Celebrating our 20th year anniversary

Wessex Restoration team repairing sash windows

Next year, Wessex Restoration celebrate 20 years of trading. Here’s some more information about the history of the company so far, and why we’ve been able to become one of the region’s leading heritage restoration and renovation companies. The beginning: 1996 Wessex Restoration was established in January 1st 1996, as a franchise of Ventrolla Ltd, which had patented a unique draught proofing system for sliding sash windows. Originally we covered the Bristol, Bath and Gloucester postcodes, from offices in Clevedon. 2000 to 2007 A couple of years later, Wessex Restoration moved to Nailsea, where a joinery shop was set up in response to an increase in demand for bespoke replacement … Continue reading

Why summer is the best time to replace sash windows

sash window replacement

Summer is possibly the best time in the year to consider replacing sash windows. Here are a few reasons why replacing sash windows in the summer months is a good idea. It can result in faster installations Naturally, demand for sash window replacements will increase during the winter as the harsher elements take their toll on older properties and sash windows require fixing. This can result in a longer turnaround times for installations, with window installers struggling to keep up with demand for replacements. Replacing sash windows in the summer months can see you avoid this bottleneck, speeding up the process and resulting in a faster installation. This is because … Continue reading

Sash window styles through history

georgian sash style

Here at Wessex we offer repair and replacement services for one of the most defining features of British architecture: the timber sash window. If you’ve ever wondered more about how this iconic window style came into being you’re in luck. Here’s a quick guide to sash window styles throughout history. How they developed For a long time it was presumed that sash windows originated in Holland during the early 16th century, however recent research undertaken by University of Newcastle indicates that they could have been invented in the UK much earlier. The development of sash windows reflects the development of better glass-making techniques, and the search for a window that … Continue reading

Heritage Lottery Funding: what you need to know

Heritage Lottery Fund

If you’re looking to fund a heritage restoration, the Heritage Lottery Fund is a useful organisation to approach. Here’s some more information about the fund, what grants it offers and how to apply. What is the Heritage Lottery Fund? One of the largest dedicated funders of heritage projects in the UK, the Heritage Lottery Fund provides a range of grants for projects that protect the UK’s heritage using money raised from the proceeds of the National Lottery. With an average of £375million to invest in projects that safeguard history for people and communities each year, the Heritage Lottery Fund has helped to protect some of the nation’s best loved historic … Continue reading

9 of the best historic houses in Bristol to visit this summer

Tyntesfield

Bristol and the surrounding area is steeped in rich architectural history. It’s no surprise then that the area has a large amount of historic houses. Here are 9 of our favourite historic houses around the Bristol area. 1. Tyntesfield, Wraxall, Bristol A Grade 1 listed stately home located in the small village of Wraxall near Bristol, Tyntesfield is considered one of the best surviving examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in the country. Built on the site of a 16th century hunting lodge, the grand home as we know it today was built by the businessman William Gibbs in the 1860s who had made his fortune selling guano as a … Continue reading

The ultimate guide to heritage timber window mouldings

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What is a timber window moulding? A moulding is a piece of decorative timber that is fitted inside a home for a variety of aesthetic reasons. A timber window moulding, as the name suggests, is simply a moulding applied to a window. Ornate timber window mouldings are common throughout traditional buildings and here at Wessex, we restore them regularly.  Common styles of timber window moulding Timber window moulding styles can be easily defined by period style. Each period has a distinctive aesthetic, making them relatively easy to tell apart. The most common timber window moulding styles are: (1720-1840) Georgian (1860-1880) Victorian (1870-1890) Italianate (1895-1915) Queen Anne (1900-1915) Edwardian (1930s) Art … Continue reading

The 8 biggest DIY mistakes you can make with wooden windows

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DIY can cause more problems that it fixes sometimes. Here’s our guide to 8 of the biggest DIY mistakes that you can make with wooden windows, and how to stop them from happening. 1. Painting over the seals A particularly common mistake that many people make is painting over window seals. This can have potentially disastrous consequences. When the paint dries, these seals will be effectively painted shut making it incredibly difficult to open the window without a chisel. The solution? Always put masking tape along the window seals to stop this from happening. 2. Using greenwood or untreated window Perhaps a rather obvious mistake, but always check that the … Continue reading

Can I get funding for my heritage restoration project?

Funding for heritage restoration projects in the UK can come from many different sources. Whilst the majority of grants go towards community projects run by charities and not for profit organisations, some do occasionally go towards private projects in rare cases. Here are a list of possible funding sources for your restoration project: Heritage Lottery funding The Heritage Lottery Fund helps conserve historic buildings that provide meaning and value to the local community. They choose projects based on a number of criteria, including how relevant the project is to UK heritage, and what potential difference it will make. With a variety of different grant programmes available, ranging from £3000 to … Continue reading

Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings: 5 of the best

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Adaptive reuse refers to the process of repurposing an old building for a purpose other than that which it was designed for. A compromise between historic preservation and demolition, it’s a sustainable way of reusing existing building stock which can reduce urban sprawl and environmental impact. Here are 5 of the best examples. 1. The Lighthouse, Glasgow Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, The Lighthouse in Glasgow, was adaptively reused from the former offices of the Glasgow Herald newspaper in 1999. The world famous architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh had designed these offices nearly 90 years previously and the repurposing blends outside and inside space together to emphasis the art deco … Continue reading

Traditional timber window finishes

Different timber finishes

The high performance and beautiful aesthetics that we associate with traditional timber windows are created in part by the type of finish that they utilise. A finish is a protective layer that is applied to timber to protect, and enhance the performance and aesthetics of a window. Common traditional timber window finishes include wax, shellac, drying oil, lacquer, varnish and paint. We offer a variety of finishes here at Wessex Restoration. The timber finishing process There are three steps generally used in the traditional timber window finishing process: Sanding First of all the timber window is sanded down either by hand or using a power sander. This ensures that the … Continue reading

Air dried vs. kiln dried oak

Air dried timber

Believe it or not, but kiln dried oak, although widely used across the industry, is actually ill-suited to the needs of heritage window restorations. Air dried oak is much better suited to the thermal, aesthetic and performance demands of timber windows. Here’s why. The drying process The drying process helps to give finished timber most of its structural, thermal and aesthetic properties. There are two processes used across the industry for drying timber: air-drying and kiln drying. Air-drying, the process that we use here at Wessex Restoration, creates a finished timber that is much better suited to the demands of heritage window renovation than kiln drying. Why air drying is … Continue reading

Celebrity backing for scrapping VAT on heritage restorations

Loyd Grossman backs scrapping of VAT on heritage properties

  Perhaps infamous for delivering the phrase ‘Who would live in a house like this?’ in the 90s’ television program, Through the Keyhole, Loyd Grossman is no stranger when it comes to poking around homes and properties. Celebrity support Recently the colourful character, who has a long-standing passion for historical architecture, came out in support of scrapping VAT on heritage restorations in a BBC online video. In the video, which you’ll find below, Mr. Grossman outlines the main reason for scrapping VAT on heritage restorations. He argues that it makes sense to utilise, develop and maintain the beautiful heritage buildings that we already have, from both an economic, cultural and … Continue reading

The dangers of DIY heritage restoration

'Ecce Homo': before, and after restoration

With the rise of DIY and heritage restoration programmes on television, many homeowners are becoming increasingly tempted to take the restoration work of their heritage, conservation area and listed properties into their own hands: with disastrous results. There’s nothing wrong with carrying out your own restoration work if you know what you’re doing. But the unfortunate rise in botched DIY restorations highlights how valuable it is to get an accredited professional to carry out a restoration. ‘Behold the Monkey’ One of the most famous incidents of modern times occurred in 2012, in Borja in North Eastern Spain. A local woman attempted the restoration of a fresco that would become soon … Continue reading

Hardwood vs softwood windows

Restored sash windows in a period property

  There are two particular types of timber species: hardwoods and softwoods. These are both used in a range of applications across the restoration industry, but when compared, which one is better? We thought we’d investigate and try to find out… Hardwood vs. softwood: what’s the difference? Hardwood is the term used to describe wood from mainly deciduous, broad-leaf plants that flower. They are generally slow growing and have a high-density cellular structure, which makes them difficult to work. Hardwoods include timber species such as alder, balsa, beech, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, and walnut. The term softwood is used to describe wood from mainly evergreen, coniferous plants that have … Continue reading

6 types of timber for replica wooden windows

Profile Replication

There are lots of different types of timber out there that can be used to manufacture wooden windows, but which exactly is the best wood to use for a heritage window? Type 1: Douglas fir One of the only softwoods that we use, Douglas fir is perhaps one of the best, and one of the most well-known, trees used in timber production across the world. Interestingly, its high quality timber is harder than many ‘hardwoods’. Growing to often massive dimensions (a Douglas fir felled in 1897 in Washington, USA reported measured 465 feet high and 34 feet deep), this type of timber is incredibly strong and long-lasting, making it a … Continue reading