Sash windows are designed to have movable panels, or sashes, that open vertically or horizontally. They are characteristic of Georgian, Victorian and sometimes Edwardian properties and are well known for their distinctive aesthetic and traditional charm.

Unlike casement windows, which open on a hinge, sash windows open by sliding the panels up and down. Traditional designs used a counterweight and cord system, whereas modern designs tend to use hidden spring balances. This system is not only elegant to watch, but also holds some real advantages over more modern types of windows.

What are the advantages of sash windows?

1. Summer ventilation

One major benefit of sash windows is that they allow for good ventilation during the warmer months. The dual-panel system means that warm air can escape through the top opening while cooler air can enter through the bottom. The constant flow of air keeps room temperatures at a more comfortable level during the summer.

2. Aesthetic charm

The main draw of a sash window is its appearance. Its attractive design instantly elevates the look of a home, bringing a traditional element of architecture into the modern era. Sash windows were historically made from timber, but modern technology has paved the way for more durable materials to be used, such as uPVC, while also maintaining the period design.

3. Versatility

Modern sash windows are versatile. While traditional designs only allowed the sashes to move up and down, modern sash windows typically allow homeowners to tilt the glass panels for easy cleaning. Sash windows also come in a variety of styles, including single or double hung, vertical or horizontal sliding panels (known as Yorkshire sash windows), as well as slight differences between Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian designs.

What are the disadvantages of sash windows?

Traditional sash windows have historically had some disadvantages. Traditional sash windows were made using wooden frames, making them more prone to draughts than casement windows due to not being pressed against a frame. This design consequently makes a home less energy efficient.

However, modern sash windows are typically made using more insulating materials such as uPVC. This design solves the draught issue by marrying the aesthetic look of sash windows with the benefits of casement windows, such as noise reduction and energy efficiency.

The other drawback of sash windows is the inability to open as completely as with casement windows. While the panels can be moved up and down, there will always be a section in the middle that must remain fixed. This is not necessarily an issue, but rather a question of taste.

What is a box sash window?

A box sash window, also known as a hung sash window, uses the weight and cord system to counterbalance the sash as it moves up and down. The counterweight and cord is hidden inside a box built into the frame of the window on each side, hence the name box sashes.

Modern sliding sash windows use a system of springs and spiral balances rather than counterweight and pulleys, allowing for a narrower frame. This mechanism is more common in modern sash window designs than box sash windows.

Should I install a sash window?

Thanks to modern technology and materials, more and more homeowners are looking to install sash windows in their homes. They provide the perfect balance of functionality and aesthetics, making a home stand out on a residential street. KLG Rutland’s team of expert window installers can guide you through the process of choosing the perfect sash window for you.