What Is a Sash Window?

A sash window is an historic design which has a valued place in traditional and contemporary architecture both as an aesthetic statement and an integral and functioning piece of domestic and commercial building design.

A sash window is a traditional wooden window, a style which is seen in properties in Western architecture from the Georgian era onwards and in different forms right through the Victorian and Edwardian periods and well on into the 20th century

Defining a Sash Window

A sash window is a window with two frames that can slide vertically so allowing for a great amount of airflow. Sash windows are a classic design that remains popular to this day, partly because they can add a sense of style and history to a newer property but also because they remain a very functional window design.

The sash is the frame that holds the glass. It is independent of the wall which is why it can move. Compare this to other window styles where the frame is built into the wall. The traditional Georgian sash window is made up of multiple squares of glass, called lights, held together by a grid of bars. This was because the skill didn’t exist at that point in time to create larger glazing panes. Fast forward to the Victorian era and sash windows look quite different just because of the lack of glazing bars and larger panes of glass.

Initially, glazed windows were only for the very rich in the Georgian period so when glass became more affordable, this style was endlessly copied as a sort of hallmark of wealth and good taste. From then on, the sash window style was endlessly modified and decorated by architects and house builders, but the key tenets of the design remain, two sliding panes of glass set in their own independent frames. The sash windows on a property and the features and decoration used to enhance them are often one of the best ways to date a house.

How does a Sash Window work?

Both sashes are on a vertical track with one sitting in front of the other counterbalanced by lead weights or, if you have new sash windows, springs. Generally, most sash windows are described as double hung which means that both sashes can move up and down this track. This gives a huge amount of variety in how much airflow can be let into the room.

Most Georgian sash windows are single hung so only one sash is able to move up and down as the other is fixed. Sash windows never open or swing outwards and because of this, they are still considered one of the most secure and intruder-proof of window designs.

In the Victorian era, the fashion in Queen Anne Revival houses was to have several lights in the upper sash but only one or two panes in the lower sash. Go back a few years’ earlier and Venetian sash windows which were common in terraced houses in the late 1800s, were divided into three and usually only the central window sashes were moveable with the outer sashes remaining fixed. The mullions were slimmer on Venetian sashes because the cords for the central sashes go through the top of the mullions over the pulleys and then into the side boxings with the weights that counterbalance the window located in the outer boxes.

With modern materials like Fineo glass which offers the benefits of triple glazing in a single lightweight pane, old sash windows have been transformed into thermally efficient units which still retain all their style, character and historic charm but are now much more consistent with the demands of 21st century living.

New sash windows are still being made, both to restore old properties and as the window of choice in new builds. In the 21st century, the sash window has never been as stylish and as thermally efficient as it is now.

We manufacture new wooden sash windows for period and contemporary properties using a blend of modern materials and traditional craftsmanship with the option to completely design your window right down to the choice of colour and window furniture. We also offer a restoration service for old windows which can be repaired on site or in our workshops depending upon the amount of work required. We aim to supply quality, historically authentic sash windows which are safe, secure and thermally efficient and we have numerous examples of our work in both historic and contemporary properties.

Contact us to find out more about bespoke design for new sash windows and our restoration services for both new timber sash and casement windows.