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Is secondary glazing really worth it

Around 10% of heat is lost through the windows in the average UK home, and a further 15% is lost due to draughts. For properties where window replacement isn’t an option, secondary glazing provides an excellent route to a more cost effective, comfortable home.

Secondary glazing is no new thing, systems have been used within buildings since the 19th century. Some properties were even constructed with secondary hung windows and solid panels to unlock thermal benefits from the very beginning.

Potential candidates for secondary glazing

There are several situations where replacing your existing windows with double or triple glazed units isn’t possible. Owners of listed buildings or properties within conservation areas, for example, have limited options when it comes to window upgrades. For others, budget or planning permission constraints prevent replacements being made.

Secondary systems ensure heat loss can be minimised and draughts controlled in an efficient and cost-conscious way, without disturbing the position or appearance of your original windows. This guidance from Historic England offers some essential reading for owners of listed buildings:

“The replacement of existing windows with double glazed units can in many cases lead to a change in appearance, particularly the flatness of new glass and the need for thicker timber sections and glazing bars. In historic buildings, there should be a strong preference for repair rather than replacement as the use of double glazing can lead to a loss of historic fabric. Adding secondary glazing would often be the preferred option.”

Please note, some secondary glazing options still remain unsuitable for listed properties and buildings within conservation areas. It is recommended that you seek professional advice from Historic England or your local authority regarding which secondary glazing systems are right for your property.

Solving a common sash window problem

Classic sash windows are renowned for draughts, but there are several options you can try to prevent cold air from getting into your home. Secondary glazing film is the most affordable and accessible option. Available from most DIY stores, the film is applied with tape to the window frame and cut to size.

Achieving a wrinkle-free appearance isn’t easy, but by heating the film gently with a hair dryer after installation you can ensure an almost invisible finish. Secondary glazing is also available as temporary and semi-permanent products, with designs that are either screwed, glued or magnetically fixed to the window frame.

Because it’s practically invisible, secondary glazing won’t damage the character or authenticity of the original window design. Secondary glazing also means reduced noise pollution, increased energy efficiency and hassle-free installation.

Permanent secondary solutions

Aluminium is generally the material of choice for permanent secondary glazing units thanks to its slim profile, plus insulating and soundproofing qualities. Aluminium frames are suited to both sliding sash windows and hinged systems making them a versatile, effective and long term solution.

For properties where window replacement is preferred, we supply and fit a number of window designs to suit your home and unlock a variety of benefits. You can view just some of the window replacement projects we have completed to date here.