Guides to Fine Arts Like Painting, Designing, Architecture, Sculpture, Photography and More

By Archie Davis

Sash windows have a charm all of their own. They have an ageless quality makes them suitable for use in modern and historical buildings of any form of architecture with equal success and add an elegance to any style. Unfortunately too often people are replacing these unique windows instead of considering sash window refurbishment and upgrading.

The Dutch artist, Vermeer, preserved these windows for posterity in his masterpiece called The Milkmaid. The inventor and designer of this concept created the design in such a way to allow cooling breezes to circulate in a room in an era that was centuries away from air conditioning and electric appliances. Sashes of these six-by-six configurations dating from homes built in the Georgian and Victorian eras are still being used nowadays.

At the time of these sashes first being utilized windows had to carry very thick and heavy pane glass. The manner in which the counterweights, pulleys and cords work gives the operator of opening and closing the sashes with ease. The way in which they move past one another also gives cleaners easy access for cleaning.

The handwork done by those carpenters that first made these sashes was of such fine quality that many of the original windows have lasted through years of opening and closing. It is unfortunately this continual wear and tear as well as shrinkage and swelling in times of climate changes that have led to frames no longer fitting snugly. Wood rubbing against another wood also causes wearing away.

All these factors have caused sashes to rattle in the wind and allow draughts into rooms. These draughts create problems when one is trying to warm up an area and tends to add to heating bill costs. New methods of draught proofing and double glazed panes can solve this problem very effectively. At the same time one may want to secure the windows with new special latches that are easily removed on the inside in emergencies.

Most refurbishing is done at the home and even badly chipped wood can be fixed without removing frames. A complete window is only removed if its frame is severely damaged. Work to repair it will be done in a workshop on the company premises. The weights, cords and pulleys are removed and overhauled before being replaced, if damaged new materials will be used.

There are products available that closely resemble old fashioned sashes and are used to replace irreparable frames. These replicas are of such a high quality that they have been given the nod of approval by National Heritage Councils for use in listed buildings.

In the United States these windows are known as hung sashes and are to be found in single and double sashes. In the case of the single type only one section opens whereas the double operates as a normal sash window with both windows being able to open.

The design and concept of sashes are unique, elegant and bring a sense of stylishness to the frontage of any style of building. They add a charm which if removed would be lost forever. It is therefore vital that a person seriously consider a sash window refurbishment before removing any windows in need of repair.

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