transom sash windows

How to Replace Sash Window Springs

A sash window is the second most popular type of window after casement windows. They consist of a fixed panel, and a mobile ‘sash’ panel, which is capable of sliding up and down to allow the window to open and close. This is possible thanks to a complex arrangement of cords, weights and springs, that are concealed into the frame.

Since these mechanisms are concealed, they tend to boast a long lifespan. When they do fail however, it can be tricky to correct the problem and get the window functioning again – but not impossible.

Here we’ll walk you through how to remove and replace one of these components: the sliding sash window springs.

What Do Sash Window Springs Do?

Traditional sash windows operate via a system of weights and pulleys that keep the sash in position. Weights are carefully chosen to balance against the sash, so that when you open the window, you don’t have to actually bear all of the weight by yourself.

Of course, this vastly increased the weight of the window. While you can still get weight-and-pulley sash windows, modern alternatives use springs instead. This means that instead of the weight of the sash being counterbalanced by the weights in the frame, it’s counterbalanced by a set of springs, each attached to the pulley just as a weight might be.

A spring-based sash window will come with one spring on each side, with the pair balancing the weight of the sash between them. When one of the springs fails, your window will fall down on one side, and won’t stay open. Now, it might be that it’s the cord attached to the spring that’s snapped rather than the spring itself. The only way to find out is to open up the window and check.

How to Replace Sash Window Springs

You won’t need any specialised tools to do this job, though you will need:

  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • A new sash window spring
  • Someone to help you.

Let’s run through the process, step by step.

Step 1.

You need to remove any stops that might be preventing your sashes from rising too far within the frame. These are usually plastic, and removable with just a bit of force. You’ll find them on the inside, near the top of the window.

Step 2.

Next, you’re going to pull out the clips, which you’ll find a few inches above the sash. These clips are designed to keep the weights in place while the window is complete. You might need to prise these away with the head of your screwdriver. You don’t want to remove them completely; you just need enough room to lift the sashes.

Step 3.

You’re now going to remove the sash from the frame. If it’s a large sash, then make sure your volunteer has hold of the other end. You’re going to be lifting it up on one side, following which the other should slide out easily. Lay the sash on the floor, somewhere safe.

Step 4.

You’ll be able to see the spring balances now. Push on the top of them to release the clips, and keep hold of the springs to prevent them relaxing. Lift up the spring balance until there’s no more tension on it, and you’re able to easily unhook it from the bottom of the frame. Don’t release it under tension, or you’ll risk injuring yourself and damaging the window.

Step 5.

Having removed the balance, it’s time to measure up for a replacement. To do this, measure the width across the back of the balance, and the height of the channel (not including any attachments at the top or bottom of the channel). You’ll need to match those attachments up when you’re shopping for a replacement channel.

Step 6.

If you don’t already have a replacement spring balance, you’re going to need to purchase one. It’s fine to leave the window without a spring during this time; you just won’t be able to open it.

Step 7.

Once you have your replacement spring to hand, you’re going to be attaching it using the hook at the bottom. There should be a gap at the bottom of the frame that’ll accommodate it. To get the balance into the frame, you’ll need to push down until you can get the top of the balance underneath the screw. Once this is done, you’ll have a new spring inside the frame, and all that’s left will be to replace the sash itself.

Step 8.

Getting the sash back in might well be a two person job. You’re going to be lifting the sash right to the top of the frame and pushing the opposite side into positon. You then lower the entire sash until you can feel it moving against the spring balances. You’ll know if you’ve done it right, because the weight of the sash will immediately decrease.

Step 9.

Finally, we’ve got to re-insert the clips so they’re flush with the frame. Do this in exactly the same way as you took them out.

Step 10.

Before we finish, it’s worth checking that everything moves as it should. Be sure to lift and lower the sash entirely, several times. Once this is done, you can safely declare the window fixed.

Now, if all of this seems like a lot of work, we’d recommend you save yourself some time later down the line and replace both springs in one go.

Image credit 1, image credit 2

sash bay window

The Pros and Cons of Sash Windows

Sash windows are the second most popular variety of window in modern Britain, being beaten only by outward-opening casement windows. They enjoyed massive popularity in Victorian England, which means they’re a natural match for period properties.

But are sash windows any good today?

The answer is a qualified yes, but there are some pros and cons to consider.

Benefit of Sash Windows: They Look Good

There’s nothing quite like a sash window when it comes to appearances. They can add a traditional touch that’ll elevate certain properties, and pay for themselves by adding value to the building.

At the same time, the sash window is relatively versatile, considering its traditional style. Whether it’s a traditional country home or a contemporary apartment, a sash window is almost-guaranteed to please.

Benefit of Sash Windows: They’re Safe & Secure

Sash window security is another reason to prefer them. Given that just one panel can be opened at a time, they’re a lot more difficult to clamber through than casement windows. It’s also easy to incorporate extra safety features like locks and child safety devices.

Benefit of Sash Windows: They’re Low-Maintenance

Like their casement equivalents, aluminium and uPVC sash windows require barely any maintenance. The former are powder-coated at factory level, while the latter are naturally white and not designed to be interfered with at all. You won’t need to sand them, nor apply any coats of varnish (though you might need to occasionally replace the internal cord). There’s also no risk of warping or rot, making a metal or plastic sash window a great choice for windows in hard-to-reach locations.

Sash Window Cons: Poor Ventilation

Saying all this, there are still a few problems with sash windows worth bearing in mind. One of them is ventilation. Given that sash window panels are built to slide behind one another, like sliding doors, you’ll only be able to collapse the glass to the size of a single given panel. This can increase the chance of condensation building up on the inside of the windows.

How much the different benefits and drawbacks of sash windows will matter to you will depend on your priorities and tastes. Most of us will need to decide between casement and sash windows, and if the advantages we’ve listed here appeal to you, you might well choose the latter.

Victorian windows

A Guide to Victorian Windows

The Victorian era was one of enormous transformation for British industry and architecture. It was also during the Victorian era that window tax (a property tax based on the number of windows a house had) was abolished.

This result was homes being built with more windows. The industrial revolution also brought plate-glass manufacturing techniques which made large, heavy windows more affordable. Victorian windows were predominantly of the ‘sash’ variety. Victorian sash windows did not open out on hinges in the same way as casement windows, but instead incorporated two or more panels which moved behind one another on tracks.

If you’re the owner of a Victorian property, you’ll probably want windows that match the exterior of the building.

How Do You Clean Victorian Windows?

Ideally, windows should be cleaned twice a year – once in autumn, and once as part of your spring clean. Try to clean your windows when it’s cloudy, so the soapy water won’t dry out quickly and leave unsightly streaks on the glass.

What cleaner should I use?

Vinegar will leave your windows super shiny – and it’s safe and natural, too.  It’ll break down any caked-on grime in seconds, leaving a gleaming surface that’ll give the window a new lease of life.

That said, vinegar isn’t all that effective at killing germs, so we’d recommend at least occasionally using a specially-formulated window-cleaner, or old-fashioned soap and water. Scrunched-up newspaper or microfibre cloth should be used to work the cleaner into the glass.

Repairing Scratches on Victorian Windows

If you’ve been unlucky, some of the glass panels that make up your window might have received knocks and scrapes over the years. These can usually be addressed with a little cerium oxide (or jeweller’s rogue, as it’s better known). You’ll need to do a lot of rubbing to get this to work – either by hand, or with the help of a polishing pad attached to your household drill. You can also get special scratch-repair kits. They’re designed for car windows, but will work just as well on Victorian sash windows.

How Do You Insulate Victorian Windows?

Most homeowners choose double-glazing to increase the energy efficiency of their windows. By trapping a layer of inert gas between two glass panels, the transmission of heat from one side of the window to the other is greatly minimised.

Unfortunately, the difference in pressure between the interior and the exterior of a double-glazed window can produce a pronounced ‘bowing’ effect, which somewhat undermines the authenticity of a Victorian-era property. As such, it’s often frowned upon by conservation officers.

So what alternatives are available to owners of Victorian homes looking to reduce their energy expenditure?

Secondary glazing

Secondary glazing works in much the same way as double glazing, except that rather than having everything contained in a single pressurised unit, another window is placed behind the first one.

This will improve heat retention without compromising its appearance from the exterior of the home.

Unfortunately secondary glazing is vulnerable to sagging over time. An alternative is a sheet of plastic which can be unrolled and attached to the sides of the window in winter, when heat-preservation is more of a concern.

Draught-proofing

Victorian sash windows aren’t generally as effective at keeping draughts at bay as casement windows.

There are various ways to reduce draughts in Victorian-era windows, ranging from quick masking-tape solutions to major overhauls which require disassembling the entire window. Replacing old and worn brushes with new ones can have a considerable effect on the window’s heat-retention. This is worth considering if your windows are particularly old.

We should also remember that Victorian properties were built to ventilate, and that blocking draughts can cause moisture to build up inside the property, which can in turn, cause damp and mould.

How to Dress Victorian Windows

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a well-preserved Victorian property, then it’s important to keep all of your décor consistent – and this extends right up to the window dressing. In the Victorian era, most windows were equipped with wooden blinds and shutters, which provided protection against sunlight on warm days, and security when the homeowner was away.

bay window

Many Victorian homes also have high ceilings, which will allow you to stack roman blinds over the top of your window, and operate them with a cord.

Finally, you might want to hang heavy curtains in front of your windows. This will prevent the cold air near to the glass from mingling with the warm air in the room. If you’re going down this route, then you might want to install two sets of curtains: a lightweight ‘voile’ set that’ll ensure privacy while permitting sunlight, and a heavier blackout set of curtains to go over the top.

If you’re going to achieve a consistent and authentic look for your Victorian-era home, then taking your windows seriously is a must – but that needn’t mean compromising too much on modern conveniences like energy efficiency. Through regular maintenance, cleaning, and the right dressing, you can ensure that your Victorian-style sash windows last the distance – and that they look fantastic, too.

Need new windows? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

bow window

How to Replace a Sash Window Cord

A traditional pair of sash windows make a great match for older properties – and some newer ones, too.  They incorporate one or more movable panels (or ‘sashes’) which can be slid up and down to open and close the window.  These panels are counter-balanced by weights, which hang on cords concealed by the window frame.  What happens when one of these cords snaps?  The sash gets stuck.

Replacing these cords can be a little fiddly, and so once you’ve got the window open, you’ll want to swap them all at the same time.  And, while you’re at it, you might as well install insulation brush strips around the sashes.  Brushes will keep those pesky draughts at bay and safeguard the overall performance of your window.

Let’s consider how the job might be done.

1.      Assemble your tools

Before getting started, you’ll want to be sure you’ve a few items to hand.  These include:

  • A filling knife
  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • A volunteer
  • Some nails
  • A hammer
  • New cords. Waxed cotton is best: it’ll move smoothly and will last for ages.

2.      Remove the sashes

From the inside of the building, prise the beading from the frame using either a knife or flat-head screwdriver.  You’ll then be able to lift out the inner sash and see into the compartments that house the weights.

The covers will flip open with a little encouragement from your screwdriver – but if they’ve been painted over, you’ll need to cut them out.  Between the two sashes is another layer of beading.  Remove it in the same way and free the sash.

3.      Remove the old cord

Having disassembled the window, you’ll be able to remove the old cords.  Before attempting this, cut the weights off the end using scissors.  Having freed the cord, you’ll be able to easily pull it out.

4.      Install the replacement cord into the outer sash

Get your volunteer to hold one end of the new cord, and then feed it over the pulley beside the outer sash channel.  Once you’ve pushed it around, you’ll see it dangle on the other side.  Pull it down and tie it securely to the weight.  Now repeat the procedure on the other side.

For the cord to be the right length, the outer sash should be a few inches above the windowsill when the top of the weight hits the pulley.  Get your volunteer to hold it in position and then pull the cord until you hear the weight impact the pulley. Then, secure the cord into the cord grove using a nail.  Trim away any excess and then replace the central beading.

5.      Install the replacement cord into the inner sash

Next, you’ll want to install your replacement cord into the inner sash.  Attach the new cord with nails in the same way.  This time, the cord is the right length if the weight is at the top of the channel when the sash is all the way down.

6.      Put everything back together

Your final task is to reassemble the window.  Replace the weight covers first, tapping them into place with your hammer.  Then, replace the sashes and the beading.  If any have been damaged during removal, they’re inexpensive and widely available.  Check everything’s working properly, and apply a coat of paint if you feel it necessary.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

Want to learn more about sash windows? Check out our other posts:

How to Paint a Sash Window (without it sticking)

Sash Windows: uPVC or Timber?

How to Fix a Sash Window that Won’t Stay Open

Windows with external shutters

How to Paint a Sash Window (without it sticking)

While sash windows offer a particular look and feel (to the point that they’re an almost indispensable feature of period properties), traditional wooden sash windows can be somewhat tricky to maintain.  One particular problem arises when you come to paint them – do it wrong, and you’ll end up painting over the edges of the window and sealing it shut. Learn how to do it properly in our simple guide to painting sash windows.

What if my sash window is stuck?

If your sash window is stuck with paint, don’t panic – there’s an easy fix.  All you need is a blade that’s thin enough to slice through the paint without interfering with the surrounding wood.  A Stanley knife is an obvious candidate.

Run the knife slowly along the edge of the frame.  If the paint proves too resilient, then your next step should be to use a steel scraper, and failing that, a hammer and chisel.  You might find that any resistance offered by the window will vanish quickly, so don’t be tempted to risk damaging the window with too much force.

How to paint a sash window

Of course, it’s better to avoid the problem in the first place than have to fix it.  By taking a little bit more care the next time you paint your window, you’ll be able to avoid having to break out the Stanley knife.  Let’s run through how to paint sash windows so they don’t stick.

1.      Remove the ironmongery

First, you’ll want to get rid of the ironmongery on your window.  You’ll also want to clean up the existing layers of paint. If you don’t they’ll build up each time you paint the window, and eventually, the window will get stuck with paint.

To do this, simply sand down the wood and thoroughly clean up any dust you leave behind (since you really don’t want to paint over the top of it).

2.      Paint the mullions

You’ll need to reverse the sashes in order to access every part of the window.  The sash you’ve pushed to the top should be painted first, from the mullions (the elements that divide the window – as seen in the photo) outwards.

sash window with mullions

Paint one side and then the other, building up coats for a smooth finish.  Repeat the procedure on the lower sash.

3.      Paint the frames

Next, return to the topmost sash and paint the frame, along with the rebate into which the topmost sash will slot.  Push the sash upwards but not so far that the painted surfaces meet (this is where sticks can develop).  You’re almost done!

4.      Paint the remainder of the window

Lastly, you can paint the casing and cill. You can then use a window-scraper to clean up any splatters you might have left on the windows.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

Timber windows

Sash Windows: uPVC or Timber?

Sash windows are a fantastic way of injecting a little Victorian-era charm into your period property, but they’re an attractive solution for more contemporary-style exteriors, too.  If you’re shopping for a sash window, then you’ll generally be faced with two materials to choose from:  uPVC and Timber.

uPVC (or un-plasticised poly-vinyl chloride) is a form of plastic that’s hugely popular in doors and windows.  It’s resilient and can be reshaped at high temperatures, which makes it an economical choice.  Timber, on the other hand, is a naturally-occurring product which (provided that it’s harvested responsibly) is infinitely sustainable (and it looks great to boost).

Let’s run through the advantages of both materials so you can figure out which one will be most suitable for your home.

What are the advantages of uPVC sash windows?

upvc sash window

uPVC windows are cheap

Sash window cost is undoubtedly a factor that’ll influence your purchasing decision.  uPVC has significantly reduced the cost of sash windows, compared to their timber equivalents.

When it comes to running costs, the material used matter less. In fact, uPVC and timber tend to be roughly equivalent when it comes to thermal efficiency.  With that said, the lower up-front cost of uPVC sash windows is sure to make them an attractive proposition.

uPVC windows are tough

Another key strength of uPVC is that it’ll withstand pretty much anything nature can throw at it.  You won’t need to worry about water damage causing the material to disintegrate over time, and minor knocks and scratches are very unlikely to cause lasting damage.

uPVC windows don’t warp

Timber is formed of fibres that will change shape in correspondence to moisture and heat. uPVC however is much more resistant to these fluctuations.

uPVC windows are low-maintenance

Timber windows need to be treated occasionally if they’re to stay in tip-top condition.  This might involve sanding, cleaning, and finishing – all of which might be tricky if the window is on the third floor!  By contrast, uPVC demands little attention; give it an occasional wipe with a damp cloth and it’ll look and function just as well.

What are the advantages of timber sash windows?

timber sash window

Timber windows look great

Many people believe timber windows are more attractive than their plastic counterparts.  This is especially so if you’re installing them into a period property, where plastic windows might look out of place.  Considerations like this are subjective – but most of us will probably agree that a properly finished wooden window frame looks better than a bright-white plastic one. Of course, uPVC windows are available in colours apart from white, but they are priced at a premium.

Timber windows last for a long time

Provided that it’s properly looked after, the lifespan of a wooden window frame more than justifies the initial cost.  The average wooden window will last for around six decades, compared to around three for uPVC windows.  Check the length of the warrantee on offer for extra reassurance – we provide a forty-year guarantee against rot and fungal problems on our softwood compounds.

Timber windows are eco-friendly

It might seem obvious that timber should be greener than uPVC.  After all, plastics are created using oils that have come out of the ground – oils that can’t be replaced once they’ve been extracted.  Timber, by contrast, comes from trees that can be replanted over and over again.  Of course, this is meaningless if the timber in question isn’t obtained responsibly.  That’s why we ensure our timber windows are FSC certified, and provide a Chain of Custody on request.  That way you can see exactly how the materials came to arrive in your windows!

Timber windows are easy to customise

One significant edge that timber windows have over uPVC is that they can be modified.  uPVC doors and windows are destined to remain in the same shape for the duration of their lives – they can be melted down and reshaped into a new window, but they can’t be modified once they’re in place.  This means that if you’re looking to drill into your window to install a new lock, or you’d like a different set of handles or hinges, you’ll need to opt for timber windows.

That said, bolting on new hardware isn’t the only way you might want to customise your windows.  You might wish to buy your window unfinished, and then apply your own coat of paint.  Timber is the only material that’ll allow for this.  uPVC windows, by contrast, aren’t made to be painted, which means you’re stuck with whatever colour you initially choose.

So what should you choose – timber or uPVC sash windows?

When deciding whether to opt for a timber or a uPVC sash window, you’ll need to assess what’s important to you, and what the best match will be for your home.  If you’re upgrading the windows on a period property, timber tends to be the better choice.  You might even find that planning permission restrictions forbid you from opting for anything else.

On the other hand, if you’re buying for a more contemporary property – and perhaps replacing a set of existing white uPVC windows, then uPVC might hold greater appeal.  It’s also worth considering how much time you’re likely to invest in caring for your windows – particularly if they’re being installed somewhere difficult to reach.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

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houses with sash windows

What Is a Sash Window?

Windows come in a variety of styles, but two stand out as particularly popular.  One comes with hinges attached to the sides or top, allowing the user to open the window outward.  Another consists of one or more moveable panels, which can be slid over the top of one another to create a gap.  This latter sort is known as a sash window, and it’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.

How did sash windows first come to be?

It’s difficult to determine how the Sash window was invented, and by whom.  Some theories credit English designers; others credit Dutch ones.  The windows were first introduced into England in the late 17th century.  Their popularity would steadily build over the following two-hundred years, and by the Georgian period they were the window of choice for most homeowners.  By the time Victoria assumed the throne, they were the only sensible choice.

The hinged design of a casement window, which had previously dominated, was no match for the elegant economy of a sliding sash window, and so the latter would displace the former for several hundred years, until the development of modern materials and manufacturing methods would secure the comeback of the hinged design in the 20th century.  For this reason, period properties from the Georgian and Victorian era are often equipped with sash windows.

How does a sash window work?

townhouse with sash windowsIn a sash window, you’ll find two (and sometimes more) glass panels.  Slide one over the other, and an opening in the window will be created.  This sliding is usually vertical, but some sash windows open horizontally.

To facilitate opening and closing, sash windows are counterbalanced, usually with a weight that’s concealed inside the frame.  Through a system of hidden pulleys, the operation of the window can be made much easier.  Being entirely contained within the frame and shielded from the world around them, these pulleys rarely break – but when they do, fixing them usually requires disassembling or breaking apart the window frame.

A traditional sash window is comprised of several small panes (known as ‘lights’ or ‘muntins’).  These are joined by glazing bars to create the illusion of a single, larger window.  This design came about through necessity; in the early 19th century, the technology to create larger panels did not yet exist, and so sash windows offered homeowners a way to enjoy the advantages of a larger window without needing to contend with the drawbacks.  This design became so iconic that its use persisted even after the technology to create larger panels had become widespread.  Sash windows are traditionally comprised of two sets of six small panels, though other configurations are also possible.

What’s the difference between single and double-hung sash windows?

If you’ve been shopping for sash windows, then you might have run into the terms ‘double-hung’ and ‘single-hung’.  From a distance, the two sorts of sash window are indistinguishable from one another.  The difference lies in the fact that in a single-hung window, just one of the windows is movable; the other is permanently fixed into position.  By contrast, a double-hung sash window features two mobile panels.

What’s good about a single-hung sash window?

Single-hung windows offer a few advantages over their double-hung counterparts.

To begin with, single-hung windows are cheaper.  With fewer moving parts to engineer and build, they can be designed and installed for a little bit less.  If you’re installing many windows, or just a few in positions where the advantages of a double-hung window aren’t significant, then these savings might be enough to tip the balance.

Many glaziers will tell you that single-hung windows are more energy-efficient.  This is because the topmost sash is fixed into the window, meaning it’s not susceptible to leaks in the same way as a mobile sash.  If the sash is fixed into place, you’ll be able to seal around the edges with caulk.

Finally, if you’re installing windows into an older property, then you may wish to install windows that are in keeping with the period.  Double-hung sash windows are a more recent innovation, and so may not match with Georgian surroundings.  With that said, it’ll be difficult to distinguish between the two from street level – and thus planning permission shouldn’t provide an obstacle.

What’s good about a double-hung sash window?

Most windows you’ll encounter these days will be double-hung, as they offer several key benefits.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a double-hung windows is that they’re easier to clean.  You won’t have to break out a ladder to reach the top panel; you can simply slide it down and give it a swift wipe.  If you’re cleaning a dozen or more especially tall windows, then this advantage will turn an hour-long chore into one that takes a matter of minutes.  If your double-hung windows are able to tilt in or out, then they can be cleaned from inside the house.  You won’t need to reach outside to do the cleaning, or employ a professional cleaner.

Another advantage of double-hung windows is their flexibility – you’ll be able to choose whether to open the top or the bottom of the window.  If there’s a bothersome draught entering through the bottom, then you can open the top for a more gradual cooling effect.  You might even open both partway and have two small openings at either end of the window.

So, should you choose sash windows?

Sash windows are an iconic innovation that can transform the way a property looks from the outside.  The design is just as effective as it was in the 1700s, and with the help of modern materials, it can fulfil its potential as never before!

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

Image credit 1, image credit 2

transom sash windows

How to Fix a Sash Window that Won’t Stay Open

Though they’re especially suited to Georgian and Victorian properties, a sash window makes a stylish and iconic addition to just about any home – but what happens when they won’t stay open?  Let’s take a look at this problem, and how it might be fixed.

Why won’t your sash window stay open?

Sash windows are designed to counteract gravity, keeping the bottom window raised once it’s been opened via a series of pulleys and weights hidden into the jambs on either side of the frame.  These weights are selected to match the weight of the sash – ensuring that moving the sash is easy – however weak or strong you might be.  They’ll also ensure that when you let go, the sash won’t immediately fall back to the bottom of the frame.

You’ll find one balancing weight on each side of the window. Together, they’ll keep the window sliding along the same plane of motion.  If one or both of them should fail, however, you’ll have a problem – the window will be heavier than the weight, and thus it won’t stay open.

Are the balances connected to the sash?

The balances connect to the sash via small devices known as balance shoes.  This is what the weight of the window rests on, and what transfers that weight to the balances.  If one of these shoes has become disengaged from the frame, then this will lead to problems.  Remove the sash in question and inspect the bottom of the tracks on either side.  If a shoe has fallen to the bottom, then this is probably the source of the problem.  Lift it using a screwdriver (or a set of car keys) and twist the interior of the shoe so that it locks into position.  Line it up with the shoe on the other side, and re-insert the sash.

Are any components broken?

Of course, it might be that something has broken rather than simply fallen out of alignment.  In this case, you’ll need to identify the faulty component and replace it.  There are three likely candidates:

The pivot bar is the small metal bar that attaches the bottom of the sash to the balance shoe.  If it’s become deformed, then it might not be able to engage with the shoe, in which case a replacement is necessary.  Of course, the shoes themselves might also have warped or cracked.

Another possible scenario is that the weights themselves are defective.  Balance weights come in several different forms – with some being spring-loaded.  Be careful when removing yours, as they might be under tension, and liable to spring back.

Whatever the damaged component might be, if you can’t find a suitable replacement, you’ll need to replace the entire window.  Unfortunately, owners of older windows might find themselves in this situation – but many manufacturers use very similar parts, and so it might be worth investigating further before calling off the search!

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

condensation on window

Casement vs. Sash Windows

The right window makes an enormous difference to both the look of a property and the way that it functions.  If you’re shopping for a window, then you’ll be face with two main categories to choose from.  These are casement windows and sash windows.  Each has their relative strengths, which you’ll want to consider before making a commitment to one or the other (especially since, for the sake of consistency, it’s generally advisable to use the same sort of window throughout your home).

While personal taste will obviously impact your decision, it’s also important to consider the functional differences between the two sorts of window.  This article will explain those differences, to help you come to a decision that’ll suit your home.

What is the difference?

Before we get started with comparisons, let’s first establish what it is that we’re talking about.  Exactly what is the difference between a sash window and a casement window?

Casement windows

casement window

Casement windows are the most common type of window in Europe.  They come equipped with hinges which allow them to swing open.  Generally, they come in pairs which open away from one another, like a set of double-doors.

Casement windows also feature a crank which doubles as a window lock.  This might look just the same as a handle – but it’ll also ensure that the window is locked in place while it’s open.  This will prevent the wind from moving the window around and causing problems.

Sash windows

house with sash window

Sash windows came into prominence in the Georgian era (though they were first introduced much earlier), and they remained popular well into Victorian times.  Sash windows consist of one or more panels, or sashes, which slide atop one another to create openings.  Most commonly, these panels move vertically – but you can get horizontally-opening sash windows, too.  Vertically-opening sash windows are assisted by balancing weights, pulleys and springs, which are hidden within the window frame and assist with opening the window. They also allow the sash to stay in position once the window is opened.

There are two varieties of sash window to choose from – those which feature two mobile sashes, or ‘double-hung’ windows; and those which feature just one mobile sash and a fixed one, usually at the top of the window.  The former style is more common nowadays, and allow for greater flexibility for a marginally-increased cost.

Which one is best for my home?

In order to choose between them, you’ll need to assess the merits of each.  Let’s run through a few of the most important ones.

What are the advantages of a casement window?

  1. Casement windows tend to be very energy efficient, as they come with a tight seal around the edges which will compress when the window is closed. When it comes to draught-excluding prowess, then, they’re second only to fixed windows (those which don’t open at all).  Are casement windows more energy efficient than sash windows, though?  The answer varies according to the design; the truth is that modern sash windows provide strong competition, as they come equipped with substantial seals of their own.
  2. Casement windows offer a contemporary look, and form a great match with more modern homes. They’re available in a range of materials, and thus choosing one is simply a matter of choosing the right material and style.
  3. Since the lock is embedded into the frame of a casement window, they’re also a great deal more difficult to break into. A would-be intruder will need to break into the casing itself – and simply prying it open using brute force won’t be an option.
  4. You’ll also find that taller casement windows are easy to open and close, as you won’t need to reach upward to fully extend them as you might a sash window. If you’re a little on the short side, this might tip the balance in favour of a casement window.
  5. Finally, one of the biggest advantages of a casement window is that it’ll provide larger glass panels. This will provide an unobstructed view outside, whilst letting the maximum amount of light into your home.

What are the advantages of a sash window?

  1. Sash windows are easier to open if there is an obstruction in front of the window. If you’re shopping for your kitchen, for example, and have to reach all the way over the sink in order to fully open the window, then sash windows might provide a better alternative.
  2. Sash windows are simpler in design than casement windows. With fewer moving parts to malfunction, their failure rate tends to be a little lower.  Moreover, when problems do occur, they’re usually simple to fix – a common one being a ‘dropped window’ where the sashes aren’t being held up correctly by the balancing weights built into the jambs.
  3. Sash windows offer a traditional style that’s a fantastic match for period properties. If you’re the owner of a Georgian or Victorian home, then you’ll probably find that no other style of window looks quite as good as a sash window.
  4. Sash windows also don’t require any space outside the window to open. If your home is built right up against another wall, then sash windows might well be your only option.  The same is true if there’s a tree growing nearby – since sash windows don’t open outward, there’s little chance that you’ll inadvertently open it into an obstacle.

So what should you choose – a sash window or a casement window?

As we’ve seen, both technologies offer distinct plus points.  Your choice will therefore depend on your circumstances and personal preference – and there are no real right answers!  Whichever style you choose, you’ll want to be sure you’re sourcing your windows from a reputable supplier.  Suffice to say, we here at Windows and More have the items you need, along with the expertise required to get the best from them.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.