come across is structural movement in a property where windows have had a structural significance and have been removed, for example, a large timber window has been removed and replaced with a plastic French door or similar. We then find that we tend to get dropping of the lintel and brickwork or cracking of the render.

We come across similar problems with bay windows where a plastic window has replaced a good quality timber window and the plastics have been measured slightly incorrectly and some settlement has occurred. Interestingly we have even been on a case where the movement from the window was thought to be movement in the structure as a whole and thought to be subsidence.

Plastic windows in a Victorian property


2.  Lack of Workmanship

Within this context we come across windows that have never been decorated since the day they were put in and plastic windows that have never been cleaned since the day they were fitted. You do need to remember to maintain your windows. You also need to think about window cleaners and how as well as cleaning the windows they can cause all sorts of damage to a window and also the roofs below that they may balance on.

Aluminium thin double glazed window


What came before sliding sash windows?

As we understand it from memory a window means an opening to the world outside. Originally it would literally have been just that, an opening, or it may have had a cloth covering or boarding forming shutters. Eventually as glass developed this was set into metal windows made by the blacksmiths of the day. Only the wealthiest people had glass and even when it became more available we remember reading that it was still expensive and a rarity. This meant that when you moved house you moved the windows as well. This was why and where the pin hinge came about as the windows could be lifted on and off of these hinges. Don't think too hard about this as we are sure there would have been all sorts of problems with different sizes of windows etc.

Pushing a knife into the wooden timbers


The Great Fire of London


Interesting people

Compare Surveys


Independent Surveyor's Advice

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, defects report, including things such as cracks, dampness, condensation, foundation surveyor to give you a call back.

building engineers

Home Buyers Reports Property Surveys - why we're the best. Engineers Reports
© Copyright

1stassociated-logo-for-footer IVSA-badge IVSA-putting-client-first call-us-for-footer

We have thousands of free property articles to help you - or call us freephone on 0800 298 5424

We have been working in the property industry for many years and have been
providing free property articles for over ten years. All for free and to help you with buying your next property.

House and Home Surveys and Useful Information

All you need to know about Building Surveys

Building Control, what do they do?

Designers and Architects will they save me money or will they cost me money

Enviroment, Your Building and Garden Gnomes

Estate Agents help sell houses and work for the vendors

Have a Structural Survey to protect you against structural problems

Home improvements, builder problems and ideas for you on how to solve them

How a Surveyor values a property, Chartered Surveyors and Regulated Valuers

How Chartered Engineers and Building Engineers can help you

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

NHBC National House Building Council

Structural Surveys and How We Can Help You

Traditional and Non-Traditional Houses and Mortgage Problems

Valuations and how much is the building worth?

Whats the difference between a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Surveyor and an Independent Surveyor

Useful property problem articles by Chartered Surveyors explaining building issues to avoid

External - Helpful information on building problems on the outside of the property

Chimney issues and problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Flat Roof Problems, how we can solve them

Foundations and Structures and Settlement and Subsidence and Underpinning

Pitched Roofs Problems and Solutions

Roof Problems

Wall Problems

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Internal - House problems we have investigated inside

All you ever need to know about floors

Asbestos in your home, what you need to know

Ceiling Cracks and Structural Problems

Condensation, Damp and Black Mould Problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Woodworm is it a problem or not? Is it active or not?

Services - Building help and advice on costly services

Drainage, what's underground can affect what's above ground

Heating; I just can't get my house warm enough or alternatively I just can't get my house cool enough

You can't mess around with the electric, you need an expert


Commercial Property Services

Building Terms Explained and Directories

Commercial Property Surveys

Commercial Structural Surveys

Leisure Facilites

Offices Large and Small

Shops and Retail

Warehouse and Industrial Buildings

Dilapidations Help and Advice What is a Dilapidations Notice?

A Beginner's Guide to Dilaps

Damp Mould and Condensation

Dampness Rising Damp Mould Black Mould Condensation

Dilapidations and Negotiations

Dilapidations Claim by a Landlord

Energy Saving what can I do?

Finance what is a Financial Adviser (We are not Financial Advisors)

Fire Risk and Help

Health and Safety Risks

Insurance how do I get the correct property insurance?

Landlords Surveying Advice

Property Investment how can I invest in property?

Property TV Reviews by an Independent Surveyor

Schedules of Condition Leasing a Commercial Property

Scotts Schedule and Section 18 Valuation

Tenants Surveying Advice

Weather how does weather affect my property?



Snow and Ice

Strong Winds

Reviews from clients on Commercial Building Surveys

Churches and Charities, helpful reviews from our clients

Industrial Buildings and Warehouses and what our clients say about us

Offices Large and Small, reviews and feedback from our clients

Pubs, Restaurants, Hotels and other Leisure facilities we have surveyed over the years

Shops and Retail, helpful reviews from our clients


First Time Buyers

Buying a Leasehold or Shared Freehold Home

Buying and Selling Houses for the experienced house and home purchaser

First Time Buyers how do I go about buying my first house and home?

Improve your property knowledge with our presentations on house, homes and commercial property

Building Surveys

Building Surveying Useful Information


Dilapidations Presentations in Detail

Final Year Building Surveying Exams for University Students or those that would like to know more

How old is your Building? Which era was it built in?

Party Walls

Surveyors and Design Tools

Disputes and Party Walls

Boundary Disputes

Building and Property Disputes

Party Wall Book Reviews

Party Walls Your Rights and Responsibilities

1stAssociated Surveyors Review for Structural Surveys and Building Surveys

Building Surveys, reviews and feedback from satisfied customers

Buy to let property clients, what they say about our structural surveys

Buying at auction, review of the survey

Buying bungalows and retirement properties and how our surveyors can help

Both at work / busy couples, how we can help and some 1stAssociated client reviews

Families with a young person flying the nest, reviews and feedback

First Time Buyers, what they say about us

Listed buildings, structural surveys

Older buildings, a review of buying an older house

Families with children looking for a new home, feedback and reviews

Buying a Non-Traditional Property

Residential Surveys

House and Home Surveys

Commercial Building Surveys

Commercial Surveys

1st Associated Surveyors Are Also Available in the Following Areas:

East Anglia and East

South and South East

West Country and South West


North and North East



London Markets

London Parks



Areas of Britain

1stAssociated Independent Expert Property Surveyors

Specialists in Home Buyers Reports, Building Surveys and Structural Surveys and Schedules of Condition

All Surveyors are Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors qualified and RICS regulated

and are Members of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association

Putting the Client First

We do not accept service of documents by email or fax