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.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 12:22:41

I agree PJ it is a false economy to rip them out and replace especially when you consider how they were made by hand and extremely well, using top quality wood.

They wouldn't have lasted a hundred years otherwise.

Is there somewhere that they can be recycled though - I often see perfectly serviceable ones in skips and wish I could rescue them forother people to use.

We had a survey on the house we're buying and it recommended replacing the lot. I was really shocked at the stupidity of that, aesthetics or not. And it's in a cons area and subject to article 4 which means you need to copy the design of the original windows, and UPVC unless a direct copy would be rejected by the planning committee.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 12:23:35

LEM - HB one I linked to before!

JassyRadlett Sat 09-Aug-14 12:30:38

We would have loved to have the huge sash windows in our old flat refurbished and double glazed but we simply didn't have tens of thousands of pounds lying about. So we did what we could to maintain them and improve their energy efficiency but it was pretty poor. I would never have replaced with UPVC even if we'd been allowed, but refurbishment is far from cheap.

We're now in a 1920s semi that already had high quality
UPVC when we moved in (originals wouldn't have been sash anyway). Our heating bill is lower in this 3-bed house than it was in a smallish 2-bed flat.

For a lot of people, economics will win over aesthetics, and that's understandable.

JassyRadlett Sat 09-Aug-14 12:34:39

Sorry - just looked up the quote and tens and thousands is overstating, but the cheapest quote we had was over £10K.

Sandthorn Sat 09-Aug-14 12:34:49

It's always a shame to lose the original character of a nice house, but I think it's easy to be precious and judgemental when you're not the one having to make a choice between the perfect windows and replacing the boiler. A lot of the houses that still have original windows only have them because owners over the last 30 years just haven't had the money to replace them. They may be past repair; and they're never very insulating. LEM, I'm sure your partner does beautiful work, but I bet it's cheaper to buy a upvc casement window than to have a defunct sash window restored to its former glory AND double glazed.

I see restoring my house to some original character as a labour of love, but it's a home first and foremost, not a museum. I'm not going to put up with heat-sink windows in 2014 for fear of offending a potential buyer in the unknown future!

No period house is in 100% original condition, and it'd be a pain in the arse if it was. We wanted original features, and got many, but we've had to trawl eBay, and salvage yards and reproductions for some of the details we really wanted. There are some amazing artisans around, making windows to match your house's age, style and scale, but with double glazing, or fireplaces with hearths that meet current safety standards.


The house I rent in has sash windows. In fact, so did the last one - they had metal frames and froze on the inside in winter.

I think I'll carry on being happy people replace them, sorry! I'm sure they're lovely if they're very well made or if you whack the central heating up, but they are very drafty if badly made or badly maintained.

Whenwillwe3meetagain Sat 09-Aug-14 12:40:20

Sorry but we have put UPVC double glazing into our house to replace the old original sash windows. They are the same style as the original and are a joy. We can't hear road noise and we were so much warmer over the winter. The quotes we got for wooden compared to UPVC were 3x as expensive and we couldn't justify it.
Our road in SW London has a mixture of original and UPVC and in most cases you have to look quite carefully to tell between them.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 12:52:20

Whenwill - that is totally understandable and tbh if you can't see the difference then they probably look pretty nice.

I found out that UPVC sash windows were of variable quality but the higher end ones are not that far off the price (and quality) of wooden ones.

LRD are you sure you're not talking about Crittal windows? Never seen a metal sash in my life! I am on the fence about Crittal - I've had them advertised by Estate agents as a positive (if retro) feature but they are far less attractive and far less warm or efficient than sashes imo.

Financial reasons are critical to most people's decisions - and short term especially, which is a shame as longer term it improves value to keep the original wood I think. Depending on what the street is like in general, also, because if it's a street full of falling down houses nothing you do is going to make a lot of odds to the value of your house.

What makes me cross is not the actual people replacing them. It's people in the UPVC window business TELLING people to replace them, people who haven't heard the other side of the story, and just fall for the sales pitch.

That makes me angry because obviously they don't explain how easy or cost effective it can be just to replace the bottom bar of a sash, or a frame, or whatever. It's all about maximising profit for them.

sacbina Sat 09-Aug-14 13:44:48

you said it yourself - of course it's all about maximising profit, they're a business

btw - I have no opinion on the rights and wrongs of sash windows, but do get a bit bored of these kind of threads

LEMmingaround Sat 09-Aug-14 15:57:38

If you get bored with these threads why post?

RedErik Sat 09-Aug-14 16:57:11

pigletjohn the rope mechanism is only one problem though as my post says. If your car needed new tyres but also wasn't very reliable, it was old, rusty and didn't go faster then 50 miles an hour you might think about getting a new one. Even if it did look nice.

snoggle Sat 09-Aug-14 17:09:29

My house is supposed to have beautiful art deco aluminium suntrap windows. They have been replaced with upvc, with fake Georgian glazing bars which I hate. Totally wrong style and lots of plastic, and they convert what should be lovely curved bays into fiddly 5-sided ones.
Converting back would be a hugely expensive job, but they make me sad.

ShoeWhore Sat 09-Aug-14 17:14:11

My neighbour is trying to sell her house which has original Victorian sashes - so many viewers have turned their noses up at them even though they are beautiful and in pretty good condition. I think it's really sad sad

noddyholder Sat 09-Aug-14 17:15:41

UPVC windows are to old houses what veneers are to teeth Just look terrible

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 09-Aug-14 17:16:22

We have the original 1880 sash windows and they badly need replacing - it will be costing us a bomb when we eventually have them done. We are in a conservation area so they would have to be exactly the same design and spec as the originals. Our neighbours are having theirs done this year and we will get some quotes when theirs are going in.

KERALA1 Sat 09-Aug-14 17:17:48

Ours are beautiful. Turn of the century elegant house. Mil often comments on how we should rip them all out and replace them with "smart" PVC. But this is a women who can walk past beautiful old cottages then sigh with delight at the 1970s built houses with their car ports and drives. With you op but some people have very different taste...

BarbaraPalmer Sat 09-Aug-14 17:23:42

we have the original sashes as the back and the side, but the front were replaced. I'd love to put sashes back in, but it really is very expensive.

On the other hand, having the existing ones refurbished wasn't too ££. I think £175 per window to have them taken out, new cords, re-weighted so they run smoothly and don't rattle, draught-proofed, sanded and primed for painting.

Callmegeoff Sat 09-Aug-14 17:32:37

I completely agree, we have sash windows which were restored by the previous owners.

My previous Edwardian house has had it's original windows replaced with PVC, I'm quite sad about it.

We had metal sasheson our front bay in our last flat, ugly and cold, with a broken mechanism. I could never decide what to do so we did nothing, leaving that decision to the next people.

Marmitelover55 Sat 09-Aug-14 19:52:46

We live in a Victorian house and had to replace the original sash windows at thd front and side about 10 years ago (when the painted and decorator said they were completely rotten).. I would have preferred wood but the quote was £7k compared to £3.5k for upvc sash windows. I'm afraid we chose the upvc, but they do look pretty good and we are happy with them. We still have the original sashes at the back upstairs but the DDs would love new upvc windows as theirs are so drafty...

MarshaBrady Sat 09-Aug-14 19:57:27

We're in a conservation area too, and for that I am grateful. The street is mostly Georgian.

MarshaBrady Sat 09-Aug-14 19:57:52

ie you can't replace the windows, just restore.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 07:40:16

'btw - I have no opinion on the rights and wrongs of sash windows, but do get a bit bored of these kind of threads'

Sorry about that! I guess it matters quite a lot to me and I wanted to reach a small audience in the hope of awakening some consciousnesses...I felt compelled really, just to try.

If people were routinely painting over old artworks with emulsion I think a lot of people would object.

I drove past quite a few UPVC sash windows yesterday which I have to admit I had not noticed were UPVC before. I went past one at close quarters which was appalling though, and clearly fairly old - the cross bar of the upper sash was bowing down, completely away from the joints with the side bars.

If that is how they are going to wear then I'd rather not think about it! You wouldn't get that with a wooden sash window.

There was one house we saw that had original windows and they were, actually, completely rotted so that the wood had all separated at the joints and the glass edges could be seen and there were actual gaps - if you had even tried to open those, it all would have fallen out on passers by. They will have to go, obviously - but the house was in a generally dreadful state and so bad they couldn't do internal viewings, and they sold it by photographic inspection!

It still went way over asking price though. That's what it's like here. Student landlord conversions.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 07:46:42

This is a fairly good outline of the arguments against UPVC, for anyone who is interested.]]

Drawn up by an architect who is fed up with clients wanting uPVC

Roonerspism Sun 10-Aug-14 07:47:06

We love ours but they are freezing.

I would never remove them.

You can replace the glass with thicker glass though. And have them double glazed and although it is expensive, it's no more so than replacing them with plastic ones.

Ours are 90 years old and still work perfectly. Our previous house had PVC windows which were 30 years old and mouldy, non functioning and one actually fell in! I mourned the loss of the wooden ones.

Ps I'm no relation to OP!

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 07:49:56

Oh Hello grin

Good name. Mine's just a shortening of Rooney Mara which was my last name. not as clever as wot yours is.

Roonerspism Sun 10-Aug-14 08:01:24


I don't post much so don't worry as shouldn't be much scope for confusion!

<logs off to shut sash window, feeling glad there are fellow sash lovers in world>

bigkidsdidit Sun 10-Aug-14 08:04:50

I agree. I live in a conservation area and the whole town has banned PVC. Lovely smile

perfectview Sun 10-Aug-14 08:05:11

Totally agree OP. We have just sold a house with the original sash windows - the only ones left in the terrace. Was annoyed that the surveyor couldn't temper their comments about their inefficiency with some sort of solution that involved keeping them and a comment that they were an original feature. Although they were colder I find that preferable to the airless feeling of double glazing, but as someone else has said they can adapted.

Isitmylibrarybook Sun 10-Aug-14 08:11:18

Im surprised they put buyers off - i thought 'original sash windows' was a selling point - as with most original features?

I can see they're draughty (though you do need some ventilation, but i realise this may go a bit too far!) but in what way are they dangerous, as another poster has said? Is it the fact that they can be left open at the bottom so it is possible to fall out of first and second storeys? You can get round that with locks but then of course you can't open much at the top either. But presumably upvc open fully as well?

FoxSticks Sun 10-Aug-14 08:13:29

They can't always be repaired though. We have sashes in our Victorian house, some of which are rotting and cannot be refurbed. The worst windows were in our dining room where there were also gaps, which could have been fixes but rotting would that couldn't. We had them replaced with identical wooden sashes, but as the room is triple aspect with a bay window it was really expensive. We can't afford to do anything else to the rest of the house yet. Are replacement wooden ones ok?

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 08:20:12

Fox, in terms of aesthetics wood is absolutely the best and in terms of economics you have also made a really wise choice.

Read the link - PVC does not last indefinitely in an attractive state, and cannot be maintained, which is the worst thing about it - once it's bowed or warped or depreciated cosmetically, because the surface has degraded allowing mould to grow, you just have to live with it or rip it out for some more new windows.

Wood will last you, and your house, many many years if you just keep it painted and modern paints are incredibly effective.

So I think you have done exactly the right thing.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 08:23:39

I'm going out to take photos later on. Of both sorts! Will post back later.

I have to say UPVC sashes aren't at all bad from the recent ones I've seen, however I still fail to see the point of getting those when wood isn't much dearer if you go for high end PVC.

I was subject to a hard sell on those the other week while ringing around for quotes for wooden ones. Amazing what companies will promote in order to make you come back for more in 20-30 years. It's obscene. It was all 'have a think about the UPVC ones' when I was perfectly clear I wanted wood.

FoxSticks Sun 10-Aug-14 08:32:09

Phew, I think they look beautiful and that room is a lot warmer now. I'm glad that they are ok from a conservation point of view because we really want to maintain the charm of our lovely house.

FoxSticks Sun 10-Aug-14 08:33:08

Phew, I think they look beautiful and that room is a lot warmer now. I'm glad that they are ok from a conservation point of view because we really want to maintain the charm of our lovely house.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 08:36:21

They sound perfect smile

I have spoken to the conservation people at the council here quite a bit, and they are very particular about what is acceptable and what isn't.

There's a chart somewhere. Basically UPVC is refused out of hand, unless it's sliding sashes, in which case the design has to meet with approval anyway. Wood has to be a similar design too, but is generally fine.

If you think about it, wood is a far stronger material, if protected from water ingress.

I hate UPVC with a passion and think it should be banned even in new builds, but I can see why it is popular in the short term. It isn't an answer though, not really. Even getting someone else in to paint your frames every year or even five years is cheaper than putting in something that will last at most 50 years before it looks hideous.

WaxyDaisy Sun 10-Aug-14 08:40:23

Sash windows are lovely to look at if properly maintained. However, I have small children and have done for the last decade (preschoolers). No way would I want to live in a house with sash windows for safety reasons. I want to be able to open a small window and leave it without worrying a child will climb/fall out. It would completely put me off buying a house.

FIL's house has sash windows and is bloody freezing. He will not replace them, as thinks like the OP, but can never afford the new ones in keeping. They are as well maintained as possible, just extremely old (and crap).

PolterGoose Sun 10-Aug-14 08:43:05

We've got UPVC sash windows on our 1830s cottage, they were already here and whilst wood is lovely I do like the ease of these windows. The previous owners tried hard to emulate the originals so they look pretty good. The functionality is a bonus, we can flip them inwards for cleaning. I think they cost around £1500-2000 per window.

OliviaBenson Sun 10-Aug-14 08:52:43

Thank you for this thread! It really grates me and all the excuses that are given are usually just a load of tosh. "They couldn't be restored" really? Who advised you that- the uPVC window manufacturer? I hate hate hate how people say they are better for the environment- because uPVC is so good for the environment huh? The fact that draft stripping can dramatically increase their efficiency seems to bypass lots of people too.

Don't even get me started on damp proofing companies.......

OliviaBenson Sun 10-Aug-14 08:54:18

Waxy- you can get stops on the sashes so that children can't open the bottom. I grew up (along with 1000s children I imagine) with sash windows - it was never an issue.

trixymalixy Sun 10-Aug-14 08:58:13

I cried when I walked past our old Victorian semi a few years after selling. The new owners had taken out the sash windows with beautiful original stained glass with swallows and bluebells and replaced with horrid UPVC!!!

The stained glass was one of the selling points of the house. Fucking idiots have wiped thousands off their house value.

FoxSticks Sun 10-Aug-14 09:04:57

Waxy, all of our sashes, old and new have locks so you can't open them more than 4 inches, there's no way our toddler could fall out of them. On hot days we open the top sashes in our dining room so get lots of air in that way. The old sashes are painted shut at the top so we can't do that in other rooms but they are such large windows that you get lots of air in any way through having them locked open.

ChippyMinton Sun 10-Aug-14 09:10:14

Can anyone recommend a joiner / restorer in London / South-East?

DH wants upvc, I would prefer to restore and draft proof our sashes.

FoxSticks Sun 10-Aug-14 09:19:55

We used this company. We had a few quotes but found theirs to be competitive and we had friends who had also used them. I think independent joiners can be cheaper, but I couldn't find any that I felt happy with.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sun 10-Aug-14 10:30:08

Polter, your figures illustrate the problem in trying to emulate the sash windows with replacements - £1500-£2000 per window for me would work out £12k-£16k, whereas what I have now cost me £4000. They may well be an affront to those horrified by my choice, but the reality is, I couldn't afford to come close to replicating something to the tune of £16k.

Same goes for the fireplaces in my flat - all the originals had been ripped out before I bought and replaced with the most hideous 1950s salmon coloured tiled monstrosities. I'd love nothing more that to restore them to the original style/size (and I've done loads of research to find out what that entailed) but again, the cost is prohibitive and means for now I'm stuck with these hideous fireplaces until it win the lottery or receive an unexpected windfall.

'Tis the reality I'm afraid. Maintaining original features in very old buildings is an expensive business that few (in the current climate) can afford.

LEMmingaround Sun 10-Aug-14 10:41:13

chippyminton we are in the south east. Dp can either fit the new windows or restore your old ones. He cannot however solve husband and wife disputes over what is best. smile pm me if you'd like more info.

FoxSticks Sun 10-Aug-14 10:44:03

I might get in contact with you LEM if we ever have enough money to do the others!

Jynxed Sun 10-Aug-14 10:58:36

Love this thread! Here here! If it were up to me I would make it a requirements to get planning permission to remove sash windows, and that should be automatically refused! Sash windows can be refurbed and often for less than the cost of replacement, and a bit of natural ventilation is good for a building and prevents condensation building up.

expatinscotland Sun 10-Aug-14 11:01:05

They are bloody cold. Fuck looks, who wants to freeze or burn money on heating with those old things in?

ChippyMinton Sun 10-Aug-14 11:08:17

Have sent you a PM LEM.
And thanks for link Foxsticks, will check them out.

mausmaus Sun 10-Aug-14 11:26:34

expat says it so much more eloquently than I ever could grin

CKOneILoveIt Sun 10-Aug-14 12:08:10

i agree with piglet john, if you want them, buy them. don't judge other people who in the past had to do what they could afford to do when it was a choice between noise/cold balanced with what they had in their purse.

CKOneILoveIt Sun 10-Aug-14 12:08:40

i should have put in new paragraph after 'if you want them buy them'

rhubarbcrumbleplease Sun 10-Aug-14 12:25:59

Rooners we've just bought a C17 listed house where the stone mullions were replaced with UPVC, without PP.
Heritage nearly fainted with distress when they saw them.
We nearly fainted when we got the quote to replace them grin.

mausmaus Sun 10-Aug-14 13:47:13

thing is, we don't want drafty guillotines sash windows, that even double glazed will always be drafty. it's in the design tbh.

for the front of the house we wil get ones that look appropriate, but will be double glazed upvc.
fwiw my parents had upvc windows installed 20+ years ago and they still look good. much better than neighbours wooden ones that would need painting but the last time they didn't do it properly and now it would be a big job.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 14:02:42

* don't judge other people who in the past had to do what they could afford to do when it was a choice between noise/cold balanced with what they had in their purse.* I would never judge a person for not having enough money for something.

I DO judge the companies that advise people to install these offences to architecture on fraudulent grounds.

It is FAR cheaper to repair and restore all but the most rotten of windows. Mausmaus I'm afraid it isn't necessary to bear draughts when brushes are easy and cheap to fit or have fitted - even free of charge for low income households (I know - I had them fitted a few years ago on a rented victorian house).

The design does have some relation to the architecture in general of that era in that things were built with breathability innate to the structure. You know what happens if you repoint brickwork using non lime mortar - the fronts of your bricks fall off, because the mortar was made to be permeable to allow any ingress to egress.

If you paint Victorian windows shut and have a lack of ventilation, you soon find out when you get mould growing on your walls. A little air is good for the soul and the house.

On a more modern house you can get away with a lot more in the way of draguhtproofing.

Rhubarb that's appalling - they replaced the actual stone with UPVC? <faints> Poor house and poor you!

The vendors at our new place have put in a couple of UPVC units at the rear, without PP but as it was more than 4 years ago we won't have to replace them with something nicer unless we want to. It will take a few years to save up enough I think - other things do take priority.

It's just that money isn't a good reason to rip out old and replace with ugly, if the old ones are reparable.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 14:06:02

Example of a modern (80s) wooden sash - wants a repaint but all good.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 14:08:01

And one in the same street from probably the 17th century? Or a Victorian replacement more likely. Again all good.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 14:11:34

And next door to that, a 90s UPVC sash. Can you see the difference? Look at that bow in the bar, the run through and the horn detail in a completely different shade of bleurgh. And the crack above it - nice. You can't even paint over that can you.

sacbina Sun 10-Aug-14 15:36:35

there's always a wee soupson of judgeyness when comment is passed on whether someone else has or hasn't done something that you (a general you, not anyone here in particular) do or don't approve of.

this thread was always going to spark a lot of frantic nodding heads and agreement, whilst everyone else can't really summon the energy to get collective knickers in a twist!
and now't will change. I would be very surprised if anyone these days falls for salesmans patter. it's all about money and what the homeowner can afford

sacbina Sun 10-Aug-14 15:37:50

what they can afford, and ebay they might actually prefer, which has nothing to do with anyone else

sacbina Sun 10-Aug-14 15:38:42

ebay?? but of a Freudian slip perhaps.....grin

sacbina Sun 10-Aug-14 15:39:10

gaaah, bloomin predictive text!

CalamitouslyWrong Sun 10-Aug-14 15:45:34

Meh. Actually like upvc windows. The 1930s houses on my street with upvc windows look a lot better than the ones that still have the original windows. And they're much warmer.

CalamitouslyWrong Sun 10-Aug-14 15:48:37

Of course, none of the houses on my street ever had the (much fetishised) sash windows the OP is so worried about. They did have drafty, single-glazed wooden jobs.

MorrisZapp Sun 10-Aug-14 15:58:36

Where we live we're only allowed sealed units at the back of the house. At the front we have to have wooden sash windows.

Even shelling out £££ for new double glazed sash windows, we have to tolerate noise and draughts.

I absolutely love my sealed pvc units at the back of the house. My grandparents had no choice, they went to bed early with their socks on etc because there were no other options.

They didn't love their draughty windows, they would rather have been warm.

Marmitelover55 Sun 10-Aug-14 16:13:13

These are my replacement upvc sash windows (please excuse dirt as major building work at the back just finished). I'm pretty pleased with them...

wonkylegs Sun 10-Aug-14 16:14:24

We've replaced ours with hardwood double glazed sashes made by a local joiner to match all the quirks of the originals (all had different decorative mouldings) - the best compliment was "wow they look exactly the same"
They are a thing of beauty now.
It cost a small fortune but we are planning to be here for a long time, and we wanted to be able to open & use the windows, make the house more energy efficient, reduce draughts & improve safety/security (very low window cills but no safety glass with small kids made me nervous)

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 16:25:28

I'm not judging - not the homeowners. It makes me really, really sad and a bit depressed when people seem to believe though that putting in monstrously ugly plastic windows is necessary and I do think that there is a general pervasive belief that this is the case.

I don't blame individual homeowners for this nor do I judge them for falling for it.

But you can see the arguments are fairly similar to those in favour of man made fabrics say 40-60 years ago, oh this polyester is lovely, it doesn't need ironing and hangs much better and it dries quickly too - what do you mean it won't last as long? Nonsense.

Two weeks later the fabric is bobbly and thin and looks shocking, and suddenly everyone charges far more for anything cotton.

The reason proper wooden sash windows cost so much is that demand has been killed off by the ubiquity of the plastic ones.

CalamitouslyWrong Sun 10-Aug-14 16:28:52

Maybe not everyone actually agrees with you that upvc windows are 'monstrously ugly' though. Have you considered that?

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 16:29:31

and obviously because they will last longer, look better and are made with skill, not mass produced in a factory.

Saying that, yours do look very elegant Marmite.

wonkylegs Sun 10-Aug-14 16:30:13

Rooners - that's not exactly true. Wooden sash windows cost so much mainly because they are handcrafted and require skilled workers & time.
Upvc replacements are usually casement windows and can be factory made requiring less skill & time.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 16:30:52

Yes I've considered it. It's probable that some people prefer the look of it.
Sometimes I think UPVC looks nice, when it is recently done.

Sometimes, on some houses, it is an improvement.

But a lot of the time, it isn't.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 16:32:14

X posts Wonky smile

Some wooden sashes are mass produced though - some modern, non sash, non period style windows can certainly be made in a factory setting.

We had some in our old 60s house. They were put in in the 90s I think.

UphillPhil Sun 10-Aug-14 16:37:12

Our house had it's sash windows double glazed and restored by a specialist: No draughts whatsoever!

Probably more expensive than whacking UPVC in, but certainly less expensive than equivalent wood framed double glazing custom built to fit.

Can recommend a sash window refurb bloke to anyone in Oxford, although Oxford seems to be full of such people if you search Google.

lazysummer Sun 10-Aug-14 16:43:43

Another vote for sash windows here. Our house was built over 100 years ago. The sash windows are still going strong, but the lost conversion windows (dating from the 70s I think) have been replaced because of rotting wood. (We replaced with more wood windows as I dislike upvc)

Blackeyez09 Sun 10-Aug-14 17:48:58

One more vote for sash windows I have 7 originals very large and drafty they are beautiful though but

Blackeyez09 Sun 10-Aug-14 17:55:04

One more vote for sash windows I have 7 originals very large and drafty they are beautiful though but noisy!
I love them though so will not replace but will restore which is not so expensive then thick curtains. I will also look into child safety feature though I have no children...

I really don't think I will get my money back if I replace with hardwoods which is the only thing I would want to do, I probably won't stay in the house for more than 5 years as well and I figured hey if they've lasted 100 years (they are in not too bad condition) they will probably last long anyway..

MinimalistMommi Sun 10-Aug-14 18:05:25

OP, we are keeping our sash windows, even though everyone tells us to stick in UPVC! We need to have them renovated though. They are cold and breezy but look beautiful. Our terraced cottage was built in 1870. Most of the panes are the original glass too. I think a couple have been replaced that got cracked.

prettybird Sun 10-Aug-14 18:07:41

We live in a conservation area so our big Victorian wooden sash windows have to stay and I am happy about that.

We had a new window cut into the back wall when we changed a bedroom into a kitchen and it is the only double glazed window in the house. It wasn't as expensive as we though it would be (proper treated hard wood wood) given that it also involved cutting a hole in a 3 foot thick sold stone wall shock

If would afford to, we'd replace the other windows for double glazed sash windows, but as we have 9 large windows (bigger than any of the photos posted) to do, plus 3 small ones (in ds' dormer in the attic), that's not high on our list of priorities at the moment. We might do it one room at a time - so the sums involved aren't quite so eye watering!

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 18:21:35

Original (rolled) glass is hard to replicate - I mean you can get it made in a similar way but that costs an absolute bomb.

It's one thing you can see straight away in old windows compared with new ones. So even if you go for wooden frames you won't get the same effect I suppose.

I don't think houses should be museums but I hate to see pointless waste.

MinimalistMommi Sun 10-Aug-14 18:46:01

I can see the odd bubble in our glass!

Viviennemary Sun 10-Aug-14 18:53:21

I'm on the fence. Sash windows can be cold rattly things in winter. And replacing like for like costs the earth. But I suppose they look nice and are 'traditional'. Never mind if you catch cold all winter and your fuel bills are sky high you're a conserving history in your little house. So that must be good.

VSeth Sun 10-Aug-14 18:53:26

We had sash windows and whilst they are attractive the sound proofing is rubbish and my heating bills have dramatically reduced since replacing them.

prettybird Sun 10-Aug-14 18:59:10

Should have been more explicit: the new window, even though it is at the back of the house and not subject to as strict rules as the front of a house, is still a wooden sash window but because it's new, it had to be double glazed. It does not rattle at all - and the sound proofing is great (the cats can vouch for that: can hear them yowling asking to be let in at the other original window but not so easily at the new window wink)

FoxSticks Sun 10-Aug-14 19:12:13

Our new sash doesn't rattle and isn't drafty either prettybird.

I live in a 130 yr old Victorian end of terrace in the northwest of England. We have the original sliding sash windows. OH and I have spent the last month or so re painting them all and they look beautiful again. With a bit of TLC and filler I think we can keep them going for another 5 years or so.

Every week we get a young man with leaflet in hand asking if we considered replacing them with upvc and I say they are over 100 yrs old and I hope I look that good when I am 100!

They always look at me like I am mad. We have thick curtains which help keep the breeze out and some plastic sheeting we put on every winter.

BlackbirdOnTheWire Sun 10-Aug-14 19:28:37

We put in new uPVC windows. We got quotes for new wooden sash windows and the lowest was £40k - 15 years ago. 25% of the purchase price of the house on new windows, even if we could have afforded it? I don't think so.

I agree the wooden ones look better but financial considerations often remove the element of choice.

We didn't remove the originals, they'd already been replaced by aluminium, so our uPVC sashes are an improvement on the windows we inherited. Wish we did have the money for wood - and wish our house was worth the expense of wood, but we'd never have got it back on selling.

themummyonthebus Sun 10-Aug-14 20:01:36

If it wasn't for the fact you are buying a house I would suspect you are my father OP grin As an independent joiner who has developed a double glazed sash window system he is on a mission to save sash windows.

There is no need for them to rattle, be draughty or insufficiently noise proofed, and considering the unpleasant chemicals used to make upvc, are considerably more ecological.

Of course there is a certain cost, but as the OP points out, if you want decent upvc they don't exactly come cheap, and you'll have to replace them in 30 years or so anyway. Repaint wooden windows every 3 years or so, refurb every 20 years or so and you're good for decades.

Of course if you have financial limitations then I can fully understand going for the cheapest choice. But upvc really doesn't pay for itself over the long term.

NotCitrus Sun 10-Aug-14 20:22:12

If I'd known PVC sashes existed, I might have gone for them, but instead managed to refurb ours and get secondary glazing done on two bays and two standard sashes, for 1/5 of the price of getting them double glazed.
Secondary glazing is unobtrusive and wonderful - the temperature in our living room rose by 3 degrees immediately.

Sadly many sash windows locally are being replaced by the cheapest PVC casements - even in the listed pub, which would annoy me less if the council were less anal about home improvements.

RiverTam Sun 10-Aug-14 20:25:04

I've read that this is one of the things that will devalue a house.

I won't have them. However, round our way it costs on average around £3000 per window to have timber double glazed sash windows installed.

We have the original shutters in the living room, and thick curtains as well. We still shiver!

JumpJockey Sun 10-Aug-14 21:40:53

Our old house was a victorian terrace with sashes, they were in oretty dire condition (one had both been painted shut, and rotted at the bottom) and we got a local guy to take them out, reconstruct the bits that needed replacing, then reinstall and paint. No more rattles, no breezes, looked great, original glass etc. Cost about 3k for two double width ones at the front and three at the back, much much less than replacing them.

mausmaus Sun 10-Aug-14 22:05:30

yep, what is the point of big windows if you need to keep curtains drawn/shutters closed just to stay warm?

RiverTam Sun 10-Aug-14 22:18:54

well, obviously that's in the evening when you're sitting still on the sofa for a period of time. During the day it's neither here nor there.

Rooners Mon 11-Aug-14 07:32:13

Themummy - I like your Dad! Excellent post. I'm not suggesting everyone fork out for replacement wooden sash windows - just think twice before taking out the originals because often there is no need to and it's far cheaper to restore/repair/double glaze/draughtproof them.

It's odd but our flat seems very warm considering - maybe it's because the prevailing wind comes in off the side that's attached, so it has some protection? But it's turn of the century, and the bay window at the front is 10ft wide and 9ft tall, the ceilings being mostly 10-11ft high.

The main rooms are both roughly 18ft by 14ft and then there's a dining room, kitchen, another bedroom, large hallways and two bathrooms/loos. We have massive floor to ceiling original single glazed French doors to the back, the bay to the front (which does not open, at all, ever, and all the cords are gone/joins are painted shut. All the other windows are old sash except for one. Only one of them opens.

It doesn't get cold. Not really. Not rattly either except in the small bedroom where the window is operable. I did invest in thick curtains but those were about £300 for one set and £100 for the other (second hand but lovely condition). We rent and have been here for 6 years and our gas bill isn't bad at all - obviously off all summer but it's about 50-70 a month all in at the moment.

Elec is minimal, we don't have to have any supplementary heaters. It's a huge floor area with a very damp cellar and we have 15 rads (only 3 worked when we moved in and the Potterton boiler was 25 years old, and I had it replaced and flushed out) I think most of our heat goes through the ceiling - our upstairs neighbours say they don't often have theirs on at all!

We only have it set to 18ish usually or maybe 20 if it's super cold outside. Single thickness walls as well, and bare floorboards mostly. I wonder what it is about the house. Maybe just the fact they are all coated in paint, seals the draughts!

Rooners Mon 11-Aug-14 07:36:22

should say the French doors open with a shove but there is a slightly knackeredwooden conservatory beyond those, which must help a LOT, I can't imagine not having that and just a leaky old pair of doors.

Next door still has her doors and windows, she must have had them all restored - they are beautiful, no conservatory, and her house is on the market for £850K (whole house, not flats!) <faints>

Elizabeth22 Mon 11-Aug-14 07:43:16

Our last house had beautiful sash windows - it broke my heart to hear that the buyers intended to update them. I really hope they were just trying to get money off the asking price and not intending to do it. Nobody would do that - would they?

Tinymrscollings Mon 11-Aug-14 07:56:39

Another vote for proper sash windows. We live on a lovely street of victorian terraces and it breaks my heart to see the amount of wooden sashes replaced with completely out of character UPVC and gasps porches added. When we bought our house we knew the windows had to be replaced, and asked for money off accordingly.

I think it's part of buying and caring for a period house to renovate sensitively. We replaced the old, very poorly maintained wooden windows with newly built wooden sashes. They were more expensive and it's not quite the same as the old rolled glass loveliness but when I look at our home from the outside it looks 'right' and we think our investment will pay back when we come to sell the house. It took us nearly 3 years to save the money to do it but it's been worth it - they are warm and unrattly too.

I do understand what PPs have said about the amount of money involved but I think that's part of the deal when you buy an older house. If it's not something you want to do then maybe a more modern house is a better investment. It's the same thing as looking after your hair and teeth - nothing will look good if the basics aren't right.

Rooners Mon 11-Aug-14 08:13:17

Yes I agree about if you don't like older properties, try and avoid buying one - but sadly people don't always think like that. They buy an older house to 'do it up' and end up ruining it.

There's an example not far from us which was in need of renovation, sold to 'doer uppers' and they have wrecked it and now it won't sell at all.

It's just too modern and in really bad taste to boot. People in that area chuck out the most beautiful windows - stained glass especially - I often get the urge in the middle of the night to go and scour the skips and try and rescue the poor old lovely windows, but sadly it's too dangerous an area to go lurking about in at night, or even in the day time really.

Makes me want to kill someone. I am absolutely normal I promise grin

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 11-Aug-14 08:27:16

Taste is subjective (and often class-based). Just because you don't like something, it doesn't make it objectively 'in bad taste'. You just happen to gave taste shared by the elites in the country so you think it's 'good taste'.

People don't gave the housing choices you seem to imagine they do. Sometimes there's no choice but to buy an old, terraced house. That's all there is in their budget. They don't owe their house nor the past anything. And they may well value the thermal efficiency of the house very highly, and not want to put up plastic sheeting and have super thick curtains just to try not to freeze.

I find all the fetishising (certain aspects of) the past quite silly. Give it 50 years and we'll have all these middle class people lamenting those who ripped out the 'beautiful, period artex' in houses built in the 70s and 80s.

Rooners Mon 11-Aug-14 10:09:19

People don't gave the housing choices you seem to imagine they do. I agree entirely with the points you make and thought I had said that already, but I haven't been very clear actually.

I think it often comes down to what is available locally and what people can afford, not necessarily what they prefer.

But some people do have a really poor idea of what works and what is nice to look at. Yes taste is subjective but you can gauge what is generally liked or not by looking at what sells and what hangs about on the market for many months because it's just frankly hideous.

I don't think that it's true that people don't owe their houses anything. Of course no one can oblige people to treat a property with due respect or thoughtfulness. And it is more important to live comfortably than to live in a museum.

But it's not that hard to have a bit of both. If sash windows were unfeasible, made people miserable, could not be repaired more cheaply than replaced, etc etc then I would be right with you on the practical front. But it's not the case, most of the time.

I think we owe it to future generations to try and preserve some of the beautiful things we have in the world - I don't necessarily mean subjective beauty, apparent beauty. I'm talking about things that were hard won, made by craftsmen to exacting standards with great skill, from now very rare materials.

Just as we owe it to them to preserve beautiful old paintings and skilled works of art and engineering - cathedrals, (which I don't generally find very attractive apart from their windows) bridges, sculptures, etc etc.

That I believe is an obligation on all of us. As far as we can reasonably manage it. But as I said I am talking from the perspective of someone who has dealt with a lot of damaged dolls and some very lovely, if damaged, 'untouched' ones that haven't had their eyes replaced with modern ones, haven't had a 'repaint', haven't even had their hair washed - they are still beautiful, to my eyes, because they are genuine and they tell a story. They are also often the most valuable in monetary terms, the more original they are - a doll from certain manufacturers with its horse or human hair wig, tangled and threadbare, is worth thousands, while a doll from the same company that's had new eyes and a nylon wig stuck on goes for a lot less.

Rooners Mon 11-Aug-14 10:10:53

In class terms however I hope you don't imagine I'm among the upper echelons. I'm nowhere near even upper middle, as far as I can tell.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 11-Aug-14 10:50:13

No, but you've absorbed the architectural taste judgements of the elite. You don't have to be posh for that to be the case.

I really don't agree that we owe anything to the buildings we live in. I honestly don't agree that sash windows (with bumpy glass) are anything like as 'beautiful' as you make out. They're just bloody windows. Lots of people actually do like plastic windows. Just because you don't, doesn't mean they're wrong.

LEMmingaround Mon 11-Aug-14 10:53:53

I think that modern windows look great. In modern houses. Modern windows in old houses ,not so much.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 11-Aug-14 11:01:31

But that doesn't mean that other people are wrong if they like the upvc windows they've installed in the Victorian/Edwardian/whatever else house. They're allowed to have different taste to you.

LEMmingaround Mon 11-Aug-14 11:13:17

I agree. However many planning departments wont. If houses are in conservation areas then they must
only have the original style windows so I don't think its always about individual tastes.

Imagine you buy a lovely victorian property in a road with similar properties. You buy that house partly because you like the road. Then your neighbours put in double glazed upvc windows that look awful. You're not going to be thrilled.

In the 80s and 90s everyone was ripping out perfectly good windows to put the upvc windows in. Thankfully planning departments have put some sort of restriction on this and also people are prefering to be sympathetic to the original building.

New box sash windows have to adhere to the building regs just like upvc windows and have to meet a minimum standard of thermal insulation which will be higher than older upvc windows.

I love rippled glass. Its because glass is actually a liquid and flows very slowly.

Rooners Mon 11-Aug-14 15:20:56

No, but you've absorbed the architectural taste judgements of the elite. You don't have to be posh for that to be the case.

I know nothing about the architectural taste judgments of the elite - could you point me at it so I can get an idea? smile

I don't know if I'm a snob. All I can say is I grew up in a family of people with varying tastes - on one side a very practical, homely, teaching family that produced a mother who doesn't really like fuss or bother or art. Loves music though, and definitely prefers the 60s house, for no reason I can understand except the straight lines.

And on the other side a family of painters, I mean proper artists who also taught at university art depts and had such a wealth of fabrics and objects of beauty that I can barely move for it all now that my Grandmother has died. Her house was a vision of festivity and glorious texture and colour.

I think I've probably absorbed a lot more from these two factions than I ever could from some random with money.

I'm talking about my taste, and I understand that other people like different things. But I do think that there is something to be said for hard work, craftsmanship, high quality materials and longevity versus something that's made in a factory with no skill, no room for adaptation, and which doesn't fit in either cosmetically or technically with the building it's being shoved into.

You can get into an argument about the subjectivity of beauty if you like but I think this is purely common sense.

Applefallingfromthetree2 Mon 11-Aug-14 17:56:34

I don't see the connection between social class and wooden sash windows. Surely it is an aesthetic thing, UPVC in old houses just doesn't look as good. If you don't believe me just look at all the lovely old terraces of Victorian houses in London. I have seen some of these houses where the replacement UPVC of all styles not only look awful but don't actually open!

UPVC windows and conservatories, like pebble dash and concrete tiles in the past are just a heavily marketed money making exercise that ruins old houses, they are not improvements in the long run. It amuses me the way that EAs sell UPVC as a benefit as in time UPVC will yellow and crack. Of course they can always be painted over with UPVC paint which rather defeats the object.

Coloured UPVC windows on contemporary flats and houses, particularly when the walls are rendered look good but otherwise no.

WaxyDaisy Mon 11-Aug-14 19:34:33

I do agree that people are more important than things. I also agree that there is a lot of obsessing about design/style in those who can afford it. It strikes me as rather a first world problem. I would think the vast majority of the UK population cannot afford to restore/replace original sash windows with custom made wooden efforts. I will not judge them for wanting to be warm, or any other reason they have for doing what they like with their house and unless they are restricted due to a conservation area or listed building status everyone else should butt out.

Lucked Mon 11-Aug-14 19:46:32

I was with you 100% until I bought a house with original windows now I don't know. You can replace upvc with wood if it is your dream house, it isn't a one way street.

Ours are rotten and look horrendous our neighbours true sash upvc look great so I am a bit meh about this now and have window envy for my neighbour. Upvc can look bad but so can wood.

I have 23 freezing windows to sort out, many rotting and all painted shut I haven't made a final decision probably a mixture of new wood, refurbished and maybe uPVC at the back.

SoftSheen Mon 11-Aug-14 19:51:54

We would love to replace the UPVC windows in our Victorian house with proper wooden sash windows. We haven't because to have it done properly would cost £1750 per window.

wasabipeanut Mon 11-Aug-14 22:32:52

We had all ours restored about 4 years ago - they wouldn't have survived another Winter. There were cracked panes, rotting frames and they were rattley and freezing. We have 2 big bays and 3 smaller individual ones and the actual restoration cost about £2500 or so. Then another £2k to paint all the woodwork (newer extension) so whilst it wasn't cheap it wasn't that much more than ripping them all out. Needed one new frame made as it had rotted through. They are all draft proofed, ropes and weights restored etc. and they all work wonderfully. We repainted them this year ourselves (well DH did when made redundant) and the wood was fine.

DH mooted the idea of plastic. I wouldn't entertain it - I always wanted sash windows! The lack of drafts does have one drawback which is bastardised condensation from Autumn to Spring. Double glazing them could fix that but it seems to change the way light hits the glass and I like the existing set up too much. It's such a pretty house.

I am so with you if it wasnt for money we would have had wooden sash double glazing put in here instead of UPVC
But at a quote for £26,000 for the wood and £11,000 for the UPVC and a baby on the way we had no real options.

pluCaChange Mon 11-Aug-14 23:48:54

The economics of property in tjis country is against you.

Private rented accommodation is, in many places, in big demand, so (a) an owner (not paying the daily bills) doesn't have to invest for beauty and his/her own comfort, and (b) that owner (paying the one-off bills) will go for something which "doesn't need maintenance", certainly not painting every five years. Also, (c)whether it's a buy to let or an accidental LL let, it doesn't take an idiot to realise that there is more return on investment if you spent less on the property in yhe first place. Greater investment, on beauty or efficiency,does not equsl higher rent (and LLs who are precious about thrir designer wsllpaper or whatever are just stressed. And poor! shock).

That brings me onto homeowners, who are subject to squeezes, too. With house prices towering over incomes (and especially disposable incomes), perhaps there isn't any money left for new windows, or if there is, those windows will have an economic case to answer: return on investment will be judges on cost and energy efficiency.

Homeowners, whether owner-occupierd or LLs, probably also count on increasing property prices regardless of the quality or quantity of investment. Windfall economics.

Basically if the bricks and mortar weren't such an unproductively costly rip off asset, there might be more money available for windows!

VanitasVanitatum Tue 12-Aug-14 00:05:45

I love my sash windows, they're definitely staying they are cold in winter but I'm getting thick curtains. Need new sills though, not looking forward to that quote!

Isabeller Tue 12-Aug-14 00:11:11

I hope you don't mind me asking but is there a reasonably cost effective way I could apply some kind of secondary glazing to (someone else's, rented) sash window? Their flat is very very cold in winter and they are quite badly affected by it.

If I could do the one in their bedroom they could have at leat one warm room to be in.

HarrietSchulenberg Tue 12-Aug-14 00:34:22

My sash windows used to rattle so loudly that the people across the street complained about the noise onwindy nights. They could hear it through theit double glazing.

We had to wedge the top section against the bottom to muffle it, which left nearly a 2 inch gap. In the winter mychildren's bedrooms were so draughty that they had to come in with us to keep warm. Victorian sashes and Victorian living standards.

It was going to cost double the price of UPVC to replace with new sashes and houses round here (cheap terraces) are not valued as "period homes", just low cost housing. UPVC wad and still is seen as a selling point and increases the value. There were no other period features left (fireplaces etc all long gone) so we went for UPVC fitted by a local company with a great reputation.

Don't get me wrong, I'd have loved replacement sashes,and I felt like a vandal when the old glass came out, but it was worth it for finally having a warm home.

Downside is mould and condensation caused by reduced ventilation, but kept at bay by opening windows regularly, wiping with weak bleach solution and painting with anti-damp undercoat.

And when they were removed the sashes were packed full with Victorian soot as even then they used cheap crap to fill gaps in the box space.

Rooners Tue 12-Aug-14 05:40:00

Isabeller, yes, there is a way and it depends on your budget but I think the best balance of economy vs effectiveness is probably a sheet of perspex, held in placewith strips along the edges - magnetic strips, or I think velcro sometimes? I am not sure as I've never used it.

If this is too dear, and it might be, then brushes are probably the way to go - if the person is on a limited income especially, as they can be provided and fitted free of charge by various national agencies who are on a mission to save energy.

If you look up Coldbusters, that's one of the schemes and we used it to get a new boiler about 5 years ago in our rented flat.

I hope this helps.

Rooners Tue 12-Aug-14 05:42:46

Look here - they may be able to help.

It doesn't matter if it is rented, as long as you can obtain the agent's/landlord's permission in writing.

Don't know if Coldbusters is still going but they change the name every couple of years, it's the same idea.

drspouse Tue 12-Aug-14 05:49:05

We have replacement sash windows (double glazed). Some are now half sash or fake sash because full sash were even more expensive.

We probably won't recoup the cost when we move, sadly, though as we're now in a conservation area (brought in after we did the windows) hopefully any new owners will appreciate them.

Isabeller Tue 12-Aug-14 11:47:47

Thank you Rooners, will follow that up. I could probably do at least one windows with perspex & velcro. smile smile

Woozlebear Tue 12-Aug-14 14:26:27

Totally agree op. I'm lucky that we could afford to get new timber sash widows in the last house we renovated, but I really felt that since we could we had a historical, aesthetic and environmental duty to. Plastic ones cannot be maintained, and dont last long and are entirely unsustainable materials. Our new sashes were beautiful, heavy and solid and the house was warm and quiet with them. I now have a house with original sashes and they are beautiful but horrid - rattly, noisy, draughty. Will replace but only with like.

Loads of people round me say they want to but can't afford to, but then buy a spanking new range rover.

Personally I don't agree that any plastic ones look good. I've looked at brands approved in conservation areas and they still don't have Brighton fasteners and even if the horns are continuous - ie not a separate bit of plastic stuck on that discolours at a different rate and has a visible join- then the wrap around trim is a different material and looks horrible within a few years. Plus you always have the draught proof strip visible. They're a fundamentally different construction from timber sashes.

I also think if you can possibly afford them, getting plastic instead is a false economy as they only look clean and new for about 5 years and any dents or knocks can't be filled and painted. They'll never last a lifetime.

A lot of people also seem to think that you can have 'sashes' or ' wooden windows' OR double glazing. As if its a choice. Any new window HAS to be double glazed now.

I know a good company in sw London if anyone is looking.

Rooners Wed 13-Aug-14 08:36:15

Woozle thank you for a great post that makes a lot of good points.

I agree that the construction is totally different in the UPVC versions - also I've read about quite a lot of issues people have with UPVC ones jamming, getting stuck etc so they aren't like a better version of the wooden ones, or something - UPVC isn't suited to this design really.

It can be made to be fairly good but will never be as strong - it's like trying to force a material with totally different properties into a design that works superbly in the original material.

Like trying to build your furniture out of UPVC. Plastic dining table anyone? Plastic kitchen cabinets?! It would be ridiculous.

peggyundercrackers Wed 13-Aug-14 13:28:06

we have an old Victorian house and back in the 60s someone decided to remove the mullions out of the windows and replace the two sash windows with one huge swivel window which was 8ft x 8ft in 4 of our rooms and they did some strange building work with the other windows where they blocked the bottom of the windows up with wood to raise the level of the sill. we already knew we wanted to go back to sash windows when we looked at the house as the windows which had been there since the 60s were finished and the ugliest things I have ever seen.

we got a few people in to give us a quote on changing the windows over, the first few quotes were for wooden sash windows and just to replace the windows not including the frames/boxes or the stonework required to put the mullions back or the paintwork for the windows we were quoted between £26-£30k - there was 14 windows. Once we started digging more though we found the sash boxes had also been removed and there was no weights, sills were completely rotten etc. etc. the price went up another 10k - there was no way we were going to spend £40k replacing 14 windows... We had the relevant stonework carried out and then put in PVC sash windows and it cost us about £7k for the windows alone. we bought the windows direct from supplier and had our own joiner fit them - we haven't looked back since - from the street 30mtrs away you would never know they weren't wooden windows.

although we live in a conservation area the rules didn't really matter to us as the windows were not original so we could not be forced to put back to original.

its all well and good saying do this, do that but its not always financially viable to do these things - in our case replacing the windows with wooden sash windows would not have added £40k to the price of the house so it makes no financial sense. As someone else mentioned up thread its a house first and foremost not a museum piece.

Rooners Wed 13-Aug-14 18:14:54

Peggy, I can completely understand what you did and why you did it. I think you did well to even consider what they looked like, and replacing the replacements was a charitable act in itself.

You sound like you have markedly improved the house. I'm grateful to people like you. It's those who take OUT perfectly serviceable original sash windows (like your house's previous owners) that I find it difficult to understand.

Honsandrevels Wed 13-Aug-14 19:14:39

The previous owners of our Victorian house had most of the sash windows restored. They don't rattle at all and although I'm sure upvc would be warmer, they look a thousand times nicer. Upvc, even sash ones, have a modern sheen to the glass which marks then put as upvc a mile off.

The person who suggested it was a class issue, my v proper, staunchly middle class mil prefers all things fresh, modern and upvc over run down and old (her opinion of our house!).

ObfusKate Wed 13-Aug-14 19:38:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ObfusKate Wed 13-Aug-14 19:39:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ObfusKate Wed 13-Aug-14 19:43:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PigletJohn Wed 13-Aug-14 19:51:48

Opinions differ. In an old house I prefer original, or if necessary restored or repro features. I dislike plastic doors and windows for several reasons.

I am impatient with people who go for plastic because they think it would be cheaper. It would also be cheaper to wear a plated ring rather than a gold one, or to put a tarpaulin over your house instead of tiles.

I do realise that most of us don't have unlimited funds, but good wooden windows and doors can last 200 years or more with simple care and routine maintenance. If plastic ones last 20 years you should be gratified.

pluCaChange Wed 13-Aug-14 20:47:43

The trouble is that commitment to maintenance, though. If people are not going to live somewhere longer than 5 years, they may well not bother maintaining wooden windows, and then their plastic decision leaves them apparently quids in. It doesn't even have to be as dramatic as "flipping": just, for example, for a family, moving for a primary school catchment, then moving for a secondary school (relying on the sibling rule for younger DC). I know not every property decision is driven by DC, but school admissions are a meaningful schedule-setter in a market. The road near us, next to the highly-rated primary, has grown a garden of estate agent signs: aiming for the January admission date!

Short-termism also applies if the owners don't live in the property (LLs), so get no benefit from any beauty.

peggyundercrackers Wed 13-Aug-14 23:20:37

Rooners when the old windows came out it was only an old house, in the 60s people were modernising their houses... Architectural features like panel doors, cornices etc were done away with in favour of smooth doors, smooth cornices, smooth fireplaces or no fireplaces with central heating. Looking after Architectural features and keeping houses original looking is quite a modern thing - the phase will pass once again though and these features will once again go out of fashion... Everything goes in circles!

rockybalboa Wed 13-Aug-14 23:25:41

Agree. We are Victorian terraced and I paid a lot to replace the nasty 70s metal framed windows with wooden sashes. They are indeed an absolute fucker to paint and keep maintained with fresh paint but some of the upvc monstrosities round here have to be seen to be believed. I put front doors in the same category. Must be wooden, must be 4 panel (ideally not glass) or I get the rage.

peggyundercrackers Wed 13-Aug-14 23:31:45

The big issue with doors is a lot of Victorian doors are quite big and heavy and it's very difficult to get someone to make a new door to the same size. 9 out of 10 times no one will make a door to the same size and if they will they wont give you any kind of guarantee/warranty because of warping or guaranteeing the existing frame will be fine with the weight of the new door. That coupled with buildings that don't have 2 straight walls in them it's extremely difficult.

rockybalboa Wed 13-Aug-14 23:37:43

Our door just came from Magnet. Victorian style 4 panel hardwood door. Job done. Doesn't need to be any more sophisticated than that!

ObfusKate Wed 13-Aug-14 23:39:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Thu 14-Aug-14 00:00:43

Peggy, you've reminded me of the replacement front door I had installed - I'd been quoted £2.5k for a wooden door that would have a replica of the original style, but had to go with a cheaper option (still wooden, still styled to be more traditional but it's as flimsy as hell) and it just highlights how squinty my whole flat is. There is a huge slant in the door frame which is accentuated by the panelling on the door. My hall has a running slope to the left as you enter, and while the internal doors are all 1950s replacements, you can still see the weird angles the door frames have & only 1 door out of 5 actually closes.

The transient nature of the home owners in my neck of the woods means that 10/15/20 years for UPVC replacement windows are seen as an acceptable (and in many cases a desirable) option because you are dealing with large, difficult to heat, rooms with high ceilings & draughty fireplaces. No one hangs around long enough to worry about possibly getting 200 yrs use out of more traditional, well maintained windows or doors.

Rooners Thu 14-Aug-14 08:11:59

Good point about investing in a house and I can see why people don't. If i didn't love where I was, I wouldn't invest much in it.

I've invested in our rented flat because I love it and have been happy here for 6 years - we're only moving because we can buy somewhere at last.

But I haven't restored the windows obviously. I have replaced a horrible warped, 80s 'stable door' in the kitchen that did not fit, with a pitch pine, perfect fit, Victorian glazed one which cost me £1.42 on ebay. It actually shuts and the other one didn't.

Just goes to show - and also, I've just bought two 6 panel interior doors from a local charity warehouse for a tenner each, to replace internal doors in our new flat that have been removed in the past.

So you can get this stuff if you want it, for a pittance. Finding old sash windows is very hard work in contrast, as people just chuck them in a skip.

It's sacrilegious imo.

wonkylegs Thu 14-Aug-14 08:14:20

I wouldn't dream of replacing our front door. Mainly because it's 4foot wide, solid hardwood with original mouldings & weighs a ton - our joiner who has rehung it and provided us with more sympathetically hidden draught seals says they would quote several thousand pounds to replace it. Thankfully it's in fab nick and just required a bit of TLC.
It's main advantage is that moving furniture through it is very easy grin

Rooners Thu 14-Aug-14 08:28:26

Wonky grin We've got one of those as well - they are brilliant aren't they? I'm going to miss it so much.

Where we're going has a 3ft front door which is still lovely, though shabby and it doesn't seem to hang quite right. I've got one second hand that was less than £200, but will want the glass replacing as it has the wrong number on it smile that'll be another couple of hundred at least, but I've found a man who makes panels in the original way so they are basically a new version of the old ones.

This is our replacement door.

sacbina Thu 14-Aug-14 09:49:33

I've got 5 x 6 panelled doers which I've tried to give away, sell for 99p, no bloomin takers. taking up valuable space. had to be replaced with fire doors

anyone want some doors in west London?

peggyundercrackers Thu 14-Aug-14 13:09:02

internal doors are quite easy to come by but external doors are much harder to get, ours is about 7ft 8 tall and just a touch under 4ft wide - were victorians really that big? - I would love to go to Magnet rocky and get one of those... we were quoted £3k+VAT last time someone would give us a quote (5 yrs ago now), needless to say its been patched up for the time being.

mumminio Fri 15-Aug-14 23:58:24

Any recommendations for companies in London area who repair/replace sash windows, and do a good job for a fair price?

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