26Oct 2015

Buying sash windows in 2015: Some things to consider

Posted in: sash windows and period homes  –  By Patchett Joinery

There’s little doubt that over the last decade or so sash windows have come back in a really big way, but what makes them so special? For one, there are a range of different options for you to choose from when it comes to picking the right sash window for your property. If you’ve recently purchase a period property, or even a modern build that you’re hoping to add some architectural charm to, this article may help. We’ve cobbled together some vital information about sash windows to help you on your journey. First, some interesting trivia about sash windows:

The origins of sash windows

Sash windows are more prevalent in Britain than you might initially think. They initially came about in the 17th century and have remained a staple choice ever since, evolving and adapting with various fashion trends and available materials. Quite often, if you see a very old property and it has wood sash windows you can all but guarantee it’s from the 17th century.

So where does the word ‘sash’ come from? 

The word ‘sash’ basically refers to a single pane of glazing; the defining feature of a sash window. Traditionally, a sash window would be made up of two sliding panes that overlap and slide up and down to open or close, one sash in front of the other. Many modern sash windows have adopted a tilt function to make them easier to clean, but the aesthetic design hasn’t really altered much in centuries.

Small panes making a ‘grid’

You don’t see many examples of this any more, but traditionally sash window panes were made up of much smaller panes – 6 or 9 of them – that were welded together giving the grid effect that we’ve come to associate closely with period properties. This wasn’t necessarily a style choice; it was because the technology didn’t exist in the 17th century to craft large single panes of glass.

So, what should I consider when  buying wood sash windows?

First, it’s always good to make sure you choose the right period; not just what looks nice. Picking what looks nice won’t necessarily get you the best price when it comes to a valuation – so if you’ve got an Edwardian home, do a bit of research and find windows that match that period, or at least reflect that style. Second, don’t go tearing out windows when you move into a new property! It’s a common mistake that many people still make. They buy a period home with beautiful, albeit old, windows, and set about removing them so they can put more modern variants in. Repairing wood sash windows is nearly always the better option – it’ll save you money, time and will retain the value and aesthetic in your home.