The cost of having Victorian style sliding windows

Living in a Victorian style house, with lovely large single glazed elegant vertical sliding wooden sash windows is great until the time comes to pay the energy bills, or it is windy outside and drafty inside as a result!

The real cost to having vertical sliding sash windows is the enormous cost of maintaining them, as this type of windows often need far more time and money spent on them as opposed to casement windows. Part of the reason for this is the fact they are normally larger in surface area than casement windows, that they tend to be made from wood and that in order to operate they need to be kept in good working order.

UK home owners looking to replace old box sash windows with energy efficient double glazed ones are in for a bit of a shock when it comes to the cost, particularly if their property is a Listed Building or they live in a Conservation Area. If this is the case, the vast majority of Local Councils Building Control Officers and/or Conservation Officers will at best agree to letting home owners replace the windows with wooden double glazed ones, as sometimes like for like windows are all that is permitted.

Replacement wooden vertically sliding sash windows are not only enormously expensive, property owners then still have the ongoing problem of having to maintain and decorate them to protect them from the elements and keep them in decent working condition. Before buying a Victorian property, or a home that has vertically sliding timber sash windows, it is worth enquiring what the local planning department will and will not permit when it comes to replacement windows.

Even where modern virtually maintenance free thermally efficient double aluminium or UPVC sliding sash windows are permitted, even as the cheapest replacement option (if permitted) they tend to cost considerably more than their casement window counterparts, with an average sized large “A” energy rated UPVC box sash replacement window costing in excess of £1,000 to manufacture, supply and fit when one takes into account the cost of box sash removal of around £150, as taking out old box sash windows is a real skill and usually calls internally for replacement wooden architrave and liners.

One of the down sides of replacement UPVC vertically sliding sash windows is that they have a wider profile than the timber frames and sashes they are replacing. The answer if affordable is aluminium vertical sliding sash sash windows (assuming one is prepared to fork out for them), as they offer visually an almost identical traditional box sash replacement option.

A low cost alternative that maintains the look of the windows when closed, is “mock sash”, where both wooden, UPVC or aluminium sashes are top hung and open out from the bottom. The downside of this lower cost replacement window option is that when the windows are open it is obvious they are not vertically sliding windows like the original ones.

The bottom line is that any UK property owner is looking to replace vertically sliding sash windows, then the best thing they can do is start saving now, or do a few windows at a time, as replacing all the windows in a premises with vertically sliding sash windows in any material is a sobering financial experience!


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