How to Enjoy 21st-Century Insulation with Traditional Sash Windows

Who doesn’t love a sash window but there is a ‘comfort’ price to pay for traditional features. Sash windows can be draughty, and no one wants 19th-century temperatures and spiralling energy bills irrespective of how lovely their windows are.

Who doesn’t love a sash window but there is a ‘comfort’ price to pay for traditional features. Sash windows can be draughty, and no one wants 19th-century temperatures and spiralling energy bills irrespective of how lovely their windows are.

When sash windows were originally installed in domestic houses, their level of draught control was perfectly satisfactory for the time. Well, people wore more clothes in those days! In fact, a draught was usually desirable to help draw the fire as anyone who has an open coal or wood fire knows only too well.

Fortunately, there are lots of clever 21st-century options that can help manage insulation in your home meaning you can retain the sash windows you love and enjoy a warm and draught-free environment this winter.

Reglaze the

Welcome a new generation of insulating glass products which offer the properties of triple glazing in a lightweight single pane and can be fitted to traditional sash windows.

Historically, sash windows have had thin, single glazing and cannot support triple glazing as the frames are too narrow and it disrupts the delicate balance and weight of the window. Now, new glazing products mean that you can enjoy the impact of triple glazing in your home with lightweight glazing which can be retrofitted to your existing sash windows. Described sometimes as vacuum glazing, this glass also offers excellent acoustic properties for old houses that are located in busy areas and suffer from traffic or street noise.

Window Film

Window film is literally just that, a thermal film applied to the window to control heat loss from your home, but this film also blocks solar heat and glare during the warmer months keeping rooms cool and protecting furniture and textiles from UV light. Some films reduce heat loss by up to 50% and block solar gain by around 70%.

Window film is available in DIY stores but many of the cheaper products are not easy on the eye and can detract from the style of your sash windows. Homeowners may also find window film tricky to install if they have multi-paned sash windows and if you trap moisture behind the film then it will just create condensation and need to be removed and replaced. Window film is best installed by experienced experts who use a higher-quality product and who have the expertise to provide a professional finish that won’t detract from the overall aesthetic of your sash windows.

Weather seals

Sash windows don’t just lose heat via the glazing. An even more serious cause of draughts and warm air loss can be the seal between the window and the frame, a particular problem with sash windows as they do require the freedom to be able to move up and down. In windy weather summer or winter, this can create the traditional sash window ‘rattle’.

Draught excluder strips can weatherproof draughty sash windows and the most popular choice for this style of window includes a brush seal in a uPVC carrier. These are popularly used in Grade I and II listed buildings which usually present the trickiest insulation problems. They are virtually invisible when installed and the low friction brush still allows the sash windows to glide so there is no restriction when opening and closing.

Another option is parting beads which are vertical seals fitted between the lower and upper sashes creating a channel for the sashes to slide past each other. Some parting beads also incorporate a quality weather pile or brush. Avoid parting beads which are made of plastic as these cannot be painted and the plastic will fade and discolour in a different way to the surrounding paintwork. Only fit traditional timber parting beads.

Instal Thick Curtains

It was not uncommon for doors and windows in the Victorian period and earlier to be fitted with full-length curtains and with good reason. Previous generations knew a thing or two about draughts and how to manage them. A room can be well-heated but still feel cold because of the air movement caused by a draught and the loss of heat to the outside.

Thick, double-lined curtains or curtains fitted with a layer of insulating fabric inside can be a very simple and decorative way to block out draughts. If there is no radiator under the window, then extend the curtains to the floor. Using a swag-style curtain with a tie-back means that the edges of the window can remain covered even when the curtains are open.

There are lots of ways to draught-proof existing sash windows to suit all types of interiors and budgets, some are simple and quick to install, others more long-term. If you are having windows restored or new sash windows made, then the joiner will be able to suggest the best options to keep your home snug and cosy this winter.

Draughtproofing your sash windows will help your energy bills and the environment plus help nail down that essential good energy rating on your EPC if you want to sell.

We can bespoke-design new wooden sash windows in every size, shape and style and fit new wooden sash windows into existing frames. We use the latest draughtproofing techniques for the restoration and renovation of old windows and when we create new ones. Now you can retain the beauty of your period home without having to compromise on comfort.

Contact us here to discover what we could do for your cosiness levels this winter.