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Sash windows; composite or not?

(34 Posts)
SayrraT Thu 11-Feb-16 20:37:42

We are doing up our house just now and have decided that we need to put in new windows. Once we'd done the rest of the work it made it clear how bad the windows are.

The house is a Victorian sandstone house and we are trying to keep a lot of the features or replace/restore them i.e. one room had damaged cornicing so I have got some made to match. At the same time we do not have an endless supply of money.

Anyway, we have had a few quotes for new sash windows (uPVC, definitely cannot afford wood) but can't decide if we want composite wood effect or not. The windows we've decided to go for look very good and come with decorative horns and traditionally styled handles. We have seen them in plain uPVC but not with wood effect, I wondered if anyone else had them and what finish would you recommend?

The house next door has uPVC sash and they look good, I am just worried that we regret whatever we pick!

linspins Fri 12-Feb-16 09:57:12

We has a small Victorian terraced house before our current one, and it had really vile 1970s windows. We replaced them with aluminium sash ones, which properly slid up and down and had the features of real wood ones. They were fab, I love sash windows. I wouldn't buy upvc ones though. Wooden sash windows have slim frames, which upvc ones can't copy, but aluminium ones are slim too.

NotWithoutMyMerkin Fri 12-Feb-16 10:10:04

We had upvc heritage sash windows in wood effect put in and they're great. Can post pics of you want

MaynJune Fri 12-Feb-16 11:03:23

My neighbour got upvc sash windows put in, as have many other people in this area.
They have to be white (conservation area, Victorian sandstone terraces) and the new ones look really good and work very well.
The white just looks like traditional painted wooden sashes.

PippaHotamus Fri 12-Feb-16 16:35:20

The only thing I know about UPVC sash windows is that they have a different operating mechanism to traditional sashes, and that means they often get jammed, apparently.

They will never be as strong as the wooden sort, and also, they will be subject to that bane of UPVC which is algae growth after a few years.

The protective coating wears off and then the mould gets in and you get that nasty grey staining, that can't be cleaned or removed.

I think UPVC are a false economy. I would replace those that desperately need it, with wood, and have the rest renovated. You will find it very effective and far, far cheaper than replacing with UPVC.

linspins Fri 12-Feb-16 16:37:39

On the above topic, our aluminium ones slid nicely and did not jam.

PippaHotamus Fri 12-Feb-16 16:39:21

Also a high end UPVC will cost the same as wood anyway.

Your house will be happier with wood, that's for certain - old houses were never intended to have plastic stuck into the walls.

We only have one UPVC window in our Victorian house, and it makes an awful noise when it's windy, because it moves around. It's basically held in with silicon. Wooden windows can be almost endlessly repaired and restored.

I think in a few years people will look back on the UPVC craze and wonder why they did it.

PippaHotamus Fri 12-Feb-16 16:39:50

Can you even get ally sash windows?! smile

PippaHotamus Fri 12-Feb-16 16:40:30

I mean now. They sound alright tbh. Anyting is better than plastic.

drspouse Fri 12-Feb-16 16:43:54

My understanding is that uPVC deteriorates after a short while anyway.
We have false sash windows in wood - some have half sashes (only the bottom opens, but sash style) but I think one is sash style but actually a casement. Both styles are a lot cheaper.

wowfudge Fri 12-Feb-16 17:02:35

Can't say that I've noticed algae or mould on upvc windows. It's a constant debate on here - wood v upvc. Then someone throws aluminium into the mix!

PippaHotamus Fri 12-Feb-16 17:15:25

Yes always a debate grin

These show a upvc sash which doesnt yet have staining (unless it's there under all the muck) but does have discoloration to the horn detail, bowing, cracking to the bar, and generally looks incredibly crap.

Also see the disgusting silicon ridge running down the side.

I think it's only a few years old.

wowfudge Fri 12-Feb-16 18:43:55

To be fair, they look as though they haven't been cleaned in quite a while though? Any windows and frames need a wash down periodically. The muck is more noticeable than the silicone.

PippaHotamus Fri 12-Feb-16 18:55:31

Well yes but the horn detail is a different colour to the rest of it - and it's sagging badly along the bar.

I can't imagine wanting something like that on my house, when you can have the old windows restored for less.

I'd never part from my proper sash windows. At least when they do get a bit below par you can give them a coat of paint.

peggyundercrackers Fri 12-Feb-16 19:06:50

You will be fine with upvc, wood is expensive - must say I've never seen a upvc window cost the same as a wooden sash. Lots of our neighbours have upvc sash Windows and have had them for many years - I've never known any of them to jam when opening or closing. The mechanism is slightly different to wooden sash Windows in that its a spring that provides the same function as a weight in wooden one so no real way they can jam either open or closed.

It is true that upvc frames ar thicker but you don't really notice it from a distance. I've never seen a upvc window that has been discoloured really but I would guess they get like that because they haven't been looked after.

Have a look at for some sash Windows, they also give you an idea of prices on their site.

OliviaBenson Fri 12-Feb-16 19:20:23

Could you get a local joiner to quote for a repair? I've seen miracles worked. You can get them draft stripped to help with heat loss- it's works brilliantly.

You may devalue your house if you rip out the windows.

SayrraT Fri 12-Feb-16 22:29:05

Thanks everyone, I'm on my phone but I'll try to respond to you all.

merkin a picture would be great if you didn't mind.

I'll take some of our windows to let you see them.

pippa the pvc windows in our rented flat never grew algae or became discoloured and I hardly ever cleaned them. We were there for 5 years.

We've already had one cheap window put in (was a temporary window because original was totally destroyed) and the joiner screwed the window in, it's not held in by silicone.

How expensive were the windows in the picture you've added?

We've had a quote (actually 2 quotes) for wooden sashes and they both came in at over £10,000 so the pvc is certainly cheaper!

Olivia not sure how easy it would be to repair the windows as I think the previous owner (had house 65 years) did some horrible attempts at repairing and probably damaged them more. I'll upload pictures tomorrow or Sunday.

We would prefer wood but we can't afford it so that was why I was asking about composite (that's the wood effect pvc isn't it?) compared with plain. Does anyone have that and is it worth the extra money (~30% extra). Quote for 10 uPVC sash windows was £6000, got 3 quotes and all were much the same with the wood effect it was nearer £8000.

PippaHotamus Sat 13-Feb-16 07:02:03

I don't know how expensive they were, they aren't mine - I took the pictures on a street near where we live.

I think if you really don't object to the look of them, or the feel of them or how difficult they are to repair if they break, then there's nothing I can say to put you off.

What Olivia says is true though. It does devalue your house, in the longer term, even if they look quite nice initially. Plus do we really need more plastic in the world.

Anyway I'll leave you to it smile

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 13-Feb-16 07:15:25

I will take some pictures today.

Got to say we went almost the highest spec UPVC you could get and they still were a good amount cheaper than wood

One of the differences between the cheaper and more expensive upvc is mechanically integrated horns so they don't look like those on the pic below.

PippaHotamus Sat 13-Feb-16 08:26:59

Yes that would make a difference. Also losing the black seal, which always looks so horribly wrong.

I think if you are thinking short term then the price difference will appear significant however you're probably looking at wooden ones lasting around 60-80 years and the UPVC probably around 30-40. So it kind of depends on how long you want them to look good for.

That's not conjecture, that's research I found in a link earlier (some kind of environmental agency)
plus the carbon footprint is far smaller.

I can see why people go with UPVC. I just think it's probably an inferior product.

OliviaBenson Sat 13-Feb-16 08:35:49

Do put picture up OP and I'll take a look 😀

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 13-Feb-16 08:47:24

These are our windows

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 13-Feb-16 08:50:33

During install - new upvc window at the top, original wooden sash on the bottom

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 13-Feb-16 08:50:59

Bathroom window from the inside

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sat 13-Feb-16 08:52:10

Bedroom window from the inside (again during install hence dirty fingerprints and unpainted architrave/trim)

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