Archive for November, 2011

Types of Sash Windows

Sash windows are those movable window panes that you can open and close by simply sliding them horizontally or vertically.  You can normally find this type of window in Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian styles of old homes.  These windows came from Europe during the 16th century.  Some people think that this kind of window is out of style but many people still prefer this elegance and beauty.  It can easily conform to modern home styles.  If you are planning to purchase one for you house, here are the various types of sash windows which you can choose from.  You have to study each option and choose the one that will suit your home best.

Basic Types of Sash Windows:
Single Hung – as what the name entails, this has one movable portion.  The most popular type of single hung sash window has a base that can be pushed up while the upper part is immovable.  This type is actually an older model that is commonly found in old houses.  Because the bottom section is the only part that can be moved, this type of sash window is energy-efficient compared to others.

single hung sash window

Double Hung – These are the more modern type of sash windows.  These have two panels that can be slid up or down.  In other words, both sections can be opened or closed.  These models are especially designed to improve on the look of single hung sash windows.  In spite of their modern look, they can also appear conventional if you pick the six over six kind which has two rows per sections and is separated into three panes.  There are also the four over four, nine over nine, and six over two.

double hung sash window

The most popular one is the six over six.  The top section is movable to let outside air move inside your home.  The bottom section can also be opened for the warm air to make its way outside.  There are no weight and pulleys used because they are made using the latest mechanisms.  These types are easier to maintain, clean and repair since all the parts are movable.

Horizontal Slide – These types of sash windows have two sashes that you can slide on both sides.  This one is very popular just like the other two types, but you can still find some of this being utilised in modern and conventional homes.  If you want this type of sash window and the retailer say do not have this one, try mentioning Yorkshire windows because horizontal sashes are often called by this name.

horizontal slide sash window

Metal Sash Windows

Sash windows are made from a range of materials the main of which are wood, plastic and metal. Wood has been used for the longest time while plastic and metal are more recent materials of choice. Wood windows were thought to have poor insulating properties and so plastic and metal were added to the list to make up for these shortcomings. Wood is also more expensive when compared to the other two. Metal was a favourite for a while before being overtaken by plastic or uPVC. However, each of these three sash materials is preferred by different people for various reasons.

Metal sash windows are a recent development. They came to be appreciated when it was realised that they were more durable and better at saving energy than their wooden counterparts. They slowly made their way into new buildings including residential homes. Metal is mainly used in the construction of the window framework. The main metals used are Aluminium and Steel. Of the two, Aluminium is more popular due to its light weight and cheaper price.

Metal sash windows have both their strong points and weak points.
Their main positive qualities are:

  • They are of high strength.
  • They have high impact resistance and so they are able to retain their form even when exposed to strong forces. They will not give way as is the case with uPVC.
  • They are durable and will serve you for a very long time before there is need for a replacement.
  • They are easier to install when compared to wood.
  • They are easy to maintain. Their repair is much easier unlike plastic or wood.metal sash windows

Their main negative qualities are:

  • They have poor insulation properties in that they are quick to let out heat during winter and to let it in as well during summer.
  • They have poor soundproof qualities when compared to plastic or wood.
  • You will suffer more noise disturbances with metal windows than with plastic.
  • When exposed to moisture they are likely to corrode and the results are never eye appealing. Corrosion is the main problem you will have to deal with.

Common metal sash window problems
Most of the problems likely to be encountered with these metal windows has to do with poor protective finishing or caulking between the frame and the wall to which they are attached. This creates a gap for moisture or water to get in contact with the metal thus causing corrosion. This is also the case when the windows get older and the gaps between the various window components gets wider to allow in air and water.

These corrosion problems are usually prevented by using protective coatings or finishing. The repair that needs to be done will require the upgrading or replacement of the weather stripping section of the window. The other common problem one is likely to encounter is them sticking as they are opened. This can be caused by paint pileup, damaged window operators or corrosion. This kind of problem usually calls for the sash replacement

Metal sash windows make wonderful features if you use them for your outdoor windows such as those in the terrace or patio section of your home or building. In order for you to enjoy using these metal windows, you have to ensure that the finishing is right to prevent corrosion.

Calculating How Much To Replace Sash Windows

There are many reasons that would make someone replace their sash windows. Among the most common reasons are when the windows are too old that they are beyond repair or if you feel that you are not getting the best out of them. For example, they might not retain heat well or could be expensive to maintain. Some people might want to improve or change the window style or give their home a new look. Then there are people who simply want to keep up with the latest home trends.

It is generally more expensive to replace sash windows than to repair them. When you decide on the replacement option, it helps to know how much it will cost to replace your sash windows so that you budget accordingly.

Sash window replacements are done by specialised personnel but before you hire one, assess the windows that will need to be replaced. You can decide to replace all the windows or only those that are damaged or old. Some people will opt to replace all the windows to maintain uniformity. Whatever option you choose, do some initial inspection so that you are in the clear what needs replacing and how you want it much to replace sash windows

The next thing will be for you to do some research or ask around to get a rough estimate on how much it will cost to replace sash windows. Factors that will have a bearing on sash windows replacement costs include the window materials to be used, the design, style, and size of the replacement windows as well as the time and labour that will be spent on the project. Take a number of quotes and compare companies before deciding on the one from you will buy your replacement materials.  This background information makes it easier for you to discuss what you want with your contractor.

Quality is a very important consideration in as far as replacement windows are concerned. You do not want to compromise on this just so that you save a few pounds because sooner rather than later, you will have to pay dearly for ‘cheap’. When you are done with researching, consult a window specialist or joiner who is going to do your replacement. There are many companies that offer replacement services. You can search for them online or in your locality.

The contractor you decide upon should have the required skills and experience in this kind of work. Go over your list of windows to be replaced together with the contractor who will help to determine how much to replace sash windows. Some professional window companies require you to provide some information including your budget for them to get what is best suited for your home. Once you are in agreement with the estimates provided, a contractor is found for you and the work ready to begin. It is easier to work with professional window replacement specialists so make sure you choose wisely.

The cost of replacing sash windows can be reduced by doing the job yourself, that is only if you have the know- how. Sash window replacement kits are better suited for do- it- yourself jobs.

Wood Sash Windows Repairs: The Benefits

Wood sash windows are exposed to all sorts of external elements and this leads to various degrees of damage. When this happens, sash windows repairs are necessary. It is much cheaper to repair than replace them. Repair work is also the way to go if the windows are part of a family or country’s heritage. In some parts of Europe like the UK, traditional sash windows are centuries old and are part of the country’s history, and as such, they are jealously guarded. In most cases, the local authority does have a say in the way the windows are managed, it does not matter if you own the property.

Wood windows are noted for their high maintenance and the most common problems you are likely to encounter have to do with the wood being exposed to moisture and other weather elements. This happens when they are not properly maintained. Common wood sash window repairs include cracked and flaked pawooden sash windows repairsint, damaged cords, pegs, glass panes and sash bars, paint build up, rot and putty loose up. This leads to poor insulation, draughts, window sticking and rattling. In this kind of setup, your energy costs are likely to go up and your security compromised. The good news is that wood sash windows are easy to dismantle for repairs to be applied.

There are many benefits to be enjoyed when wood sash window repairs are done competently. One of the most important benefits has is the effect it has on your wallet. When you repair your windows instead of replacing them, you save some money since wood sash window replacement is quite costly. Your repair costs are further lowered when you do the work yourself. Repairing preserves your windows’ traditional style in order to retain their unmatched classic look. Few windows are able to impart such great charm to a home like wood sash windows do. They are a statement of class and elegance, and few people want to miss out.

Properly done sash window repairs eliminates window rattling which can be irritating to the ear. Your home will no longer experience draughts. Noise and particle pollution will be a thing of the past. Instead, you will enjoy quiet and peace, and the air will be much cleaner. Your home will be more comfortable due to re-stored insulation. Interior temperatures will just be right and you will no longer have to suffer very high or low temperatures during summer or winter respectively. Your home’s security is also restored since all the gaps are done away with. It should be noted that timely window repairs is one way of prolonging your windows’ longevity. This is particularly beneficial if your home is part of your family’s heritage.

Basic repair tools normally include a screwdriver, pliers, a chisel and a sash window repair kit. You can do the repairs yourself or get a skilled joiner to do them for you. Some sash window companies provide repair services as part of their customer support.

It is good practice for every homeowner or tenant to inspect their windows regularly so that any damages are noted and sash window repairs done in time. Use a sash window repair checklist to make your inspection easier and thorough.

Disadvantages of Plastic Sliding Sash Windows

Sliding sash windows were traditionally made from timber but this is changing and the trend nowadays is for them to be made from plastic. The main plastic used in these modern times is uPVC (Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride). Traditional sliding sash windows had some shortcomings but this was all rectified with the discovery of uPVC which became the material of choice for many sash window companies and homes.

Plastic sash windows are very common in many parts of London, but this changes as you get into its suburbs where many homes are graced with wooden sash windows. Plastic sash windows have many advantages and this has increased their popularity among property owners. Most window manufacturers prefer them because they can be mass produced and this helps to significantly bring down production costs. This is the main reason why they are cheap for the end buyer in comparison to wood or timber.

However, despite their many advantages, plastic sliding sash windows do have their disadvantages too. The one that brings a lot of disappointment has to do with them losing their attractive appearance after a while and then cracking up. When this happens, the best alternative is to replace them. This makes them very expensive in the long run since it means you can expect to replace them more frequently.

Plastic sash windows are brittle and not as durable as wood sash windows. It is also argued by most that no technology, no matter how advanced, can make plastic windows acquire the elegance and charm enjoyed by wood sash sliding windows. This the reason some owners have stuck to the good old sash wooden windows despite their outdated status.plastic sliding sash window

In recent times, the world has become more environment conscious and this has put plastic sliding sash windows in a bad light as they aren’t produced in an environmentally friendly way. During their production, toxic fumes are released into the atmosphere and this results in unsightly black clouds. This high level of air pollution endangers both animal and plant life. Their other destructive element has to do with them being non-biodegradable, and so centuries after their disposal, they can never rot. Instead, they will form a permanent eyesore feature of the environment, aside from occupying precious space.

Plastic sliding sash windows have a short guarantee period upon purchase, and this is never good for the consumer. Additionally, when you need to repair them, you are going to have a hard time getting a skilled handyman to bring them back to shape. This is because they are not easily dismantled to allow any repair work to be done and their different components are not easy to make outside of the factory environment. This means that in most cases you will have to do a complete window replacement or get the original installer, neither of which comes cheap.

The other sad fact is that when you feel a need for a facelift, you are never going to change the colour of your plastic sash windows. This is unlike the case with wood where all you need is a simple brush of your favourite colour of paint. Many people still shy away from using plastic sliding sash windows because they have not undergone adequate testing. Their use still remains controversial.

Sash Windows Restoration

Sash windows are important historical features, hence their popularity and appreciation . Their restoration involves renovating or repairing the original features rather than replacing them. When you visit the UK, you will find that every effort is being made to preserve original sash windows. Many old windows are being restored to their former glory because sash windows form an important part of the UK’s architectural heritage. London, the capital city, is one such place where a lot of sash window restoration is taking place. Excellent restoration examples can be seen in Regent Park and Burr Hall.

Original sash windows were made using timber and thus are prone to rot. Old windows  could have other problems like loose sash joints, broken glass panes, unstable sashes, damaged pulley wheels and wood decay. Skilled sash window restoration can re-create the original status and there will be no need for any replacement. There are professional sash window restorers whose only job is to reclaim old windows. Original sash windows downsides like decay, poor insulation and security can be improved by using quality preservatives, paints, glazing and advanced security locks. A factory finish completes the job. This is done while maintaining the window’s traditional form.

Sash window restoration is a good investment as is evidenced by the century old houses which are still standing because they were constructed using high quality materials. The craftsmen gave it their all to produce very eye appealing structures. Heartwood was used and was of much superior quality than the sapwood we have today. In the Victorian age, windows were made to last and when such windows are restored, they can serve another hundred years or more because of their durability. Their beauty is unmatched and they make fantastic architectural heritage sites. Window restoration is good for the environment because fewer resources are used and air pollution, if any, is at negligible levels. A lot of recycling is done which makes waste management easier and eliminates waste heaps.

When sash window restoration is done right, it can turn out to be cheaper than if you had chosen to install new windows. Some old windows are only damaged on the surface but the layers underneath are still in very good condition. Original Victorian or Georgian sash windows are simply too good to be replaced with modern softwood or plastic, and if you did this, you will be doing yourself great injustice. Restored sash windows are valued because they have a way of adding character to a building. The old look and the repaired parts work together to produce a classic effect which is great for property value and like they say ‘old is gold’. You can paint or stain them if you want to match them with the rest of the home décor. The only  sash window restoration challenges you may have to deal with is getting replicas of badly damaged parts as some are no longer manufactured and would rely on restorers who have original sash window carpentry skills.

When you preserve the old features of your sash windows, they increase the value of your property and is one way of contributing towards making the world a more beautiful place to live.

When to Replace Sash Windows

Homeowners are often confronted with the decision of whether or not to replace their sash windows. This gets trickier when they want to retain the traditional look of theor timber sash windows. This is because traditional timber sash windows have historical and aesthetic value. Some sash window management situations call for simple repairs while others will call for a complete overhaul, deciding which route to take is the difficult part. It helps to consult sash window specialists to guide you on when to replace sash windows.

Situations when you will want to replace sash windows include:

  • When your wood sash windows have so much rot that the different window components cannot be held together. This is particularly the case if the frame is the one that has most of the rot.
  • When the windows are so old that it is not possible to do any repairs
  • When your current windows have poor insulating properties like the case with metal windows. Substandard sash windows perform poorly which leads to high energy costs. This is not favourable when you are financially constrained. The other problem is that due to their poor soundproof abilities, you will be subjected to all kinds of street noises causing quality time in your home to become an uphill task.
  • When the windows you are using are not environmentally friendly. The current world trend is for people to use products that will not damage the environment. Environmentally unfriendly sash windows are not energy efficient and this causes high heat loss. This, in the end, leads to high carbon emission which is never a good a thing for planet earth.
  • When your current sash windows are too expensive to care for and maintain. You will want to replace your windows if you are on a limited budget and cannot afford to spend so much on window maintenance. This is common with most wood sash windows as they require proper and regular maintenance. Some people opt for cheaper and low maintenance uPVC sash windows
  • In some localities, the planning and building authority has a say in the way houses are constructed and maintained, and when to replace sash windows. If they decide this is the way to go for your windows, you have little choice but to comply. This is what happens with most architectural heritage sites.
  • If you are a stylish person and want to keep up to date with modern housing trends.
  • When you are renovating your home and want to maintain a general design theme.

When replacing sash windows, buy your replacement windows from a reputable company that has been in the business for a reasonable number of years. This assures you of the quality and you will not have do any replacement for a very long time. Use professional services to do the installation to avoid errors and having to re- do the job.

Sash window replacement is an expensive undertaking, so make sure this is what you want for your home.