Sash windows and casement windows bring priceless benefits to homes and urban landscapes. They upgrade the places where we work, live and socialise.
In fact, if we sit back for a moment and really think about the areas where we feel emotionally content and happy, it’s highly likely that somewhere in our thoughts will reside the many areas of built beauty, in which wooden windows will play a subtle, but significant role.
Financially speaking, I’d say that wooden sash windows (and wooden casement windows for that matter) have an almost equal footing with emotional value. In a recent survey by English Heritage, 80% of estate agents surveyed felt that original features, such as sash windows, added financial value to the price of homes. Not only that, but 78% of the those surveyed felt that retaining original features – such as sash windows – helped to sell a property more quickly. So there we are. Good emotionally, and good financially.
Great news for all, then? Well, not quite.
Those living outside of conservation areas or not in listed buildings are open to choose for themselves what materials they choose for new windows, meaning an inevitable rise of cheaper (emotionally and financially) man-made materials got to deprive the many once beautiful but unprotected swathes outside of the 3000 or so conservation areas within the United Kingdom.
Plastic windows perhaps have their place in some buildings, but their position in maintaining the visual history and financial security of much of the United Kingdom’s housing stock cannot be given.
It’s not just housing stock, of course. Many high streets have greatly suffered as a result of replacing original shop frontage with this generic and unmatched building. Could this material be accelerating the demise of many high streets?
Often the removal of sash windows or casement windows occurs because of unfamiliarity with renovation costs, and an incorrect belief that the costs of doing so are too high. Many people believe that tired wooden windows simply can’t be renovated, and that wood as a substance is bad for the environment, or even that the rising costs of heating our homes makes it impossible to retain our wooden windows.
Of course wooden windows are more expensive than plastic ones, but home-owners are often truly left in the dark on sound information of wooden sash window costs, and other facts that surround their use in our home, offices and shops and, importantly, the life expectancy of a plastic window!
To shed a bit of light on costs, the starting price for a restoration of a sash window with ourselves is £245.00. Our sash window and restoration double glazing costs start at £585.00. In all cases, our customers are left with fully restored and/or beautiful brand new and guaranteed windows; fully draft proofed, environmentally sound, conservation standard and professionally painted (with a seamless guarantee) by our own painters.
So, retaining sash windows is good for the financial value of our houses, but less selfishly, we perhaps aught to remember that our unique and historic environment is a shared resource and some things are just worth striving for.