I hadn’t written a post in a while so thought might be useful to catch up on my feelings towards where sash windows have come from and gone in the last twenty years. The revolutionary technology just coming out back then was a draught proofing system. A brilliant idea designed to keep homes warmer without breaking the bank. So brilliant was this idea, it is now widely used in every single sash window refurbishment and replacement today. Finally we’ve found a way to eliminate the inherent problems associated with beautiful, period sash windows.
That brings me to the end of a period for Louvre style windows. They are no longer considered fashionable, offer low performance in terms of heat insulation, and are extremely vulnerable to break ins. So much so insurance companies won’t touch a home with them unless the Louvre, opening sections are siliconed shut. Then you have to ask yourself, what about fire safety requirements? These windows were given absolutely no consideration when installed, however so many homes had them.
Aluminum installed inside original frames were gaining traction at the time. The amount of money made installing these must of been absurd. I could probably replace a whole house of original sash in a day, installing these ugly ally windows with just a single timber lining internally. What a waste of quality joinery, still at least these windows can be melted down, glass recycled. Plastic which in the 90s took hold are filling our landfill sites at a rate we cannot keep up with.
Sounds all doom and gloom? No fortunately homeowners are appreciating the beautiful sash window and know that no other window compares in aesthetics and function now. What UPVC did with sash windows has only been bettered with timber. Double glaze timber windows now look as slender as single glazed period sash windows whilst offering all the benefits of PVC thermally and acoustically. It’s amazing what we can get done and design when needed.
Listed and conservation properties have been by and large well looked after. They didn’t get the same replacement treatment, unfortunately when they did and it was overlooked, we now have to fight tooth and nail to install replicas that would of matched originals. It’s a shame the system is setup to stop honest work like this but it does have the benefits of blocking a far greater amount of dishonest work. On the balance then reasonability and a few case by case scenarios which lose to the system. You can’t win them all as they say.
The height of fashion and sash window trend is now to install double glazed units within original sashes, it’s cost effective and it is environmentally friendly. Units are so well constructed they last for well beyond guarantee periods as well as being heavier and offering improved security to the homeowner, a win win then and common sense dictates the trend should only gather pace. Following the trends we are setup for double glazing existing sash windows in London.
I’ll leave my rough thoughts there, if you think there’s anything missed please feel free to input your ideas.