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Sash Windows: What you need to know

Sash windows (or double hung sash windows, as they are called in the US) look beautiful and add a great deal of elegance to any home.

They not only look great, they are also very practical.

This is why, in recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of sash windows, as homeowners have come to see the superiority of sash windows over other types of windows.

If you are thinking about installing sash windows in your home, here are some facts about sash windows:

What is a sash window?

You may have heard of the term ‘sash window’ but not everyone knows what they are. Sash windows are a type of window composed of two window frames that slide open horizontally and independently of one another;

When were sash windows invented?

Sash windows are found in many older period properties and date back to the 17th century in England. Their invention is attributed to natural philosopher, architect and polymath Robert Hooke FRS;

Where are the oldest surviving examples of sash windows?

The oldest surviving examples of sash windows were installed in the 1670s, at Ham House, a Grade I listed building, situated beside the River Thames in Ham, London;

How do sash windows actually work?

While construction methods have varied over time, sash windows all tend to function in a similar way. Each window consists of two sashes (window frames) that are suspended by a rope or chain. The rope from each sash is passed through a pulley system and has a heavy sash counter weight on the end allowing each frame (sash) to be opened and closed independently of the other;

Which types of properties have sash windows?

Sash windows have been around for the last 300 years and are found in Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian period properties;

What are the ‘typical’ elements of sash windows?

The earliest sash windows were constructed using 6 – 12 individual panes of glass in a timber frame Glazing bars were placed horizontally and vertically to provide further support. However, as glass became cheaper fewer panes were used in each window.

Each window is composed of 2 window sashes. The lower sash opens at the bottom and the upper sash opens at the top. Each can be raised or lowered to the height required to allow effective ventilation. Sashes are supported by individual counter weights housed in side cavities. The weights are attached by a rope and pulley system that allows each window to open and close smoothly and easily.

Why have so many properties removed sash windows?

From the 1950 sash windows were seen by many as being ‘old fashioned’ and home owners replaced their sash with other modern steel framed windows. Yet, fashions change and more and more people are now recognising the aesthetic appeal and practicality of sash windows. This has meant that sash windows are now the first choice for many people looking for practical, reliable and visually attractive windows for their home.


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