Sash windows are an extremely important part of London architecture

One of the most important things in London architecture is the sash windows. You can’t have a beautiful period property in London without extremely tall and elegant sash windows. Sash windows were manufactured over 100 years ago and have all of the craftsmanship that you would expect from fine joinery. And in this article we’re going to go through all of the best things about sash windows and why are they related to the most important part of architecture in London.

What’s all the fuss about sash windows and architecture?

One of the most amazing things about sash windows in London is the fact that these were often made on site. They were manufactured by design in tough conditions. It was actually working in the dark and would have had to have literally hand make these windows on site directly. There wasn’t any electric; properties period craftsmen would have done this with a series of hand/mechanical tools. More commonly sash windows would have been made with a mortise and tenon by hand in this era, they certainly would of not had a morticer. The style would have been run out on a mechanical machine for them and they would have made the windows and sashes directly from this style. This is a join with a mortise and tenon and then wedge and glued together. From here the glass is then added and it’s typically 3 mm thick. Sash weights were provided for the windows themselves; you can actually calculate the weight of a sash before you manufactured it based on its size. This relies on years of experience and know how as well as a complete understanding of the materials used.

Georgian sash windows.

Georgian sash windows over London are an architectural piece of brilliant. Glazing bars actually solve many problems with sash windows. Glass, which is extremely expensive in large sheets and structurally improving a sash with extra mortise and tenons through the glazing bars are genuins. Not to mention the fact that they look really stunning. Glazing bars cut an issue of expensive large sheets of glass. It also made a sash so far better in terms of the safety and security too. Georgian sash windows were also known to be extremely elegant and built by truly skilled tradesmen.

Floor to ceiling sash windows; an architectural marvel.

Have you ever visited central London? Well if you have, then you’ll know that some of the windows look absolutely stunning and they’re extremely tall(and wide). This is because they are floor to ceiling sash windows to allow maximum light into a property. This design in itself allowed properties to get warm quickly in the summer and also allow a greenhouse effect in the winter too. This helps to reduce heating bills as well as well as looking stunning and giving excellent views outwards from an architectural perspective.

The other benefits of these beautiful windows in the fact you can open them up high so if you’ve got a balcony or somewhere to stand outside then it’s extremely easy access as well it was a solution that meant you could still have a sash window that looks elegant but operate effectively in the same way as a door.

Sash windows can easily be repaired too.

One of the amazing things about sash windows is they are entirely repairable. You can literally have a window that’s falling to pieces and you’ll have sash window specialist that will be more than capable of rebuilding and bringing these original windows back to life. This is extremely important for listed buildings where it’s an absolute requirement to have these windows repaired. It means that hundreds of years of architectural history can be salvaged in just days. These windows can be transformed in a short matter of time and look as if they’ve never actually been damaged or rotted in their life at all. Take a look at these amazing sash window repairs by London Sash Window Repairs Ltd who were kind enough to allow me to use their image:

Some of the most common repairs are sill replacement. Other repairs include splices to styles and the frames. This isn’t just limited to just the frames. Sash window specialists will also replace the sash cords as well as replacing any pulleys if they are defective. Occasionally sash window pulleys can fail but that’s fine, you just simply take out the old one and insert a new one. They were designed to be easily replaced and just held with just a couple of screws.

Nowadays it’s quite common that all of the repairs are made with hardwood. Although the original windows were softwood, hardwood these days is a comparable match in terms of quality to the timber available to the craftsman of 150 years ago.

Modern sash window upgrades for London Properties.

These days it’s quite common to walk down the road in London and you’ll see a variety of windows. These sash windows will be range from unsightly UPVC sash mock windows to someone with class that will have installed high quality hardwood sash windows. These high quality hardwood sash windows will also be double or triple glazed and have a comprehensive draught proofing system installed into and then the double glazing is normally Pilkington low-e glass, with an argon filled unit. The draught proofing system itself can be basically a series of nylon brushes, normally hidden into the window itself. That means they weren’t actually know that you got a draught proofing system there but it’ll just be working for you.

This is extremely beneficial for London property owners because maintaining the look of her unusual sash windows really difficult and having the modern technology upgrades they’re keeping them look relatively similar is extremely heartwarming. It means that we can have the best of both worlds, with the modern architecture incorporated into an original style. The result is a window that looks beautiful but still functions as if it were in this century.

The most common thing these days is to have triple glazed installed into your original sash windows if still possible. So many customers now seeing double glazing is the benchmark, and then aiming for triple glazing especially when they live over flight paths which is becoming more and more common in London as you are probably well aware.

Why have the sash windows lasted so well?

Sash windows have lasted so beautifully, mainly because the Architecture and design of them is absolutely amazing. It’s also extremely helpful that these windows were originally decorated with lead paint. Lead paint is practically bulletproof. You simply won’t get the sunlight breaking it down, and even if the sun does begin to break it down by the time the decoration schedules ready, you’ve just no way that any water could penetrate beforehand. If you can think, the lead paint might last 30 or 40 years, and you’re painting schedule would be no more than 10, it’s quite easy to see then why these sash windows lasted the first 30 or 40 years of their life without any damaged or whatsoever. These days the quality of paints to not match the old but of course it’s considerably safer and we can’t live in a world where we’re all exposed to lead poisoning after all.

That said if you’ve got lead paint you need to don’t remove it because it’s an incredibly good protective layer on your sash windows, instead seal it in with another coat of paint and then you won’t have any issues of the lead causing you any harm at all whatsoever. That said, don’t take my advice at all, instead check out what the government has to say on lead paint safety. The benefit of course of the lead would be that it’s in place already and doing his job for you. As long as you make sure the lead is incredibly well sealed in with a couple of layers of paint, there’s no way that you could sand back to the lead paint and it would not pose a problem for you in the future.

Overall London architecture relies on sash windows and they’re elegant. It’s a trade that mustn’t be forgotten and fortunately there’s loads of sash window companies out there now trying to revive these beautiful windows and preserve this architecture.

Carole Melendez

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