Secondary glazing, large windows, small windowsill

20 Mar 2016
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United Kingdom
Hi everyone,

I've just moved into a new apartment and the traffic noise is killing me. It isn't a busy road but every time a car roars up it its like its inside my flat. I can also hear people talking outside like I was next to them.

The windows are large factory style windows and appear to be cheap and badly fitted. The sill is also just shy of 6cm and the surround is exposed brick. I was wondering if secondary glazing in this type of window is even possible, and if so will it make much of a difference with that size gap and against such large poorly insulating windows.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Is it a rental?

Are the windows original or replacement? How old? Are they plastic? Picture would help.

Can you detect noise or draught coming in between the windowframe and the wall?

Can you get at the outside of the frames, e.g. on a balcony?
Thanks John,

It's bought but leasehold so I can't actually make structural changes. The frames are black plastic. I'll try to get a picture up but not great with computers so can't promise! They are large rectangular windows formed of 5 rows of 4 smaller panes, the centre 4 swing out on a latch, these seem badly fitted and there is a gap down the side in one case. They don't seem particularly draughty although they don't seem to keep the heat very well. There are foam strips between the frame and the brick on the inside which arent always flush as the brick is uneven due to the pointing. There is a large slatted trickle vent at the top, closing it doesn't seem to make any difference. The glazing itself is not particularly wide. They're so bad at keeping the sound out that I can't notice a difference in sound coming through at any particular place.
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You could get a repairman in to adjust the windows so they close tightly. There is sure to be someone local, plastic windows are quite troublesome. There is a faint chance that the service company for the block might do it. Don't ask one of the big window sales companies, who will charge a fortune. If you hold a wet finger beside the frame on a windy day you will feel if there is a draught coming in.

It is possible to seal gaps between the frame and the wall with expanding foam, but you need access to the outside to remove unsightly bulges and spillage. These gaps are more common on replacement windows which are more likely to be a poor fit.

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