Nightmare draughts before... and after 2nd installation

1 Dec 2020
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United Kingdom
Hi, hope you can help.

We've lived in this mid-1940s semi for almost 20 years. Brick built with cavity walls. In January this year we had new windows installed to replace old pvc single glazed ones, there since 1985. And it was a nightmare after - VERY cold and draughty everywhere. Under floors upstairs, under windows, in the cavity wall... The installation and windows were also poor and we got a refund in the end.

There was also big pieces of cement that had come away when old windows removed - looks like they were wedged around/under the old windows?

Part 2, we get new windows installed last week. Lovely windows, installation very good and they even put extra foam around due to previous issues. But...

The house is still freezing cold! Last night it was breezy and I lifted carpet under window and a huge draught coming through the floorboards (upstairs). And the window sills are cold. The windows themselves seem fine.

I looked at one aperture when window was removed - closed on sides by brick, at bottom it was just brick with large, random holes/gaps near to the inner window board. The fitters said they foamed these before fitting the window?

Any ideas on what could be causing this/how to fix it?
Preferably that doesn't involve reinstalling the windows?
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Ventilation under floors is normal and to some extent a good thing.
I usually lay hardboard sheets tacked or stapled down over overlapped paperfelt or heavy lining paper seal the edges against the skirting with flexible paintable mastic before relaying the carpet / underlay and feel the difference!:)

Makes me smile when people strip Victorian floors and have bare boards, why do they think Victorian people laid rugs and lino over them in the first place!;)

I assume the loft is insulated.

That's why carpets seem to get a dirty line around the edge the draught causes it.
I used to live in a 1930-40s ex council house, cavity walls. I'm pretty sure it had vent bricks not only on the ground floor but also on the upper floor. Also had a vent type thing in the kitchen wall located behind kitchen cupboards. Result was drafts here and there, to be expected even with good double glazing unless every single possible cause has been blocked up. And as touched on by footprints, that's not a good idea if it's an intended vent.

In answer to your question, if you can have a good look at the windows from outside, do they appear well fitted with no obvious gaps, everything sealed with silicon etc? And no drafts coming from them inside around the windows? If everything appears to be in order, they're are unlikely to be the root cause of the drafts.
Hi, thanks for the replies. I've covered some of the floors as advised, Footprints. Unfortunately, with it being upstairs it find many other routes in e.g. ceiling downstairs.

Agree, diy fun, that draughts common in these old houses, and they do need that to a certain degree. However, it was dramatically and noticeably worse when the windows were changed earlier this year.

Its colder at/near bottom of windows/window board but the sealant looks fine, inside and out.

Thanks again for your replies.

Any other ideas from anyone on what could be causing this are most welcome . Otherwise I'll keep investigaing...
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How are the windows trimmed inside? The new windows we got in the house I mentioned were finished like this:


I wasn't happy with one or two of the window sills (too much flex when leaning on them) so I removed the apron piece along the bottom (located underneath the sill.) This revealed quite a large gap that the trim was only just covering and no more. So I filled a fair bit of the gap and bolstered the pathetic shimming of the sills done by the fitters. Re-attached apron and sealed around its edges i.e. where it met the wall. Note, when I refer to a gap, I don't mean the wall cavity, I mean a gap on the inner wall between the underside of the sill and the brickwork, if that makes sense. I didn't fill the wall cavity in any way.

Depending on how your windows have been finished inside, could there be air getting in somewhere around the edges? Also, if the windows have vents on them, if they're rubbish / poorly fitted, these can let air in even when closed. I put clear silicon around the edges of the vents on our new windows (inside only) that also made a difference.

However, if the windows appear well fitted inside and out (including any openers sealing properly when closed) they are unlikely to be your problem. You'll basically need to get on your hands and knees and slowly investigate all nooks and crannies and take remedial action from there ;)
A candle or joss stick can help to pinpoint drafts although the back of your hand is pretty sensitive.

(Best not to set the house alight though even if it does warm up briefly)

Also check around switches / sockets, down lights and door architrave.

One of these helps too available from lots of places.

I have one of these that can help find cold spots.
Tempting, can't say I haven't thought about it ;)

Diy fun, it's pretty standard window board (horrible old pvc one, definitely removing it) with plaster and also tiles on sides of some. Now also thick beading around inside. I'm thinking air could be getting in around the edges somehow.

The installation looks pretty good, though, windows are too

Thanks for tips, I shall go investigating, minus anything too flammable.

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