Navigating Sash Window Upgrades: From Draught Proofing to Full Replacement

Refurbishing sash windows

If you live in an older home with an original wooden sash window, you’ve likely experienced drafts, sticking, peeling paint, and other annoyances that come with ageing windows. Before you consider a full window replacement, it’s worth exploring the benefits of refurbishing sash windows. You Choose Windows, specializing in replacing windows in blocks of flats, offers a less intrusive and more affordable solution that can significantly improve the comfort and function of your period windows.

Not only is it a less intrusive solution, but it’s also more affordable and can significantly improve the comfort and function of your period windows.

This article delves into the range of sash window upgrade options, from simple draught-proofing to a comprehensive makeover.

What upgrades are available for the sash window

There are many upgrade options and sash window services available to enhance the performance of traditional sash windows while retaining their classic styling.

From simple draught-proofing to full double glazing, these sash window upgrades allow you to improve energy efficiency, sound insulation, security, functionality, and aesthetics. Investing in certain upgrades can increase comfort and reduce energy costs considerably compared to installing brand-new window units.

When thoughtfully selected, certain upgrades can also maintain the original architectural integrity. Consider which of the following sash window upgrades best suit your needs and budget to make your sashes perform as beautifully as they look:

  • Double Glazing – Installing a second pane of glass creates an insulating air gap that improves thermal efficiency.
  • Secondary Glazing – Adding a secondary interior window provides additional insulation.
  • Draught Proofing – Applying brush or rubber seals around the sashes reduces air leakage.
  • Sash Locks – Replacing worn sash locks improves air tightness when closed.
  • Weight Balances – Upgrading old sash cords and weights enables easier opening and closing.
  • Low-E Coatings – Special coatings on the glass reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.
  • Triple Glazing – Adding a third pane of glass boosts insulation for very cold climates.
  • Acoustic Glass – Special noise-reducing laminated or insulated glass decreases outside noise.
  • UV Coatings – Glass coatings help block harmful ultraviolet light from entering.
  • Traditional Styling, adding original features – Patterned or stained glass enhances the visual appeal.
  • Hidden Trickle Vents – Provides controllable background ventilation.

Start with Draught Proofing for a Quick Fix

Before undertaking any major upgrades, it’s wise to start with simple draught-proofing to plug air leaks. Options include:

  • Applying self-adhesive foam or rubber strips around window frames and sashes. Ensure a tight seal without restricting operation.
  • Attaching flexible plastic or brush seals to the sash rails. The brushes compress when closing to block gaps.
  • Fitting sash locks to hold windows firmly closed and improve sealing.
  • Installing slim double-glazed panes inside existing sashes to reduce single-glazing draughts.

Draught proofing provides an instant improvement in thermal performance and comfort for very little cost.

Refurbish Existing Sashes for Longer-Term Benefits

If draught proofing alone doesn’t suffice, a sash window refurbishment could be the next best step. This may involve:

  • Stripping old paint and making repairs to window frames and sashes.
  • Reglazing cracked or missing glass. Consider upgrading to double glazing.
  • Sanding down, priming and repainting with high-quality paints.
  • Upgrading hardware such as sash cords, weights and catches.

A professional refurbishment breathes new life into existing sash windows, restores operation and can enhance efficiency. It’s less disruptive and more affordable than a full replacement.

For Maximum Efficiency, Opt for sash windows reglazing

Single-glazed sash windows can be highly inefficient when it comes to retaining heat in your home. The single pane of glass allows cold air to penetrate and warm air to escape, resulting in higher heating costs. However, before replacing the windows entirely, consider reglazing as a cost-effective solution to improve efficiency.

Reglazing involves removing the existing putty and glazing compound, scraping any paint or debris from the rabbet, and installing new glazing along with improved weatherstripping. This creates an improved seal that enhances the window’s insulation properties. When done properly, reglazing can make single-glazed sashes perform nearly as well as new double-glazed windows.

The benefits of reglazing over window replacement include:

  • Lower cost – Reglazing costs around 25% of full window replacement
  • Retained aesthetic – Original wooden sash and trim are preserved
  • Improved efficiency – Air leakage reduced by up to 50%
  • Enhanced comfort – Less draft and improved temperature regulation
  • Sustainability – Existing windows are reused rather than discarded
  • Time savings – Reglazing takes less than a day versus weeks for new builds

To maximize the efficiency and performance of your single-glazed sash windows, proper reglazing is an effective solution.

Consult a reputable contractor to determine if your sashes are good candidates. With quality materials and proper technique, reglazing can restore the insulation to near original levels, saving you money while retaining the charm of your existing windows.


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