A change is as good as a rest…

When last week opened wet, we decided to take a break from digging around the back and instead work on the French windows in a bay at the end of the dining room. These had been bugging both of us since we moved in, and working on this would mean we would be inside, out of the rain. We had ordered the glazing panels last December so fortunately we were ready for action. The bay houses two doors and two windows. Only one window was intact (see left hand side below) with the window out of sight broken into about 20 pieces carefully taped together, and you can see that one door was heavily cracked and taped, and the other had been boarded up long before we arrived.

In addition, perhaps you can see that the pavers had been laid right up to the door base before we cleared them away when we moved in.

Looking from the inside you get a better sense of the leaded windows above that we are leaving alone for the moment. They are going to need a lot of tender loving care, but I need to do more research before tackling them!

So back to the task: we took the doors off their hinges so that we could re-glaze them, and temporarily installed sheets of loft insulation in the gap. To our surprise, the room quickly became a lot warmer with the doors off, even as the external temperature plummeted to zero, which tells you all you need to know about the draughts we suffer from here.

We brought the doors inside, put them on some stools, and scraped away the old putty, removed the glass or wood panel, and scraped off the old paint so that we were back to bare wood. Whilst the doors were off, I also scraped the old gloss paint from the door frame using a hot gun…

…whilst Mike repaired the rotten section at the base of the door. He had to cut away really quite a lot of wood where we presume water had puddled on the external pavers in contact with the door for many a long year. He then filled the void with wood filler – you can see a little patch on the bottom right of this photo, noting most of it is inside the very end of the door and thus not visible here.

As we scraped away the paint on the frame, we had to be careful not to dislodge the render between the frame and the slate blocks, as we don’t plan to be re-rendering for a few years yet, so we don’t want to let more water in than is absolutely necessary!

After three days work, one of our neighbours was walking past on their daily exercise and yelled across to enquire what we were doing. When we shouted back that the broken and boarded up door had been getting on our nerves for years, we were astonished to hear that they had never noticed the poor state of the doors before! It just goes to show – something that I don’t want to think too hard about right now. But this picture does just about show how the leaded windows are sagging badly – see how the seal at the base of the window has broken as the glass has slumped.

Having re-glazed and glossed both doors, as well as the frame, we have left them to dry over the weekend and hope to rehang them on Monday…

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