A recent survey indicated that, on average, only 5% of timber in windows that were being replaced was affected by decay. Yet a 1991 Gallup Poll revealed that 46% of home owners replaced wood windows because of ‘rotten timber’, and only 20% to reduce draughts and heating bills.

There are no inherent defects in the original design of the sash window, an extremely sophisticated piece of technology that has lasted, with minor modifications, for 350 years. It is also quite feasible to apply modern repair and maintenance techniques to our stock of existing sash windows. Therefore whenever possible original sash windows should be repaired rather than replaced. Permanent repair of a window may be less expensive than wholesale replacement, and no facsimile can be no other than new work. It is also possible to bring original windows up to modern enviromental standards without harming any features of historical value.

It is important to remember that where necessary:

  • permanent repairs can be made using appropriate materials and timber preservatives
  • the use of modern paints and methods can lengthen the time between redecorations
  • draughtproofing, secondary glazing, and even traditional shutters and heavy curtains improve energy efficiency and reduce noise transmission
  • it is possible to hinge a bottom sash to allow easy and safe cleaning
  • modern locking devices are available to deter intruders and to restrict opening

If sash windows need repair, it may well be sensible to upgrade them at the same time.