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By Kris Colwell

Sashes designed with the ability to open at the bottom and top to allow a breeze to circulate were brought into being in a time long before air conditioners. This design was also able to cope with the very heavy pane glass that was available in those years. These feature windows are unique and as such it would be a shame to loose them. A sash window refurbishment may be a way to safeguard their existence.

The concept was so clever that little of the design has been changed from the first sashes made in the seventeenth century. New and improved materials have however been incorporated and this allows for easier operation.

Wood is very susceptible to climatic changes and shrinks and swells and degenerates rapidly if not looked after and treated regularly. With all the wear and tear these wooden frames and runners no longer fit as snugly as they should and this results in draughts and windows rattling in the wind. This damage has a further knock on effect on the home's heating bills as without draught proofing a room takes longer to heat.

Living in a home with original sashes can cause a person a headache as at some time or another the question whether to replace or refurbish will need to be answered. Keeping the old world look of the original sashes may swing a person's final decision towards refurbishment.

Most of the work required in a refurbishment can be done on site without major disruption. Frames that are badly damaged are removed and taken to a company's workshop for a total overall before replacing. Frames that have chips or pieces missing pulleys cords and counterweights can all be repaired or replaced on site.

Many new advances have been made in the quality of materials that are incorporated into the repairs giving sashes their former beauty. Whilst doing the refurbishing draught proofing and modern double glazed panes can be put in to ensure improved installation which could also lead to heating bills decreasing. With the feature of being able to push these windows open easily one may want to consider adding security latches to prevent illegal entry. These latches are easily removed from the inside in any emergency situations.

Many of these old buildings have been declared historical homes and are listed with National Councils. No restoration or alterations can be carried out without receiving prior permission from these bodies. Nowadays there is a selection of replicated high quality Victorian sash windows with double glazed panes that are very similar in appearance to original sashes and permission has been given for these to be used as replacements for frames too badly damaged to repair.

A sash window refurbishment may be time consuming and in some cases expensive but if a person wishes to preserve their homes timeless charmingly elegant look it is the only option. Refurbishment companies take great pride in their work and use traditional carpentry and joinery techniques combined with modern materials to restore these sashes to pristine condition.

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