Whether Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian, period homes are loved for their architectural features, and that includes their iconic sash windows. But what do you do when those original windows let you down? If your wooden sashes no longer open or shut properly, are rattly and draughty or the timber is showing signs of damage or decay?
If you’re fed up with your once attractive windows giving you nothing but trouble, it’s tempting to cut your losses and give in to uPVC window salesman who will tell you that all your problems will be solved with the convenience and affordability of replacing your old windows with modern versions. Don’t listen to him.
While your original timber windows may not be best performing at the moment, there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were. The magic words are repair and maintenance. It is a fact that period sash windows require regular attention to keep them looking their best. With professional maintenance by a sash window expert who really knows his stuff, having your old windows repaired and restored to their former glory is the far superior option in nearly all cases.
It is also a fact that three quarters of the UK’s original box sash windows have now been lost, either because buildings have been redeveloped or original windows have been replaced. But it’s not too late to stop the rot (as well as many other common window sash problems) and ensure that the past has a future.
Here are 3 reasons why you should repair and recondition your original timber sash windows.
- Preserve the period character of the building
Historic buildings are in limited supply, so it’s up to every period home owner to take a little bit of responsibility for preserving our national architectural heritage. Even if your property isn’t a listed building, taking out the original sash windows and putting in modern replacements destroys the authenticity of the building. Take a look at, say, a Victorian cottage with uPVC windows. Doesn’t it jar with the aesthetic principles of the architecture and just looks plain wrong?
By contrast, spending a bit of time and effort to professionally repair and restore your sash windows is in keeping with the original architecture and enhances the overall charm of the building. Whether it’s your long-term family home or you’re putting the property up for sale, ‘kerb appeal’ is what makes your home stand out in the neighbourhood.
- Maintain and improve your property’s value
Of course, having replacement windows in an old property is more than a visual eyesore. As every estate agent will tell you, period buildings with original features intact are highly sought after among buyers. Buildings that are in an excellent state of repair having been well looked after through the years will always fetch top prices. Whether you’re thinking of selling now or in the longer term, this is well worth remembering.
That said, do make sure that the historic building and its original features has indeed been well maintained. No-one likes a crumbling property or defect old windows. Leaving your sash windows in a state of disrepair is bound to put potential buyers off since it highlights the problem and cost to sort it out, rather than the beautiful original features themselves.
- Choose restoration as a cheaper alternative to replacement
No doubt, you’ve already looked at uPVC window replacements as a possible solution for your tired old sash windows. Affordable prices, excellent thermal efficiency and freedom from maintenance are indeed powerful drivers – but they are only effective in the short term.
Bear in mind that the lifespan of uPVC windows is much shorter than that of timber sash windows who have been lovingly maintained over the years. And that’s what it really comes down to. uPVC windows will degrade with age until they require replacement – once the material has failed it’s impossible to restore it. Wooden sash windows, on the other hand, can be repaired and reconditioned again and again, giving you many, many decades of excellent service. Looking at the return of investment, wooden sashes win hands down.