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Sash windows – Prices, Types & Benefits

London homes with sash windows

Sash 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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