Timber Sash and Case Windows

Sash and case windows: History

The first examples of vertical sliding sash and case windows, with weights and pulleys designed to aid movement, have been dated to the latter part of the 17th century. Sash and case windows are simple in concept and yet sophisticated in operation.  They provide natural air flow and temperature control in your building, whilst remaining securely in place.  They allow easy cleaning and in nearly

Common sash and case window problems to look for

Paint finishes

Look for chipped, spilt, and flaking paint finishes on timber sash windows.

Timber decay

Test for areas of soft timber, even under paint finishes, which is an indication of rot.  Timber sash and case window sills are particularly susceptible to rot and may have been replaced previously.

Timber joints

Look for joints that are separating or not square.  Look for plates that may have been placed over a joint to stabilise it.


Does each sash of the window slide up and down freely?  Does the sash fastener close? Are the ropes working and weighted correctly such that the window stays in position when open?

Maintaining your sash and case windows

If you maintain your sash windows you can usually avoid repair altogether.  Regular painting can defend against the elements and decay. If your sash & case windows are in need of repair or draughty, don’t consider replacement as the first option.  Wholesale replacement is likely to be unnecessary and costly, and most window defects can be resolved by repair of individual components rather than the entire window.   Repairing your windows will retain the original look of your house and be kind to the environment.  If your building is listed it is also unlikely that you will be granted Listed Building Consent for their replacement.

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Download guide

Download an Inform guide from Historic Environment Scotland at the Engine Shed website