How to Look After Sash Windows

If your house has sash windows, then they are bound to be one of the most prized features of your home. Sash windows shout style, heritage and status and they are also the eyes of the house, valued from inside and out.

If your house has sash windows, then they are bound to be one of the most prized features of your home. Sash windows shout style, heritage and status and they are also the eyes of the house, valued from inside and out.

Sash windows have an iconic and classic design which has stood the test of time. However, as any true sash window aficionado knows, sash windows require some care and attention on a regular basis to keep them in good working order.

Some Top Tips for Day-
to-Day Usage

Always try to open and close the windows smoothly and without force, using even pressure to ensure the window glides evenly. It is tricky when sash windows stick but it’s always better to try and find out why rather than force the window against the resistance. This will just cause damage.

Keep children away from the cords and stabiliser arms – these are very tempting for toddlers to investigate and could be dangerous. Fitting child safety restrictors will also prevent the windows from being opened beyond a certain point.

Ensure the window is securely closed before adding the latch or locking it.

Cleaning Sash Windows

Who wouldn’t want to keep their sash windows pristine and clean, they are a feature that you will always want to look good. Here are some suggestions for the best way to clean sash windows.

  • Wash the glass panes on a regular basis with a good glass cleaner or just hot, soapy water and then polish them when they are dry with a streak-free cleaning product specifically designed for glass. Try not to clean the windows in direct sunlight as this just tends to encourage streaks as the windows will dry too quickly.
  • Clean the tracks that the windows use on either side removing dust and debris so that the mechanism can slide and glide without restriction. A silicon-based lubricant is ideal as it does not attract dirt and it is colourless plus they are also useful for unsticking a stuck sash.
  • A silicone spray or beeswax polish also offers excellent lubrication for the moving components to keep them running properly and in good condition.
  • Avoid using chemicals or harsh solvent-based products as this will damage the painted frames.

Maintenance and Repair

The summer is the best time to work on sash windows. They may need to be left open or open and closed regularly so it’s easier to do this when it’s warmer plus paint dries more quickly.

Replace frayed or worn-out cords. Check the draughtproofing seal which can loosen or fall off completely. Renew these to maintain an airtight seal ready for winter.

Sash windows live and breathe with your house so, in the winter, the wood can absorb moisture and swell slightly causing the windows to stick.

Checking the fit and the state of the paintwork in the summer can help prevent this from happening by removing cracked or flaking areas and re-painting them. Enamel paint can help keep the windows running smoothly.

Summer restoration should always take into account the thickness of the paint as a snug fit in summer can mean a sticky fit during the winter.

Tackling Rot

Rot is one of the biggest challenges for any wooden window and the sooner it is dealt with, the better as it will only get worse.

Any wooden window frame will absorb moisture, particularly during the winter. A certain amount of expansion and contraction is quite natural. However, when wooden fibres absorb moisture, they also expand and soften, and this offers the perfect home for mould to grow. Mould can lead to rot.

Treating your sash windows with a protective product can help the wood to repel water. It’s important that you use something which is flexible and expands and contract with different weather conditions.

It’s easy to check for rot. Just press gently on the surface of the timber, if it crumbles or starts to flake then that is the beginning of rot.

Small areas of rotten timber are quick and easy to repair. Chisel out the flaking, soft wood and refill the gap with an epoxy resin. Let the area dry, sand it and then repaint.

If you find areas of rot which are purely superficial then this is even easier to deal with. Clean the area thoroughly with a damp cloth and then apply a wood hardener.

Wood hardeners dry quickly and are designed to reinforce and strengthen wood which has begun to decay.

Extensive rot in sash windows, perhaps in a house you have recently bought, usually requires the removal of the entire window so the frame and supports can be treated more effectively.

This will be a comprehensive job involving cutting out rotten sections and splicing in new timber. This is probably a job for professionals.

Call in the Experts

Every few years or so, your sash windows should have an overhaul by expert sash window refurbishing company. They can tackle the accumulation of wear and damage which inevitably builds up over time.

Painting sash windows regularly is a good opportunity to remove layers of old and flaking paint, inspect for rot and decay and, it keeps your windows looking pristine and attractive.

Sash windows can be high maintenance, but they will repay many times over the love, care, and attention you lavish upon them. Not only are they the most stunning feature for your home but they are without a doubt a truly practical and versatile window. Love your sash windows and they will love you back.