Sash timber windows – The traditional option for character homes

Sash Timber windows

Although there are obvious benefits to sash uPVC windows, for many homeowners – particularly those who are passionate about maintaining a period property’s character – traditional wooden sash windows are a quintessential feature. And that despite their advantages, replacing traditional timber sash windows with a modern uPVC equivalent window system wouldn’t do their property justice. In fact, for many people it would be nothing short of sacrilege! 

Sash windows involve the installation of a window with one or more movable panels known as sashes that form a frame to hold panes of glass, which are often separated from other panes. They are highly regarded for their elegance and charm and are a design feature of many period properties, including Victorian and Georgian residences.

Undeniably attractive to look at, however unfortunately properties with sash timber windows have a reputation for getting cold during the winter months. In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter how well maintained and well preserved wooden sash windows are, they are notorious for being draughty.


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Various factors impact these windows losing heat through draughts, including:

  • General wear and tear over the years
  • Poor maintenance
  • Numerous repainting work
  • Window frames warping due to moisture

What can I do to prevent my home from getting so cold in the winter?

Okay so there’s no denying their aesthetic appeal. But in the cold winter months the last think you’ll be thinking about is how attractive they look. So what can you do to minimise draughts and maximise comfort levels? Well there are various options available, including:

  • Consider fitting secondary glazing – although not to everyone’s taste, properly installed secondary glazing can lower heating loss and reduce noise levels too. Compared to replacement windows it is a cheaper option.
  • Get your sash windows repaired. Traditional sash timber windows are designed to be dismantled for repair. Depending on the amount of work involved, sash window firms who specialise in sash window restoration will be able to bring your windows back to their former glory.
  • Get draught proofing – if you want to hold on to your original sash windows rather than get them replaced then consider professional draught proofing which will increase the energy efficiency of your window system. Modern draught proofing methods involve polypropylene, nylon or brush seals being sealed into the parting and staff beads, and the top rail and bottom meeting rail. As well as helping to reduce heating costs, draught proofing offers numerous other advantages: reduces noise, ensures the sashes move smoothly and minimizes rattling associated with sash timber windows.

With different styling options, you will have a choice to make on sash windows which may be restricted by the period of the property. Most consumers have an idea of the style and material they want, and with sash window firms stocking wide ranges of choices, a homeowner should be able to find what they are looking for.

Repair or replace sash windows – which is best?

Sash window repairs are determined by the material used to frame the window. They are susceptible to hinge and handle damage like any other window however, because they involve more movements to open and close. The biggest issues tend to be with the mechanical sliding mechanisms.

These windows tend to require more upkeep and maintenance than any other window type and refurbishments are more common with draught and weatherproofing work needed to be done. Draught proofing is considered to be cost effective and according to research conducted by English Heritage – a non-departmental public body – effective draught proofing methods can reduce heat loss by up to 60%.

Sash windows have numerous benefits. Aside from acoustic insulation which protects against noise pollution, improved thermal insulation will save energy and reduce fuel bills. So whether you’re looking for new replacement sash windows or require repair work to your existing windows, utilise Windows Guide directory of windows/glazing installers and sash window specialists to secure up to three quotes for the work you need doing today.


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