Maintaining traditional timber box sash windows

Dating back to the late seventeenth century, the sliding box sash window operated by weights, sash cord and pulleys was widely used in building design up until the late 20th century.  When maintained and painted regularly and used frequently, traditional timber sash windows can give decades of useful service.

Like Like any other high performance, engineered product, custom-made sliding sash windows will require some form of maintenance during their lifetime in order to ensure a long life, efficient performance and visual appeal.   Failure to keep to a planned maintenance schedule may, at best, ruin their appearance and, at worst, could lead to the early deterioration of the components.

Many of the common problems encountered with box sash windows can be attributed to poor maintenance including sticking sashes, failure of the joints, failure of the putty and timber rot. Whilst many period properties still maintain their original sliding box sash windows which will have been regularly painted and may have been repaired over the years, we encounter many that are beyond repair and require timber replacements that replicate the originals whilst upgrading their thermal performance, security and functionality.

A regular maintenance schedule for timber replacement or original traditional sliding box sash windows should incorporate the following:

Cleaning

Regular cleaning of the glass and timber surfaces will improve the appearance and functionality of the windows whilst offering the opportunity to inspect for any developing defects.  The most important elements to maintain are the coating system and the sash cord and pulley wheels.  It is also advisable to check the entire unit (interior and exterior) including the glazing unit and weatherseals for any signs of deterioration.  The type and level of maintenance required will depend on the location of your property and exposure to weather.  Joinery in a south facing position in a coastal area will deteriorate far quicker than one that is north facing and sheltered from the wind and rain.

Please be aware of your own safety when cleaning windows.  Avoid standing on chairs or over reaching.

Painting

In order to protect the joinery and putty from weathering, windows will generally require repainting after five years depending on the coating system that you have chosen to use, the location of your property and exposure to weather.  Redecorating in good time will reduce the amount of preparation that will be required.