We made the news again!

This Blog post is adapted from an article we featured in Fife Business matters issue 34.  To see the original article in the current publication or to view previous issues of the magazine – click the link below:

Fife Business Matters Issue 34

The images of our windows featured in this Blog were recently installed to a Grade B Listed property in Edinburgh

BLOG - We made the news again!-3

Traditional Scottish Timber Front Doors

The following article is based on a leaflet produced by Historic Scotland’s Technical Conservation, Research and Educational Group.

Original timber doors are an important aspect of the character and authenticity of a Scottish home. Their proportions and positions, together with the detail of mouldings and panelling are important elements in the aesthetics and significance of a building. Traditional Scottish external timber doors were made of pine or, occasionally, hardwoods, such as oak. Many were highly decorated, with imposing surrounds of columns, canopies and classically inspired pediments.

Over the past few decades many traditional timber doors have been inappropriately replaced with modern doors made from materials such as UPVC and aluminium. These products not only alter the character and appearance of a building but it is unlikely that they will last as long as a traditional timber door that has been maintained correctly. As a result, many of Scotland’s local authorities now operate a policy that discourages the installation of these type of doors in Listed buildings.

A brief history of timber doors

This following very briefly outlines the main influences on door designs over the past few centuries:

  • Industrial Revolution – Easier and cheaper transportation of raw materials led to mass production of doors and standardisation of designs.
  • Chubb Detector Lock – At the end of the eighteenth century developments in lock technology such as the invention of the first Chubb Detector Lock meant that traditional doors could be made more secure.
  • Introduction of Fanlights – During the Georgian period, many houses were built with doors that incorporated fanlights above the main entrance. Over time these designs became extremely ornate and the use of decorative glass became very common.
  • World War I and II – In times of austerity after the First World War period doors were often replaced with cheaper simpler designs, and following the Second World War – mouldings were covered over with solid wood or plywood panels.

External timber door construction.

Here at TJ Ross our traditional timber doors have real ‘kerb appeal’.  Handmade by our highly skilled craftsmen using traditional mortice and tenon joints tightened up throughout by the use of small wedges driven and glued into the tenon. Our door panels are held in place by being inserted into grooves cut in the door frame. This construction allows the timber panels to move slightly as the timber expands and contracts with climatic changes in temperature and humidity.

We encourage our customers to choose a timber design and paint finish that is as close a match or indeed a like-for-like replacement.  Failure to do this can affect the building’s aesthetic appeal and may reduce the property’s market value. Original proportions should be maintained as timber doors will always look better on traditional buildings than modern plastic ornamental alternatives.

If you are considering replacing your front door and would like a free quote from T J Ross (Joiners) Ltd please contact us on 01337 860318 or email us at enquiries@tjross.co.uk.

Fire Doors save lives and property

Fire Door

Glazed Fire Door by TJ Ross

DSC01416What do fire resistant doors do?

Fire resistant doors are specifically designed to reduce the rate at which fire spreads through a building. Their main role is to hold back the fire to enable you and your family to safely escape, but they also help restrict the spread of fire to the rest of the building for a period of time, which is a great advantage to fire fighters while they are fighting the fire – even more so if they need to rescue anyone who is trapped in the burning building.

What is the difference between a normal door and a fire door?

A fire resistant Doorset with smoke seals is made up of a door leaf (glazed or unglazed) and fittings manufactured with fire resistant materials. The fire doors are fitted with an intumescent strip along the sides and top of the door or door frame which expands when the temperature exceeds 200°C, effectively sealing the gaps between the door and the doorframe, thereby reducing the amount of smoke and hot gases that enter the house, room or hallway. Fire doors are available in a range of ratings that indicate how long the product can withstand heat and flames. The minimum rating is FD30 doors that protect life and offer 30 minutes fire resistance, but higher specification FD60 doors are also available, providing additional time and protection. Fire doors save lives. But they are also available in the majority of our wide range of designs, so you don’t have to compromise on looks to ensure your family are safe. T J Ross Joiners can make fire doors in virtually any style with or without glazed panels. Do I need fire doors in my home? Building Regulations now stipulate when a fire door is required.

  • Integral Garage – if you have an integral garage, you will need a fire door between the garage and the home.
  • 3 Storey House – if you have a three storey house, you will need fire doors throughout the corridor to safety – the route from the top floor to the ground floor exit.

Commercial buildings and Fire doors

The same principle applies to all commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises, including offices, restaurants, shops, hotels, care homes, public buildings, high rise flats and privately rented apartments. All of these buildings should have properly installed and maintained fire doors to help save lives and property. Some scary fire statistics:

  • 174 – building fires every day,
  • 9,500 fatalities or casualties from fires in 2012-13,
  • £1bn – total cost of insurance claims from fire damage in 2012-13.
  • 47% of employees in a recent survey* have never been shown or told about the fire safety procedures at work.
  • 51% of respondents in a recent survey* said they would look at the fire safety procedures on the back of a hotel bedroom door and familiarise themselves with the exit route – 49% don’t bother.

*Fire Door Safety Week poll

Beautiful cottage extension

T J Ross (Joiners) Ltd and their sister construction company MMR Ltd were given the following brief from their clients’…

“Now that our children have flown the nest, we want to make some alterations to our large cottage in East Fife to ensure it better suited to our new more relaxed lifestyle.  These alterations include a new porch to the front of the house, a conservatory with “lots of glass” at the back of the house plus a few other internal modifications.”

T J Ross – ideas factory!

Given the location, age of the property and mindful of the need to lessen the impact of any extension, Martin suggested a large substantial porch with a slate finished roof and timber lined external walls, as this would ensure that it blended in with the current look of the cottage (see initial rough sketches below),

MX-2700N_20140520_111736_2_i        MX-2700N_20140520_111600i

and act like a zone between the inside and the outside. Not only would this look better, this design would mean that it would be big enough to have an internal seat and storage space under the seat.  Here is the new porch.


How about a Garden Room…?

Whilst discussing the conservatory, the couple and Martin took a stroll around their beautiful back garden. Given the age of their property (circa late 1800’s), Martin again felt that a more substantial looking Garden Room with a slated/tiled roof and wide bi-fold doors and shaped screen over, would fulfil the requirement for ‘plenty of glass’, and be much more in-keeping with the look and feel of the property (see initial rough sketches below) better than a conservatory.


Creating a full width opening through the existing stone wall would allow the existing kitchen to blend into the new Garden Room – without it being an obvious extension.

This type of open plan extension would keep levels close to each other, allowing decking to be used as the transformation medium.  This means that the garden would ‘flow’ into the house as well as the house flow out into the garden. Martin also suggested that if they chose a more ‘substantial’ extension they could also add a wood burning stove into this area thus creating a lovely space to enjoy a lazy afternoon reading a book during the cold and frosty weather, as well as bringing the garden into the house during the summer.  Needless to say the clients are very happy!



Reasons Why Timber Windows Must Be Treated With A Preservative And/Or A Good Quality Stain BEFORE They Are Assembled and Installed

I am always saddened when asked to replace good quality hardwood windows after only a few years – simply because they were not properly treated/stained BEFORE they were installed. So here are some pointers on what to look for if your timber windows and/or doors have not been treated with a preservative and/or stained correctly so that you can get them fixed before it becomes a problem:

1. Rot/degradation in areas that are not easily seen once the window is fitted, as can be seen in photographs 1 & 2. This means that the timber was not treated properly prior to the window being installed. The problem here is that this allows rot to progress without the home owner seeing it and therefore unaware of what is happening, until it is too late. Solution – only buy timber windows that have been properly treated with a wood preservative and/or stain BEFORE they are fitted.

Photo 1

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 2

2. Photograph 3 shows the underneath of the cill without any protection from a stain nor is there any evidence of sand mastic or silicon sealant having been applied behind the drip, this means that there was no physical barrier to stop the water being driven underneath the cill resulting in ingress of water into areas of your house that you don’t see and more than likely resulting in degradation of the new window and worse causing dry rot within the building. Solution – check your window cills have been sealed with a good quality silicon sealant and it is installed behind the drip – this is especially important if you buy timber windows on a supply only basis and you joiner needs to cut the cills – ENSURE PRESERVATIVE IS APPLIED TO THE ENDS BEFORE IT IS INSTALLED .

Photo 3

Photo 3

3. Photo 4 shows the groove/slot formed for the pivot hinge to be fitted into and again no stain has been applied before the hinges are fitted in the workshop which means the stain protection system is not complete and is not protecting the timber, resulting in a breakdown of the stain system on the surfaces and rot on all surfaces. Solution – only buy timber windows that have been properly treated with a wood preservative and/or stain all over before window locks, hinges, etc are fitted.

Photo 4

Photo 4

4. Photo 5 shows a gasket fitted into a groove in a timber that has not received any stain either, which provides exposed timber that can take on water and cause degradation of the stain system on the exposed surfaces and rot on all surfaces. Solution – again only buy timber windows that have been properly treated with a wood preservative and/or stain all over before gaskets etc are fitted.

Photo 5

Photo 5

It is very difficult to explain to potential clients why the same specified windows on paper can attract very different prices from different Companies. However hopefully these photographs and our explanation of what will happen if timber windows are not treated with a preservative and/or stain prior to manufacture and installation will go some way towards explaining what can cause a difference in the quoted price.

We, here at T J Ross, strive to ensure that all surfaces of our windows, doors, screens and all other external joinerwork are fully protected with the stain chosen, so our clients can sleep without worrying what is happening to the unseen parts of their windows and doors. To achieve this we actually dry fit all the ironmongery and then remove it prior to the product going through our spray shop so that all exposed surfaces are coated with the protective stain – it does cost a little bit more but it’s well worth it and gives a better sleep.