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Q & A - Sunday Times - Sash Windows

Question submitted to the Sunday Times May 2016

I have just purchased a house where all of the sash windows need replacing. What are my options? AH, London Before you do anything else, check whether your property is listed or in a conservation area, in which case planning permission will be required for replacing your windows.

Billy Heyman, managing director of BTL Property answers your question;

Before you do anything else, check whether your property is listed or in a conservation area, in which case planning permission will be required for replacing your windows.

You then need to decide whether you want the windows to be uPVC or hardwood timber. In general, we've found that timber sash windows hold more value, as they're typically more popular than uPVC, but there are pros and cons to both. To begin with, although uPVC doesn't have the traditional look of timber, and some people are put off by its shininess, it doesn't need to be maintained. If you choose timber, you will need to repaint your sash windows every three years or so. You'll pay less for uPVC, too: it costs about £1,000 to replace two windows and a sash box.

If you do opt for timber, there are a number of ways that sash windows can open and close. First, there's the lead-weighted method, which is the most expensive. It involves lead weights that are exactly balanced to the weight of the sliding window within the sash box - a box or casing around the window - thus preventing the window from falling down. While traditional, these windows can be quite noisy in their operation and are difficult to adjust if there's a fault.

How long they last will depend on how well maintained they are and how often they are used. A well-made sash window will last for decades - we regularly replace original sash windows in Victorian houses that are still working. For supplying and fitting, this method costs £1,400-£1,650 for two windows and a sash box.

Sash windows are sometimes made to open on an internal hinge, in the style of a casement window, but a more popular option is to use spring balances. These pull the windows tightly closed, are easy to adjust if there is a problem, and can be repaired without much fuss. They are also more secure and run up and down more smoothly than the clunky lead weights. To have spring balances supplied and fitted costs about £1,300 for two windows and a box.

Finally, you need to decide whether to choose double or triple glazing - go for the latter if you want external noise reduction. Single glazing is not normally allowed, even in a conservation area, as building regulations demand better heat conservation. In the case of double and triple glazing, the sash box will be thicker than your original window, and you will need to consider the fact that the box will sit proud within the room, if you are using the original openings. This protrusion is easily concealed with a casing or an apron - similar to an architrave on a door that essentially covers any edges - but the look often comes as a surprise to some of our clients, so be prepared.



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