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How to Care for Victorian Sash Windows

Updated: Apr 15

Stunning and eye-catching, victorian sash windows are essential components of historical and period properties. They are still one of the most loved window styles not just in the UK but also around the world. This is because they boast an attractive and timeless design that guarantees to turn heads.

Although sash windows have been designed to last, it’s worth dedicating the time to care for them, so they stay looking great and function as efficiently as possible.

Whether you want to repair or maintain your original windows, replace them with new ones, or wish to have them installed in a new build home, sash windows do require a little extra care than other designs. Fortunately, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know for how to care for victorian sash windows. From their fascinating origins to how you can maintain them, you’ll find all the information you need right here. So, let’s jump straight in.

What Are Victorian Sash Windows?

The word “sash” means just one frame for glazing. This sash is fitted inside the window frame, which is attached to the house. Sash windows open vertically, consisting of two framed window sashes in front of the other, although this is known as a sliding sash window.

In Victorian times, interior design was centered around intricate details and impressive designs.

For this reason, Victorian sash windows were the go-to way for people to show off how wealthy they were. During this period, it was common to see windows with between 4 and 16 panes. These numbers indicated the owner’s wealth – the more panes they had, the richer they were.

victorian sash window icon

How Do Victorian Sash Windows Work?

For the sash window to operate, a glazed panel balances using a counterweight, typically cast-iron, steel, or a leaden sash weight, and this is attached to the window by a sash cord. This cord is usually braided and sits on top of a pulley on the top rail.

The added bottom rail completes the window frame and design. Wagtails can also be used to separate the weights for a seamless sliding movement.

Maintaining Victorian Sash Windows

A sash window is comprised of several moving parts. Because of this, they will need some maintenance. But luckily, sash windows were built to high standards, so the level of maintenance will be minimal.

You may find that the sash cords will break over time, causing the weights to be lost. If any gaps develop between the sashes, the windows can start to rattle and let draughts in. Subpar redecoration can also come into play and cause the windows to stick.

Poor upkeep can also cause timber windows to rot and decay, but fortunately, timber is usually easy to repair.

The Advantages of Victorian Sash Windows

Easy to maintain

A key benefit of sash windows is their low maintenance needs. Well-built timber sash windows won’t often need any repairs, as demonstrated by the centuries-old original window frames that are still going strong. Minor flaking or cracking in the paintwork may happen, which should be monitored and possibly repainted every five years. Because the paint is responsible for protecting the wooden sash window frames, be sure to keep an eye on any deterioration, so the frames don’t swell or rot.

Excellent insulation

If you want to improve your home’s energy efficiency and lower your energy bills, sash windows will help you do that. In addition, double-glazed sash windows are excellent at draught-proofing, making your home feel warmer. Timber sash windows are excellent at insulating and will effectively reduce how much heat can escape from rooms.

Improved home security

Sash windows are not only attractive, but they’re also well known for improving the security of a property, thanks to the high-quality materials. Double glazing combined with durable locking mechanisms helps keep wooden sash windows firmly in place. Whether you’re at home or you’re away on holiday, you can be safe in the knowledge that your home is secure with sash windows.

Aesthetically pleasing

One of the biggest benefits of sash windows is their attractive styles. You won’t find anything else as stylish and timeless, and with lots of different designs to choose from, you’re sure to find one that matches your property perfectly.

Which Materials Should Be Used to Replace Sash Windows?

If you’re very traditional, or you’re living in a listed building, genuine timber sash windows are the best choice. Unfortunately, plastic replacement windows can’t provide the same effect, and it’s much harder to achieve the coveted fine, delicate details. uPVC sash windows are sometimes used as substitutes for wood. Although this material is usually white, it is available in a range of colours and finishes, so you can choose the one that suits your taste the most. That said, if you live in a listed building or an area of conservation, swapping timber windows for plastic may be frowned upon.


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