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Sash windows

Sash Timber WindowsSash windows are a typical feature of English Georgian and Victorian properties.

Thanks to their distinctive design and aesthetics they have become a big part of our building heritage.

This type of window consists of glazed panels which are opened vertically or horizontally.

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A familiar sight across English villages, towns and cities, there is no denying that sash windows are both charming and elegant to look at.   Described as the ‘the eyes of the façade’, original sash windows have obvious aesthetic attributes. Handcrafted in original timber, they are stylistically in keeping within the context of a traditional property.

Types of sash windows

The word ‘sash’ refers to a single frame for glazing. A traditional ‘sliding sash’ window is usually made up of two sashes that slide up and down, one in front and one behind, in vertical grooves, counterbalanced by lead weights on cords.   Sliding sash can be opened at the top or bottom, or both. Traditionally, they have no outward swing but modern designs tilt in and out for easy cleaning.

The glazed area consists of a number of smaller panes held together by glazing bars. The number of panes depended on the era: ‘six over six’ is typically Georgian. In Victorian times ‘two over two’ reigned supreme. Sash windows for historical properties must be chosen to carefully to ensure you get the right period, as there were several developments and style changes in sash windows over the years.

If living in a conservation area or a listed building restoration or replacement with genuine timber sash windows may be your only choice. Where possible existing sashes should always be repaired and waterproofed, but if windows are beyond repair there are many companies who will manufacture authentic replacements. Wood is very durable and an excellent insulator and if taken care of properly can last longer than the modern uPVC varieties. With the use of modern finishes (available in all colours or stains) timber windows don’t have to be high maintenance.

Sash uPVC windows are often used as substitute for painted wood. Although it cannot be recycled uPVC is low maintenance and energy efficient and also comes in a wide range of colours and finishes.

Composite sash windows are increasing in popularity with wood on the inside and clad with aluminium on the outside. This ensures they keep the classic look of wood internally, but are resistant to weather conditions and require virtually no maintenance externally.

Cost of sash windows

The costs of replacing sash windows depends on the age of the property and whether you live in a conservation area, the size of the window and the configuration of the frames and glazing. Off the shelf, uPVC is the cheapest option for sash windows with timber costing as much as 40% more for the windows alone. In addition to the material costs there is the cost for labour.

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Get Quotes from Sash Window Installers

Windows Guide can provide you with up to 3 free quotes from local reputable installers – meaning you can compare costs and get the best job for your money. Our quotes are free with no obligation, so it couldn’t be easier!

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Frequently asked questions

Can I have double glazed units fitted into my existing timber sashes?

Proceed with caution. Sash windows were never designed to take two panes of glass, each thicker than the original. The glazing bars in old sash windows are often not deep enough to take sealed double glazed units, which ultimately leads to premature misting. One option is to have new sashes made and glazed in accordance with British Standard BS6262 to fit your existing frames. The other option to consider is to fit sliding secondary glazing to the insides of them instead – this will preserve the traditional character of your existing windows.

What is involved in repairing an old sash window?

Repair work will depend on the damage. Decaying timber, broken sash cords, damaged pulleys and broken glass will all need replacing. In general the repair process involves being dismantled, eased, adjusted, re-aligned, re-corded and re-assembled, and having a brush pile draught sealing system installed. As well as improving the efficiency of the windows it will also make them smoother to open and help cut out draughts. It is an ideal time to get professional draught proofing installed as well.