Windows – and what we know about them

Sash windows

Many of our design and renovation projects are in period houses and, assuming the original windows have been retained, these will be sliding sash systems.  These are two panes which slide up and down, via weighted pulley system, and consist of small panes separated by slim ‘glazing bars’ (wooden dividers), within wooden frames.  In Georgian times, technology didn’t allow large single panes of glass; as production methods advanced, pane sizes got larger and number of panes decreased.

Sash window and fanlight

Traditional windows come in many decorative shapes

Sash windows are found in a wide range of attractive shapes and patterns.  They provide ‘natural’ ventilation, allowing air to circulate if both top and bottom sashes are opened partially.

Clients often ask if their their sash windows will have to be replaced but in almost all cases, we advise retaining and renovating the originals.  Skilled joiners can renovate most windows to a good standard, replacing parts of the timber if this is required which is almost always cheaper than replacement.

Restoring Windows

Renovating windows requires skill but is usually cheaper than fitting new ones

If the property is in a conservation area, planning permission is almost always required to replace windows, and if the property is a listed building, listed building consent will also be required if changes are made.  Permission to fit double or triple glazed replacements, may be refused unless the existing glazing profiles can be retained.

Modern windows

If planning/ conservation issues don’t apply, our clients are looking for windows that allow as much light in, and views out, as possible – with some stylish detailing if that suits the building, the surroundings and the interior scheme.

We like:

  • Sunvista
  • Crittal
Modern windows

Modern glazing by Sunvista (L,R) and Crittal (Centre)

Where possible, we fit sliding and/ or folding doors or windows, usually with narrow frames so as much of the window is possible is glazed.

Considerations when fitting new windows:

  • Generally, the more minimal the framing, the greater the cost
  • Similarly, the greater the functionality, the higher the cost – it’s worth paying more for high quality (usually German-designed) opening/ closing/ sliding mechanisms – these look good and most importantly, wont warp/ rust/ get jammed over time.
  • Lots of glass means lots of heat loss/ gain. Choose double or triple glazed, gas filled systems, where appropriate and consider solar treatment to minimise overheating when it’s sunny
  • Consider window covering at an early stage – beautifully minimal framing/ installation won’t necessarily allow anywhere to neatly fit blinds/ curtains
  • Health & Safety – large clean panes are very see-through! Some sort of ‘manifestation’ is required to make it obvious it’s a pane of glass – to avoid injuries from walking fast into sheet of glass
  • New windows have to comply w Building Regs (in terms of safety, security and energy efficiency) – ensure they are fitted by FENSA registered installer and FENSA certificate is issued. Consult a qualified Building Inspector for advice as required.