Historic buildings are not just a beautiful addition to any neighbourhood, but important cultural assets. Preserving traditional homes and buildings is thus in the public interest and regulated by special building regulations in many countries. They typically focus on conserving the original period look across the facade and roof, including all of its components like doors and windows. Neuffer offers custom built traditional windows and doors in multiple materials and sizes to meet your project's technical, performance and historic requirements.

What is a Conservation Area?

In the United Kingdom, a conservation area is an area that is deemed worthy of protection due to special historical or architectural interest.

The Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act defines these areas as having "the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance."

Therefore, when making any change to the exterior of your home or building, including windows and doors, special guidelines to preserve the original look must be followed. Luckily, Neuffer offers a range of modern bespoke windows that can match the appearance of historic ones while providing the superior performance of today. 

Replacing Windows in a Conservation Area

While historic windows boast excellent craftsmanship and beautiful hand-made parts, their long term durability is offset by deterioration over the years due to their typical timber construction. Years of use and weather typically leads to warping, rotting and deformation which in turn leads to regular repainting and sanding. Eventually, historic sash windows can become nearly unusable while at the same time offering little to no security and terrible insulation. 

What to Consider When Renovating a Listed Building

Given the importance of maintaining the building's heritage and original look, it is important to check what materials are allowed for your renovation project. In the past, timber and iron were widely used whereas uPVC did not exist and aluminium was very rare. With modern technology and craftsmanship, it is easy to mimic historic styles in any material. However, in some regions only timber is allowed.

Be sure to check what frame materials are allowed per local conversation regulations.

It is also vital to employ historically accurate materials when only timber is allowed such as linseed oil paint or pine, larch and Meranti timbers.

The aesthetic details of the respective era also need be considered. Examples include but are not limited to brass fittings, Georgian bars or nickel-plated hardware. The glazing also has to feature a certain amount of visual authenticity. To achieve this, it might be necessary to choose antique glass, stained glass or glass panes with sanded or decorated surfaces. One aspect of particular importance is the stylistic identity of the respective era, which can be reflected by using - for example - the rounded arches of Revivalist architecture or the asymmetrical shapes of the Art Nouveau movement.

In order to maintain authenticity, natural visual signs of ageing should also be kept, under most circumstances. But since many historic frames were constructed entirely of wood, this may not be possible due to weather damage. Luckily, these days, it is possible to mimic the respective styles of virtually every historical era with conservation frames.

Entirely replacing a conservation window has the advantage of not only restoring the original look, but also meeting the governmental energy efficiency and insulation standards of most countries. Additionally, replacement windows also offer dramatically improved noise reduction and security features than those of the past thanks to modern glazing. 

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