What Is A Sash Window?

If you’re looking to replace the windows in your home, you may not even have considered sash windows. Most people turn to casement windows as default and unknowingly, miss out on the many benefits and undeniable appeal of sash windows.

If you’re not sure what a sash window looks like, how it works, or whether it would suit your property, then we’ve put together this post to answer all your questions. 

We’ll look at the difference between a casement and a sash window, the benefits that sash windows have, as well as their disadvantages. We’ll cover all the common questions people ask about sash windows, and help you decide if a set of sash windows could be right for you.

What is A Sash in Window Terms?

A sash window is made of two window panes, these are called sashes. They open by sliding so that one pane sits behind the other to create an opening. Picture a set of sliding doors, sash windows open in a similar way. However, unlike sliding doors, they tend to open vertically rather than horizontally. 

Sash windows were first seen in the Georgian period and they became popular because their shape and structure could support much larger windows than casement ones could. They continued to be popular throughout the Edwardian and Victorian periods ans these days they are still the second most common window design in use.

What Is The Difference Between A Sash Window And A Casement Window?

The difference between sash and casement windows is the way they open. Sash windows slide to open, whereas you open casement windows by pushing them outwards. 

This makes a sash window a fantastic space-saving option for ground floor windows, particularly when they open onto narrow or frequently used paths or walkways. 

How Do Sash Windows Work?

Traditionally, sash windows open on a pulley system. This makes the window easier to open, distributing the weight and giving a smooth opening action. This is also what holds the weight of the window when it’s open and stops it from slamming shut under the pull of gravity. To do this, a counterweight is fitted to a ‘sash cord’ which runs over the pulley. 

Sash windows that work via this pulley system are called ‘Box Sash’ windows. This is the most common version of sash windows and the most reliable. However, this is not the only type of sash window available.

What Are The Different Types Of Sash Windows?

Box sash windows are an original style of sash window that has been used for centuries. However, there is another type of sash window available which is more modern, this is called a spiral balanced sash.

Rather than using gravity to hold the window open, a spiral balanced window uses a spring-based mechanism to counterbalance the weight. The appeal of this modern sash window is that it requires a smaller window frame, this is because the workings of the window (the counterbalance mechanism) are visible.

With a box sash window, the pulley mechanism is built into the frame of the window. This gives it a much sleeker look and protects the mechanism from dust and dirt so that it operates smoothly and has a longer lifespan. 

What Are The Benefits Of Sash Windows?

As we’ve outlined above, one of the biggest practical benefits of sash windows is that they are less obstructive.

They are also a great choice for family homes, as they tend to be a lot safer than casement windows. This is because they give you more control over how far you open them and they are also safer to fix into position.  Also, unlike the hinges on casement windows, the workings of a box sash window are neatly enclosed in the frame, making them much safer for smaller fingers.

The counterweight system also increases the safety of sash windows. If you are opening them upwards instead of outwards, there is no chance of losing your own balance if the window opens quicker or further than intended.

However, the biggest benefit of sash windows is undeniably their looks. The character and elegance of sash windows help them bring aesthetic appeal to any home. They can bring a classic and traditional touch to modern homes, adding personality and kerb appeal to homes that can sometimes be left with a bland appearance. They also fit in perfectly with a range of period properties from tall townhouses to smaller cottages.

What Is The Point Of Sash Windows?

Visual appeal is not the only reason you may want to invest in a sash window. This traditional window style dates back to the 17th Century making it a fantastic choice to install in period properties if you are trying to keep your home authentic.

If your home dates between the 1700s and the 1900s, then it was likely built with sash windows. This style was popular during these periods because it supported big windows to create bright rooms. 

These days having an authentic window design in older homes can help them hold – or even increase their value. It will always help create a more cohesive, consistent and attractive look for your home too. 

If you live in a designated or conservation area, you may even be required to have sash windows to support an authentic look for the street.

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Sash Window?

One of the big disadvantages of sash windows is their cost. Due to the mechanism that opens them they use more materials and are more complicated to make naturally this is reflected in the cost. 

Traditional sash windows may also offer less ventilation than a casement window. If they have a fixed panel, you will only ever be able to open half the window will limit the airflow that circulates through them, compared to having two panels of a casement window flung open.

Of course, this works the other way as well. Sash windows with two sliding sashes actually offer significantly better ventilation, as you can open them to create a gap at the top and the bottom of the window. This allows air to circulate more fully.

Will Sash Windows Add Value?

Did you know that installing a set of quality sash windows can even increase the value of your home?

Many original sash windows in period properties have since been replaced with standard casement windows as they were considered to have a ‘similar look’. They were also cheaper and boasted the same energy efficiency savings, though they will also have a lot shorter lifespan.

However, there is a massive difference in the quality and look of cheap casement windows and traditional sash ones. This meant that replacing the original sash design with casement windows seriously dented the visual appeal of many homes. The effect was so negative that it even reduced their resale value.

Returning to an authentic style sash window will add an impressive edge to the look of a Georgian or Victorian home. It will even add an elegant touch to more modern homes. In turn, this boost in ‘kerb appeal’ can be reflected in an increase in the property value.

Increasing the kerb appeal of your home can be difficult and often expensive. It is definitely worth considering when you are replacing your windows and doors, even if you don’t intend to sell your home anytime soon.

Are Sash Windows Worth It?

If you’re looking for a window that will bring its own character and visual appeal to your home, turning a simple functional item into a statement design feature, then sash windows can be worth every penny.

 They may cost a little more but they will help you stay faithful to the history of a period home. Their narrow profiles and structured frames can also sit beautifully in more modern homes. 

Of course, only you can decide if they are a worthwhile investment for your own home. If you want to learn more about updating your home with sliding sash windows, then take a look at our range or contact us today.