Timber sash windows

Restore or replace the old sash windows?

rotten sash

Georgian or Victorian sash windows are a period feature that can add style and charm to older properties.

I say ‘can‘, because quite often when you move into either a Georgian or Victorian property, the condition of the windows might be the first thing you want to attend to.

Perhaps you look at your timber sash windows with fondness but a sense of realization – you love them but they look so bad it seems as though they will have to go. And not only that, but the house is cold because old sash windows were never double-glazed.

What Do The Builders Say?

‘Keep them,‘ they all say. The thinking behind the opinion seems to be that original features are usually best. And a selling point that can attract future buyers.

There is no doubt about it, both the Victorians and the Georgians built good quality houses. Better than the houses we build today. Builders then put time and effort into good quality, aesthetically pleasing housing.

Old houses are built to last, and will probably be standing longer than all these new ones. But what about the windows?

Repairing our traditional sash windows?

Soundproof and draughtproof

More expert advice, from more than one person in the industry, taught us that, in fact, to fix the problem.

The window sliding too far down was a problem with the weights, because all original sash windows have iron weights inside the sash boxes.

Problems occur when the weights become out of alignment.  For whatever reason (often due to even the thinnest layer of paint). But this is something that is easily rectified by the right person. In fact, following renovation, the window in our master bedroom now lies exactly where we put it, without any extra movement.

True double glazing cannot be added to original sash windows because of the way they are made.  Only secondary double glazing is possible, which is rather less attractive and convenient. However, wood windows can be fitted with draught brushes, around the edges, which can keep warm air in and cold air out. We had this added to our window and now there is no rattling whatsoever.

The room is also much less draughty, though I would like to be honest and say that it probably isn’t as warm as modern double glazing. However, the cost of the renovation was considerably less than a new softwood or hardwood window of any style. And when you consider replacing with a modern sash window, then only around a quarter of the price.

I also found out that my ‘rotten’ window was not actually rotten after all. The apparent ‘poor’ condition was only a surface problem. Underneath the layers of peeling paint and minor defect, the wood was still as hard as nails.

As someone explained to me, the Georgians and Victorians used seasoned pine, which is something that is not used today. Seasoned pine means that the wood was cut and left to season for so long that it became very hard and durable.

These days, we use our pine very quickly so that it is soft and nowhere near as tough. That is the main reason why period sash windows are still going strong. While windows made from softwood nowadays do not last for many years before they need replacing again.

Sash window restoration may always include the replacement of the old sash cord.

Further Points to Consider

If you choose to keep your old sash windows, bear in mind that the frames will need painting from time to time to protect them and keep them looking good.

Old sash windows are sometimes screwed shut when you move into an old property. An investigation will probably find that this is either due to the weights being missing. The sashes cord is broken or absent, or for security reasons – the bolts on old sash windows were not great. But you can purchase new window locks to rectify this problem.

Listed Buildings

If you live in a listed building, it may not be possible to replace your sash windows. Or even if it is, you will probably not have full freedom of choice when it comes to choosing new ones.

Replacing Sash Windows

We chose to restore our old sash windows, but many people prefer to replace them for modern double glazing. With new windows, you have the definite benefit of saving energy and keeping more warmth inside your home. If you do choose to replace your windows, think carefully about the type of windows you want to go for.

Some styles of the window will take away the charm and appeal of a period house. If you decide to purchase replacement windows, then try to choose a style which is as close to the old sash windows as possible.

You can buy windows that open halfway down, with a bar across the center. This will give the impression of the old sash style, though. In my opinion, you can certainly still tell the difference. Of course, the difference is even more apparent when the window is open. It really all depends on how much you want to keep the appearance of your house in keeping with its history.

Modern sash windows are most definitely the most appealing option – you can purchase these in hardwood. They come complete with secure locking components. Old sash windows are actually easier to break into than more modern ones. They are double glazed, and they do look attractive.

However, the downside is the price – new sash windows are expensive and will quite likely set you back twice the amount of a more modest replacement. We did consider this option but decided it was too expensive for our humble abode.

Get Several Quotes

Whether you decide to restore or replace your old sash windows. You should obtain several quotes for the work to be undertaken. From my own experience in all matters to do with houses, I have found costs can vary quite considerably for exactly the same work. (Though the cheapest is not necessarily the best.)

Replacement windows should come with a guarantee. And so should any work carried out on old period windows. The repair work completed on our old sash windows was all guaranteed so that any future problems with the weights, sash cords or whatever will be rectified without cost.

It is important to verify the guarantee of the work for your own peace of mind. Get all quotes and guarantees in writing before the work commences. Quotes should display the name and address of the company, as well as the terms and conditions. The warranty usually comes in a separate document but it is also worth asking for that before you pay the deposit.

How Often Should You Replace Your Doors and Windows and Why?


Every single part of your home has a life span. Be it your flooring, your piping, your wiring, or even your doors and windows. One major part of taking care of your home and extending its life span is by ensuring that you keep a lookout for things that need maintenance and replacement. Parts of your home that people may not consider being as necessary, but which surely is quite important, are your doors and windows. To retain a good quality of life and to ensure that your home remains comfortable. It is vital to maintain your doors and windows continually and here is a guide to determine just how often you should do so:

Drafts and leaking

If you start to feel that your doors or windows do not stop water from getting inside rooms anymore. Then that might be a good time to look into the maintenance. Alternatively, if you feel that a closed-door and window is still letting a draft in, then that is the time when you should consider replacing them.

The energy bill is increasing

Some people buy Internal Glazed Doors for their rooms to cut down their electric bills. This option maximizes the use of natural sunlight. This allows homeowners to cut down on a great percentage of their electricity use within the day. But also gives the house a more open feel. Apart from these doors, even regular doors and windows keep cooling or heating within specific rooms. If they get weakened or damaged over time, then your heating and cooling can do outside of the designated space and can end up increasing your bill as well.

Creaking and swelling of the wood

If your windows or doors start to squeak a lot when you open and close them, or if the wood starts to swell and look unpleasant, it might be important to have a carpenter assess the damage and determine if replacing is a good option.

Difficulty in opening and closing

Sometimes if your doors and windows start to get stuck and do not open or close without excessive force or pushing, then this means that the door/window or frame needs replacement. It is essential to do this because otherwise, they might permanently become stuck.

Too much noise

If your doors and windows start to let in too much noise, and you start noticing that your house and specific rooms are getting noisier, then the door’s or window’s integrity and build may have been compromised. It might be termites or wear and tear, but it is crucial to consider replacing them.

When you look at it from multiple perspectives, it is easy to notice how critical the right windows and doors indeed are to your comfort and quality of life. In order to maintain it, this guide can help you figure out how often you need to replace your doors or windows.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *