Traditional sash windows are a beautiful addition to any building but, unfortunately, age and lack of proper maintenance can see them lose their charm.
Unloved they may have been, but no matter what the problems are – you don’t need to give up on your sash windows just yet.
Even if they are draughty, rattling or showing signs of rot, traditional sash windows can now be returned to all their former glory and improved upon.
With over 30 years experience, Jim Toal of Sash Windows and Restoration by Fairco has discovered all there is to know about sash window restoration.
“They may look awful and have been terribly neglected over the years but sash windows were built to last,” said Jim.
“It just takes a little care and attention from skilled crafts people to bring them back to life.”
According to Jim there are several common but very solvable problems that people experience with old or poorly maintained sashes.
“Firstly, the windows may be jammed shut. It could be that the sash cords are frayed and no longer work or the opening may have been painted over to keep them shut.
“Another issue is draughts – and no-one wants draughty windows. Draughts are mainly caused by badly aligned sashes and a lack of compression between the sashes.
“Woodwork will rot over time mainly at the sills and the rails particularly at the bottom of the window.
“Also, the window hardware, such as the original brass fittings, could have become worn, broken and pitted over time.
“The putty could have fallen away over the years and there might be small cracks in the glass, this is particularly common in Edwardian sash windows.”
While new A-rated energy saving sash windows are now available, these cannot be used to replace original sashes in listed buildings.
But no matter how bad their appearance may be, window expert Jim believes there is no need to give up on your original sash windows.
He says the first thing on the restoration agenda is to get the sashes sliding smoothly again.
This may require stripping the window of years of built up paint to see what condition the timber is in.
Once that is established restoration can begin. The rotten timber is removed and replaced with long lasting Accoya timber in profiles that are the exact replica of the original.
Frayed cords are also replaced so the sashes can operate smoothly.
Draughts can also become a thing of the past thanks to the refurbishment process.
“If the timbers are sound and still in good condition we can retro fit draught excluders to sliding sashes and rebates, which will add to the compression and reduces draughts considerably,” Jim explained.
The window restorers also source like-for-like brass fittings, hooks and pulleys which are easily replaced by retro-fitting.
Their attention to detail even includes providing the same sheet glass and the type of putty that would have been used one hundred years ago.
And opening restrictors, which restrict the ability of children to open windows, can also be fitted to comply with new legislation.
“Historically, sash windows were made to last for generations. With a little effort and expertise even those that look beyond repair can be returned to their former glory,” said Jim.
Depending on specification of timber and fittings, draught-proofing starts from €500 per window, a cill can be replaced from €110, outer casings from €60, all-new brass hardware from €90, and to retro-fit restrictors to the bottom sash costs from €60.