Did you know?
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 & 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 all circumstances can be repaired and draught proofed if desired. This practicality is demonstrated by those that are still in situ after 200 years or more.
The timber used to make original sash & case windows was allowed to grow at a natural rate as opposed to the forced fast grown softwood of today. This means it has a much closer grain making it significantly more durable. Wood of this quality is almost impossible to source today.
An often-overlooked element of traditional windows is the glass itself. Glass produced before the 1950’s carries ‘imperfections’ which produce a characteristic ‘shimmering’ effect which enlivens the window in a way modern glass does not.
What to look for
- Paint finishes
Look for chipped, spilt, and flaking paint finishes.
- Timber decay
Test for areas of soft timber, even under paint finishes, which is an indication or rot. 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?
What to do?
If you maintain your 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.