Guide to Sliding Sash Windows

This traditional design is often found in Georgian and Victorian houses, but performance of new models has come a long way since then
Sofia Delgado
by Sofia Delgado
24th June 2018

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Sliding sash windows feature slim frames and narrow glazing bars, and their overall look is responsible for much of the character of period (or period-style) homes across the UK.

If your dwelling has a particular historical feel, then you’ll want to get the design details right – such as the number and configuration of panes as well as the decorative elements of the frames.

Constructed from two moveable panels, which slide up and down in front of each other, these windows are available in a range of options – from double or triple glazed to self-cleaning and opaque glass.

Source it: Find glazing suppliers in the Build It Directory

Traditional models are counterbalanced by weights on cords. However, many modern examples are sprung instead. Another contemporary take on this design are tilt-in units, which allow for easy cleaning. Originally made of timber, manufacturers now use alternative frame materials for easy upkeep.

On the lower end of the price spectrum you’ll find PVCu options, although these may not offer great period charm. Engineered timber or low-maintenance metal designs might better suit your needs for sensitive heritage projects.

If you are renovating an old dwelling and wish to keep the original fenestration in all its glory, refurbishing will bring their performance up to modern standards.

Browse the gallery for sash windows design ideas:

Q&A: Sliding sash

Matt Chambers from Dale Joinery explains the appeal of these traditional-looking units.

What are the advantages of this design?

Contemporary sash windows tend to faithfully replicate true Victorian and Georgian looks but with the advantages of modern performance.

They work really well for period property renovations and heritage self builds. Updating old sashes will not only improve your dwelling’s overall energy performance but also add value to your home.

How do today’s sash windows differ from originals?

Although they can look the same, modern sliding sash units are very different from those installed in Victorian Britain. You’ll find they are still full of character thanks to their slim frames and sashes, but feature the latest glass, timber and insulation solutions to offer the strong performance we need. The use of modern hardware means they are also really smooth to operate.

How can homeowners know if these units are right for them?

Generally speaking, this type of window is naturally suited to the Georgian and Victorian style. However, if the homeowner isn’t sure about what is going to work, my advice is to speak to experts.

At Dale Joinery, for instance, we discuss the property to get a real feel of the home, what style it is and whether there are any modern extensions to an old build. Choosing to match your fenestration to existing doors can be a safe option.

Top image:Jeld-Wen’s softwood sliding sash timber windows are easy to manouvre and come in standard sizes as well as made-to-measure options. Double glazing helps this unit achieve a U-value of 1.4W/m2K

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