4 Good reasons to restore, not replace, your original sash windows

Do you own a beautiful period property, complete with original timber sash windows? And have they seen better days? Wooden sashes may be an architectural feature of many old buildings, but they do require maintenance to keep them looking their best. If yours are showing signs of age, are damaged or simply don’t work, you may be tempted to replace them with more modern versions.

But wait – did you know that sash window restoration and repair is a far superior option in almost all cases? I spoke to Mark Peters, owner of Sash Window Experts, who has a real passion for preserving Britain’s period buildings one sash window at a time.

He insists that if your windows are in poor condition, you shouldn’t be put off by the idea of having them repaired, refurbished or completely restored because the results are always well worth the effort. In fact, practically any original sash window can be brought back to its former glory, and that includes tackling a wide range of common and often seemingly unsurmountable problems such as

  • windows that won’t open or close
  • draughty, rattly window frames
  • broken glass panes
  • broken/missing sash cords
  • flaking paintwork and dampness
  • major timber rot and decay

It is a sad fact that the UK has now lost three quarters of its original box sash windows, either as a result of period buildings having been demolished or as a consequence of modern replacement window installations. If you are still wondering whether to restore or replace your old sash windows, here are 4 good reasons to consider giving them some TLC instead.

  1. Original sash windows are key to retaining the period character of the building

Let’s be frank; there’s nothing quite as visually offensive as a Victorian property with UPVC or secondary glazing installed. Removing the original windows simply ruins the authenticity of a historic property. If, as they say, the windows are the eyes of your home – why would you take them out and replace with fake ones?

Carefully restored sash windows, on the other hand, can look sensational and will enhance the overall appearance of the property. When it comes to selling your home, the aesthetic ‘kerb appeal’ will make your home stand out from the crowd, substantially increasing its saleability.

  1. Well maintained sash windows help to preserve the value of your property

Replacement windows in a period property are more than just an aesthetic problem. Anyone with even a basic understanding of the property market will know that original features are highly sought after by buyers. The market for well looked after period properties is limited (and, of course, shrinking), meaning buildings with intact and well preserved original architectural features will always command premium prices.

That said, leaving your sash windows in a state of disrepair when it comes to selling your period home is not advisable. Prospective buyers may baulk at the thought of having to pay for potentially expensive window repairs and start wondering whether there’s anything else in the house that might need fixing.

  1. Repairing original sash windows is cheaper than replacing them

Looking at the cost of brand new UPVC windows, it may seem a sensible financial decision to replace your old sashes. You may be swayed by the excellent thermal efficiency at affordable prices combined with the prospect of low maintenance offered by UPVC replacements.

In the short term, there may well be savings, however the lifespan of UPVC windows is much shorter than that of wooden sash windows that have been looked after. And that’s the point – your original sash windows can be fully restored and brought back to life time and again, unlike UPVC windows that will simply degrade with age. In terms of return on investment, wooden sashes win every time.

  1. Upgrade your sash windows for the best of both worlds

One of the best things about original sash windows is that, with the right knowledge and expertise, they can be double glazed and draught proofed, offering improved energy efficiency. For windows that are 38mm+ in depth, low-e Pilkington double glazed units with a 10 year guarantee can be installed.

The U-value won’t be the same as a new UPVC window but in terms of heating performance, draught proofing and sound proofing, you will notice a substantial improvement. Your period sash windows may be over 100 years old but with expert care and attention, there’s no reason why they won’t serve you well for at least another 100 years.


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