Sliding sash windows are extremely popular at the moment and have been for many years. However, these traditional style sash windows aren’t always geared up to keep draughts out and aren’t necessarily the most energy efficient style of window to have.
If you’re keen to keep your home warm and cosy during the winter months, and boost the energy efficiency of your house, here are some tips to help you draught proof your sliding sash windows.
What are sliding sash windows?
Sliding sash windows are a type of traditional window that have one or more panels that move, normally vertically. These panels are called sashes.
The window sashes are normally positioned with one in front of the other – a mechanism that gives them their name as a sliding sash window. The windows themselves typically sit in timber frames and grooves in the frame enable the windows to move up and down without damaging each other. Unlike modern window designs, sliding sash windows don’t have any hinges and don’t swing outward like other windows do. It’s a clever design and one that has been popular for a long time, particularly to add distinctive style to traditional or period properties.
Draught proofing sash windows
Many sash window fitters can provide draught fitting as part of your installation or as a separate service; depending on your choice. It is recommended that you do use this service as it is not economical to have windows that are not draught proofed – they will let a large amount of air in making your room extremely cold and reducing energy efficiency.
The draught proofing process involves creating an air tight seal around each frame and window to keep draughts at bay. It has been predicted that draught proofing sash windows can save you around £50 a year due to the decrease in heat you use.
This method can also work as a sliding sash window draught excluder so it is worth considering all your options.
Curtains and blinds for sliding sash windows
If you do not want to go down the draught proofing route for your sliding sash windows, you can simply install curtains and blinds. These can stop draughts coming through the window into your room and maintain a good temperature.
The best curtains and blinds for helping to prevent draughts from timber sash windows are those made from thick or thermal materials. Look for curtains that cover the whole windows – you can always tie them back in the summer months when it’s warmer.
Double glazed sash windows
Your third option is to install double glazed sliding sash windows. If you have an older property, you’re most likely to find that your sash windows are only single glazed. This is because it was not a legal regulation when your house was built to have double glazing – but it is now (on new builds at least).
There are several different types of sash window double glazing available on the market today. Standard fixed secondary double glazed sash windows consists of panels that slide over one another. There are two panes of glass and a sealed cavity, so they are excellent for improving draught-proofing.
It’s also possible to get a slim double glazing option. With this, the gap between the two panes is a lot smaller. Slim double glazed sash windows can look more streamlined, plus they help keep draughts out.
For the ultimate in draughtproofing, vacuum double glazing is the answer. In this case the cavity between the two panes of glass is in the form of a vacuum. The gap is super small and this choice of glazed sash window offers the best in terms of heat efficiency.
If you’re on a budget and need a quick and inexpensive solution, another option to consider is temporary double glazing. It involves using a plastic film, attached to the window using a magnet. This option can be fitted as a DIY job and as a result is the cheaper alternative. The downside though is that it is exactly that – temporary – and it may not provide the degree of draughtproofing you need on a long-term basis.
Benefits of double glazed sash windows
Opting to upgrade to double glazed sash windows can be a big decision, not least as it can involve a huge outlay and a lot of disruption. But there are many benefits for upgrading to double glazed sash windows, including:
- The chance to lower your heating bills
- A reduction in draughts
- Improved security
- A reduction in window condensation
- Better noise proofing
- Improved thermal efficiency.
Plus, if you currently have single glazed wooden sash windows that are looking worse for wear, new double glazed sash windows will help improve the interior and exterior look of your home.
Types of sash window frames
Traditionally, sash window frames were all made of wood or timber. Various woods were used to make sash window frames, but oak was a firm favourite. Oak is ideal for wooden sash windows as it’s strong and looks good when properly made. Plus, it can produce secure and hard-wearing sash window frames.
These days though modern sash window frames are available in a range of other materials. For example, uPVC sash window frames are a popular alternative to wood. They’re made from plastic and can help create the look of wood, whilst being easier to maintain. uPVC sash windows are available in a variety of colours, from fresh white to dark wood effect. Of all the types of sash window frames, uVPC tend to be the most affordable.
Another option is aluminium sash windows. Unlike uVPC window frames, aluminium sash window frames are recyclable, plus they’re durable and long-lasting. As such, they are typically more expensive than uVPC sash windows tend to be.
Timber framed sash windows are still available, but when they’re made from a good, solid hardwood, they do tend to come in as the most pricey option.
Sliding sash windows are traditionally found in older or period homes and help finish of the style and design of properties. Whilst you can try and keep your original sash windows where possible, if they’re single glazed, they’re more likely to be inefficient and let draughts in. If draughtproofing your home and making it more energy efficient are high on your agenda, implementing double glazing or other draughtproofing methods for sliding sash windows is recommended.15