Sash Windows – New or Replacement
Sash windows have been very common in British homes for hundreds of years. These classic vertically sliding design windows have complemented many properties, from grand palaces to humble terraced houses and are still a popular choice in homes these days.
The problem comes in with older properties that are “listed” or have planning restrictions which will have homeowners struggling through the winter months with deteriorating single paned traditional sashes that offer very little insulation from the weather
However, help is at hand through technological and design advances that provide a choice of glazing options. Modern sash window designs can include double or triple glazing with secure energy efficient frames – even in different colours.
The benefits of the new materials and design styles comes into play with properties that need to replace the existing traditional sash windows. New glazing products can be “sympathetic” to the look and style of the property whilst keeping the planners happy.
Why double glaze Sash Windows?
I would think everybody knows what double glazing is, but you may not be aware of some of the ways designers have improved the performance in recent times.
OK, we know double glazed sаsh windows аrе mаdе оf 2 раnеs оf glass in a ‘sandwich” that hаvе been sеаlеd air tight. However, the gap between the glass panes is vital to the energy saving performance and now designers have taken to using inert gasses, such as Argon, within the gap.
Combining gas filled glazed units with Low-emissivity glass (metal oxide coated) dramatically increases the ability of the double glazed unit to keep warm air inside the home & cold air outside.
This ability of a modern double glazed sash window to stop air ingress or egress is so good it actually can cause a secondary problem – condensation.
Condensation Problems from double glazing
3 or 4 adults living in a house together can actually generate a surprisingly large amount of water vapour (gallons in a month) from their daily living activities. If the water vapour has no way of being removed or circulated, then it will condense onto the walls and create damp patches and mold – which can be bad for your health.
To deal with this, double or triple glazed window units should be fitted with what are known as trickle vents. Trickle vents provide controlled ventilation and help eliminate condensation.
Sash Window Design Options
UPVC Sash Window
The advantage over timber is that uPVC is very long lasting, cost effective and needs very little maintenance to keep it in good shape.
You can also get coloured uPVC and high quality examples can even have a wood grain finish, which will make them almost indistinguishable from timber when viewed from the street.
Super slim frame profile options can also take away that old fashioned “bulky” look that was so hated when uPVC windows were first introduced.
There are also options for “tilt & turn” sash windows where one or more of the sashes can be partially released from the side frame and be rotated or swung inward to allow east access to the outside. Great for easy cleaning or even where external access may be needed in the event of an emergency such as a fire escape.
In summary, they can be very stylish, secure and in some cases even get approval to be used in situations where previously the local planning department would have not allowed them to be fitted.
Timber Sash Window
Firstly, you are going to get a classic look that can be installed into any home no matter if the property is listed, protected or in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
Secondly, modern treated timber windows last a lot longer than they used to, although you will need to look after them.
Thirdly, you can go for “engineered timber” which is a timber composite that has excellent life span and low maintenance properties – some engineered woods are so well pre-treated that they do not rot at all.
One major advantage to using engineered wood for sash windows is that the timber can be machined into almost any shape. This means it can be used for very complicated designs that could be tricky to replicate with traditional timber.
Building Regulations & Planning Permission
Current building regulations will impact on new or replacement sash windows. If you fit them yourself, you will need to get them inspected and approved by your local authority. If you have them fitted by a professional who is certified by FENSA or CERTASS, then they can certify the windows as complaint for you – saving you the time & expense of doing it yourself.
- A Conservation Area
- A National Park
- An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
- A World Heritage Site or
- Norfolk or Suffolk Broads
The advice in these situations is to contact your local planning authority and discuss your plans before you start to do any work.