Window Problems

What kinds of problems do you have with the windows in your period house? We will help you decide on the solution.

Sash Windows

The most common type of window in houses of 1830 to 1914 is the sash window.

The cords, pulleys and weights counter-balance both the inner and outer sash, while they slide up and down. One end of the cord is nailed to a groove in the side of the sash, while the other attaches to a weight in a hidden chamber in the frame, the sash or weight box.

The pulley wheels attach to pulley stiles - the upright sides of the frame which hide the weights. Part of each pulley stile consists of a removable section of timber known as a 'pocket', which fits flush with the stiles and provides an access hatch to the weights. These pockets are usually nailed or screwed into place.

You need to assess the state of the windows. Original windows are normally worth repairing. Once you have done that the options will be:

  1. at the most basic, just woodwork repair, new cords, and refurbishing the brassware ie strip paint, polish, varnish and replace
  2. add draught-proofing
  3. add secondary glazing – extra windows inside the sash
  4. replacing the sashes (sliding parts) with new sashes incorporating sealed units – this involves changing the weights inside the boxes.

Begin by assessing each window;

    if so...
draughts Is the window draughty? Does it rattle? Replace the beading with draught-proofed beading, or use a sash window repair company to fit them for you.
operation Does the window stick rather than move smoothly? Perform a basic renovation.
check the ropes Are the ropes clogged with paint? Are the ropes frayed? Perform a basic renovation.
look for rot Press the wood with a screwdriver; does it 'give'? If there is some rot, perform a basic renovation. If there is major damage, go for a full renovation.
structure Are the joints of the sashes loose? Is the sash twisted? Perform a full renovation.
glass Is the glass cracked or damaged?

If the glass is not stained or leaded, you can reglaze the window.

Stained or leaded glass can be refurbished.

gaps Are there gaps between the window frame and the walls? Use a lime/sand mix (1:3) rather than a modern filler.

Casement Windows

Casement windows are unusual in Victorian houses except for small windows in toilets and bathrooms. However, most windows in Arts and Crafts-style houses use them.

Typical problems include windows which are hard to close, cracked panes of glass and worn fittings.

Casement windows are easier to refurbish unless they have damaged iron frames.