Things To Consider Before Buying Sash Windows
1 Sash windows are an inherent part of British architectural history: they were introduced to England in the late 17th century and remained a sought-after fashion item for over two centuries. Any styled property from this era would be lacking without them, and this is why it’s so important if you are renovating a Georgian, Regency or Victorian property, or building a new house in one of these styles, that you include them.
2 The word ‘sash’ simply 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 — though in many modern windows, the weights have been replaced with springs. Sliding sash windows can be opened at the top or bottom, or both, depending on the design, and though traditionally they have no outward swing, many modern designs tilt in and out for easy cleaning.
3 Sashes traditionally consist of a number of small panes, or ‘lights’ that are held together by glazing bars to create a larger glazed area. This is because glass advancements at the time didn’t allow for very large expanses of clear glazing. 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.
4 Sash windows for period properties must be chosen carefully to ensure you get the right period, as there were several developments and style changes in sash windows over the years. Different designs included the Venetian, which consisted of a central sliding sash with two fixed side panes, and the Queen Anne Revival style, where there were several panes in the upper sash, but just one or two in the lower sash. In the Regency and Gothic revival periods, sashes were often arched instead of rectangular; and in some regions it was always popular to have horizontally sliding sashes.
5 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. Where possible, existing sashes should always be repaired and waterproofed, but if the windows are beyond repair, or there aren’t any left in place, there are many companies who will manufacture authentic replacements.
6 Genuine timber sash windows are likely to be the first and only choice for traditionalists and those living in either a Conservation Area or a listed building. You simply cannot achieve the same effect with plastic. Wood is very durable and an excellent insulator, and if taken care of properly, a timber frame can last for centuries. A common misconception is that timber windows are high maintenance, but with the use of modern finishes – available in almost any paint colour or stain imaginable – they really don’t require a lot of upkeep, just some periodic maintenance and to be examined once a year for cracked, flaky paintwork and decay.