When moving into an older property it is highly likely that it will have its traditional sash windows. Your initial instinct may be to rip them out and replace them with modern double glazing but before you do, there are some things you may want to consider. Timber framed sash windows have been part of our heritage for many hundreds of years, they can add value to your property, they are more ecologically friendly, and don’t need to live up to their reputation of being drafty. It is fairly easy to draft proof traditional sash windows as part of the over all restoration, and once you have, you will be glad you decided to keep them.

In October 2009 there was a study done by the Glasgow Caledonian University, commissioned by English Heritage into just how easy it would be to bring a sash window to the levels of modern standards. The conclusions were that major improvements are possible. Before you go all out removing any draught that comes in through your sash window, it is important to remember that a certain level of ventilation is a must, especially if you have a gas fire, boiler or cooker.

There are several ways available for you to draught proof your windows. Several are less successful, although their reduced cost and the fact they can be fitted yourself, may make them seem more attractive – these include flexible metal strips nailed into the runners, or rubber seals that sit on the inside edge of the window. The better option is to go for the brush seals that are inserted into the edges of the sash themselves – although the initial cost may be higher then the other methods, long term it will be cheaper then constantly replacing the more ineffectual metal and rubber alternatives.

There are other advantages to using brushes over the alternatives:

  • By choosing to get your draught proofing done by a professional firm – it means that the job will be finished to a high level, they may also replace any broken glass and missing putty.
  • While they are draught proofing your windows you may want to ask the company if they can put in thicker glass (so long as this won’t damage a historic building) which will help reduce the sound that gets through as well as the cold. They would also need to increase the weight of the counterbalances for this to work.
  • In most cases the draught proofing will be practically invisible, unlike the metal strips and rubber seals, so it will preserve the look of the property

The other advantage to draught proofing traditional sash windows is that it will save you money – On average the cost of draught proofing your sash windows will be recouped in 5 – 25 years, when that is compared against the cost of replacing them for plastic framed, double glazing which will take between 60 and 100 years to pay for itself, the saving is clear.