Traditional windows

Windows are the eyes of a building. Changing them can have a dramatic effect on the character, appearance and architectural harmony of a building or street. That is why we give advice on how to preserve or replace traditional windows.

More information can be found in our downloads.

Repair and maintenance

The view is often that traditional windows can be expensive to maintain, difficult to repair, or impossible to improve. In most cases there are cost-effective alternatives to replacing them.

If you have a window frame or sill that is partly rotten, a joiner might be able to help. They might splice in new timber or repair the damage using a filler.

To improve draught proofing, insulation, and ease of access for cleaning, consider -

  • weather stripping
  • secondary glazing
  • fitting 'simplex' window ironmongery

this allows traditional sashes to swing inwards.

If you have a sash window that is stuck or hard to open or close, you might need to get heavy paint build-up removed. Or you can get a joiner to fit new cords, weights, and pulleys.

Old glass of historic interest can be salvaged using an infra-red heating device. This softens hard putty.

Replacing windows

When there is no other alternative, replacement windows should match the originals in proportion, design, and position. It is possible to reproduce traditional windows. Try builders, joiners, or restorers for a tailored service. Many traditional designs are still mass produced, so you may be able to buy them ready made.

Be careful to avoid replacement windows whose makers claim that they match historic details when they do not. Poor reproductions can affect the character, appearance and architectural harmony of a building. They can even reduce the value of a property. UPVCu windows crudely reproduce some authentic features, though designs improve all the time. It is possible to get PVCu windows that follow traditional designs more closely. These can be expensive. Large paned Victorian and Edwardian designs are often more convincing than Georgian small paned, or 'arts and crafts' types.