Heartfelt plea not to remove sash windows

(168 Posts)
Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 10:43:49

I thought this might just persuade a few people but it seems such a desperate thing, now, with nearly everyone being told by their surveyor or just persuaded by popular trends to replace beautiful old wooden windows with UPVC.

I've been looking at Rightmove and elsewhere SOLIDLY for about 9 months now, and we are only just exchanging contracts this week on a place so I kind of know the scarcity of houses with original windows.

There are SO few. sad

People are often not aware of the quality of craftsmanship that went into them - or the high quality of wood that you just cannot get these days, even if you use a high end replacement sash company to make brand new ones to match - and assume that they will not last, will be high maintenance, and that the UPVC ones will be superior.

It's really sad but the thing is, UPVC windows have built in obsolescence - they will eventually get black mould or staining on them, which can't be cleaned off, and will generally last around 50 years as opposed to a hundred or two hundred years with properly maintained wooden ones. All it takes is a coat of paint every year or three, and they really do look so much nicer on an old property than plastic ones.

I am biased as I have a background in antique restoration - if someone tried to sell me a Victorian doll and it had had plastic eyes put in instead of hand blown glass ones, I would reject it out of hand.

Houses not so much as there is so little choice these days, and you're goingto find it hard to find something totally original but it just amazes me that people don't realise it lowers the value of the house quite often.

In places where the windows have well and truly fallen apart then fine, of course you need to replace them, and wooden ones cost an absolute bomb so all sympathies with going with what's affordable.

But I think people are being conned frankly into paying for something that supposedly 'improves' your home when in fact it's chipping away steadily at our architectural heritage, to the point where in a few years there just won't be any proper old windows left, and houses that have them, well maintained, will cost a premium.

No offence intended to anyone, anywhere, except for UPVC salesmen and anyone else who profits from this baloney smile

Cereal0ffender Sat 09-Aug-14 10:45:57

I have sash windows and yes they are beautiful but they are also freezing. I won't be replacing mine but I totally understand why folk do it.

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 10:49:41

Couldn't agree more. My dp makes box sash windows by hand. With fully buliding reg compliant double glazing. So all the benefits of double glazing. Yet people still prefer upvc. Even in conservation areas so they have copies that cost twice what my dp charges. For something that looks yellow and brittle after a few years. No thanks

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 10:50:30

Cereal - you can have them double glazed and insulated.

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 10:51:21

Oooh rooners didn't realise it was you <waves>

TheFantasticFixit Sat 09-Aug-14 10:55:46

I so agree! We live in a lovely cottage, that dates back to 1850, and has lovely beams and other cottagey features, as you'd expect. But the previous owners took out the original windows and replaced with bog standard white UPVC that look hideous and not in keeping with the house at all. It's such a shame. Windows are so expensive, i get that, but there should be some sort of cap on this plague of UPVC in older properties. I hate it!

magicstar1 Sat 09-Aug-14 10:58:38

Our house has sash windows and is one of only two in our whole area. We have a real wooden door too, but almost everyone else has one of those horrible UPVC ones. Such a shame.

CerealMom Sat 09-Aug-14 10:59:38

Ooo LEM, whereabouts is your DP based? <eyes up cr@ppy windows>. Nowhere near Frome are you?

Agree about the plastic windows. NDN has installed the ugliest plastic windows in the west. So much for pretty part thatched cottage in a conservation area! Why??? Neighbour across from us has installed plastic fake sash ones, which in comparison look ok.

Cereal0ffender Sat 09-Aug-14 11:00:42

We can't afford to get them double glazed, most people cant

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 11:04:10

OMG does he really Lem? I might have spoken to him the other week! I was ringing round when we were about to offer on somewhere different. We ended up coming back to this one though! Luckily it still has nearly all original windows etc. though some of the little fireplaces have gone long ago. None of the windows work very well I am told grin but I do not care.

I thoroughly approve of your DP!

yy they can be secondary glazed quite nicely nowadays or repaired and if you use thick curtains they actually keep the heat well. Our ones here are about 9ft tall and painted shut and are very warm considering.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 11:04:56

But it's cheaper than getting UPVC ones surely Cereal? sympathies though. Hve you checked the fit, draught brushes can really help too.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 11:07:07

Magicstar, we looked at a really beautiful house a few miles away that had been scrupulously maintained by the owner, who made a big point of telling me how she had hand stripped the fireplaces and kept the original stained glass front door - all good.

Then she said it broke her heart to replace the windows - I sympathised, and she said 'well you see they were sash windows' as though that made it imperative they should be replaced.

I couldn't buy it, it just was so upsetting!

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 11:09:08

Donr even need to be secondary glazed. Can incorporate double glazing into old sashes grin

minsmum Sat 09-Aug-14 11:09:32

We have the original sash windows in our house bit the builder has just said that the bottom ones will probably only last another few years. I will want to replace with wooden sash windows but don't know where to go to get them. In the meantime I get constant door knocking from double glazing companies who look really bemused when I say that I don't want upvc windows in my Victorian house

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 11:10:21

Where did you end up going in the end?

anotherdayanothersquabble Sat 09-Aug-14 11:11:54

We have a house we rent out, the tenant would eventually like to buy it, she is constantly suggesting we replace the windows (sash) and front door (wooden stained glass) which firstly would not give a return on our investment but secondly, while it is still owned by me, I will maintain its character!

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 11:13:26

Minsmum there are companies that will replace with either upvc box sashes or wooden ones. My dp has fitted upvc box sashes from a company called kat uk. They don't fit but you can get a local fitter. Kat do wooden windows too. Or get a local carpenter to make them for you.

minsmum Sat 09-Aug-14 11:19:23

Thanks LEMmings I will keep a note of that name. We are currently having the outside pointed and painted so that's costing a fortune as you can imagine. I will start saving as soon as they finish, my builder can fit windows so that's not a problem.

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 11:23:36

No worries. If your builder isn't fensa registered you will have to have it inspected by a building Inspector. That is easy enough to organise and doesnt cost much. This is how dp works as we don't do enough windows to warrant spending out on fensa membership.

mausmaus Sat 09-Aug-14 11:28:38

sorry, we are getting rid of the dangerous, drafty, unpractical and uneconomic single glazed wooden sash windows.
tbh they are at the end of their life anyway (beyond restoring) so have to be replaced.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sat 09-Aug-14 11:31:41

Hmm, I had sash windows & replaced with UPVC. Sash windows hadn't been well maintained before I bought, and were at the hundred year mark by then too. Finances meant I had to go for cheapest option - I would have loved to replace with wooden framed windows of some description, even if not actually sash windows but I simply couldn't afford the prices of the wooden framed options. The old window had either jammed shut or in one case, the upper window had slipped down, permanently, meaning rain/snow/hail getting in the room - I had to not use my front room for nearly 2 years until I could afford to replace.

I understand your position but replacing sash with UPVC isn't solely down to aesthetics unfortunately, and is more often down to finances (or lack thereof).

Littlefish Sat 09-Aug-14 11:35:08

The previous owners of our Georgian house had replaced the sash windows with UPVC which were utterly the wrong style as well. When we renovated the house I phoned the conservation officer at our local council for advice (even though our house is not in a conservation area) as I wasn't sure what style of windows would be right, and she practically wept when I said that we were having beautiful! double glazed wooden sash windows made for the front of the house and double glazed casement windows for the back.

RedErik Sat 09-Aug-14 11:39:25

We have sash windows. Most have been painted shut by a previous owner. The ones that do open have to be propped open because the rope mechanism thingy had broken.

On a windy day our curtains move in the draft. We can also hear all the street noise.

We can't afford to replace them with new sash windows so have left them as they are and we're moving now anyway. But I can imagine the new owner replacing with pvc. At the end of the day it's a cheap two bed terrace in a studenty area of the city. It would be daft to spend ££££ on new wooden sash windows as you certainly wouldn't recoup the costs on resale.

MarshaBrady Sat 09-Aug-14 11:40:01

I agree- sash windows here.

PigletJohn Sat 09-Aug-14 11:45:12

"The ones that do open have to be propped open because the rope mechanism thingy had broken."

replacing the cord is a simple handyman job. It is about a thousand pounds cheaper than buying a new window.

Some of the tyres on my car were worn. I didn't buy a new car, I bought some new tyres.

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