Sash windows – What’s all the fuss about?

General, Windows, Doors & Conservatories

Sash windows are a the perfect way to add a traditional (and practical) touch to any building, but it’s not always easy to get the right for your home. As sash windows can be a lot more expensive than other window style options, it’s important you consider the options carefully before you commit.

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7 facts about Sash Windows

  1. Sash windows a part of British history. They were introduced to England in the late 17th century and remained a sought-after fashion item for over two centuries. They remain hugely sought after for properties looking to acheive a traditional, British look. If you are renovating a Georgian, Regency or Victorian property, or looking to recreate one of these styles in a newer build, sash windows are the best option for an authentic feel.
  1. A ‘sash’ is just a single frame for glazing. An actual ‘sliding sash’ window is usually made up of two sashes that slide up and down, one slightly in front, and one behind, counterbalanced by lead weights or springs. Sliding sash windows can be opened at the top or bottom, or both, depending whether they’re double or single hung. Traditionally they have no outward swing but many modern Sash window designs tilt in and out for easy cleaning.
  1. Sashes traditionally consist of a number of small panes held together by glazing bars to create a larger glazed area. This is because, traditionally, glass was very expensive. Large panes of glass were almost impossible to come by. The number of panes depended on the era: ‘six over six’ is quintessentially Georgian, though larger ‘eight over eight’ windows were also common. In Victorian times, ‘two over two’ reigned supreme, but throughout the whole period, many other configurations were seen, as well as the inclusion of sidelights.
  1. It’s often better to restore, rather than completely replace your sash windows. All too often, renovators make the mistake of removing original period timber sashes and replacing them with new models, when if they had simply been restored to their former glory, they would have been perfect.
  1. Genuine timber sash windows are likely to be the first choice for traditionalists. Plastic will rarely achieve the right look. Wood is very durable and an excellent insulator, and if taken care of properly, a timber frame can last for a remarkably long time with the right treatment and maintenance.
  1. UPVC is often used as a substitute for painted wood. Though most commonly seen in white, it comes in a wide range of colours and finishes, including a photo-effect wood finish. UPVC is usually far cheaper than timber and it also low maintenance and energy efficient. Many conservationists are opposed to plastic windows, but the better quality models can be attractive and hard-wearing.
  1. Traditionally, sash windows were single glazed with fine glazing bars to hold the panes in place; but modern building regulations make it near impossible to have single glazed windows on a new house. Whilst this may make new sash windows less authentic it does make them much, much greener and more economic for any home.

Pros

  • Traditional
  • Good for safety – By opening the top section you eliminate falling hazards
  • Beautiful
  • Available in a range of finishes

Cons

  • One of the more expensive window styles
  • Authenticity has to be sacrificed to meet building standards
  • Can be high maintenance

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