The property was constructed back in the 18th Century and is one of the town's landmark houses; built of local red and blue chequered brick under a Collyweston stone roof, it is full of elegant character and charm. Due to its Listing, the original features, such as its beautiful Georgian sash windows had to be retained. The front elevation, which is south facing, directly overlooks the main road through the town and the back of the property is north facing. Therefore, the study, dining room and 2 bedrooms at the front of the property suffered from noise ingress and the rear bedrooms and living room were subjected to heat loss and draughts.
The previous owners had totally refurbished the house 5-6 years ago, which included a contemporary extension, redecoration of the property and the refurbishment of all the original sashes. However, the renovation of the windows did little to enhance the ambient environment in many of the rooms. The Coombes' set about researching options to improve the efficiency of the original windows and decided upon secondary glazing.
"When we walked into our bedroom in the winter and we could see our own breath, we just knew we had to do something to improve the thermal efficiency of the property and make it more comfortable to live in. We did some research online and decided to invite two companies to quote for the work - Selectaglaze and another." Said Mr Coombes
Despite understanding how secondary glazing could combat their noise and thermal issues, they could not visualise how it would look in situ. So the couple visited the Selectaglaze factory and showroom in St Albans. As a result of this useful and informative trip, they ordered a horizontal sliding trial unit in their dining room to see how it performed for noise insulation. A lift-out trial unit from the other supplier was fitted to the study window, so performance could be compared. Both systems were discreet and did not impede the original sightlines, yet the Coombes' were more confident in the Selectaglaze product and felt it provided better sound insulation, so the project proceeded.
A total of 12 units were fitted into 8 openings; many of which had insufficient window board depth to accommodate the secondary glazing, so extended sill timbers were produced and fitted. Like many historic buildings, not all of the openings were plumb and true, so each one required very careful measurement so that bespoke timber grounds could be produced with final scribing and adjustments on site. All the grounds were supplied to site factory finished and colour matched to the secondary glazing, to negate the need for on-site decoration, reducing installation time and inconvenience to the owners.
All units including the two splay bays at the rear of the property blend in seamlessly and are barely noticeable.
"The secondary glazing has made a remarkable difference. We can now sit and have a civilised conversation in the dining room without the interruptions of passing traffic and the rooms at the rear of the property are a comfortable temperature. We are absolutely delighted with the final product and can only offer the highest of praise to all the staff from Selectaglaze involved with the project. We are planning another move soon - to Edinburgh - and we can guarantee that should we purchase another period property, one of our first phone calls will be to Selectaglaze."
Secondary glazing is a discreet and reversible adaptation, so accepted by most heritage agencies in Listed properties. As testament to this, one of the potential buyers of Neville House asked for a second viewing so they could look at the secondary glazing given they had not noticed it on the first visit!