Are all sash windows the same?


Sash windows are the epitome of the style and grace of Britain’s historic architecture, adding elegance and romance to buildings. Traditional sash windows date back to the 17th century during the English baroque period, when the landscape of Britain became a contrast of extravagance and simplicity.

sash windows west midlands

Sash windows make a huge difference to the appearance of buildings, making traditional Georgian, Victorian and Regency homes true to period and giving modern structures an impressive, stately appeal. When it comes to the restoration or construction of sash windows, we are often asked “are all sash windows the same”? Despite the similarity in appearance, there are several differences in the overall make-up of the window pieces.


If you are looking for sash windows to refurbish an old property or looking for windows for a new build, you may have seen several different names for them. Often, the names will all refer to the traditional sash, however there are some slight subtleties that make the difference.


  • Sliding sash – The sliding sash, a shortened term for vertical double-hung box-framed sliding sash window, is the traditional sash window from the original construction.


  • Single-hung sash – Designed to open one way, either from the top or the bottom as they contain one mobile and one static panel.


  • Double-hung sash – Designed to open from both the bottom and the top as they have two mobile panels.


  • Horizontal Sliding – Sometimes referred to as a Yorkshire Slider. These have sashes that run horizontally rather than vertically


  • Modern sash – Although not traditional, modern sash windows can be built with a hinge mechanism to slide and tilt inwards and outwards for easy cleaning.


As well as this, there are some slight differences in the overall assembly of sash windows. Some examples are listed here:


  • Glazing – Traditional sash windows are single glazed. For reconstructed or refurbished period properties, this is often still the case. Nowadays, modern building regulations state that all windows must be double glazed as standards are set for energy and efficiency. Slight changes have been made to the traditional sash to accomplish this, however, it is possible to be done without compromising on the traditional look and feel of the original sash.


  • Arrangement of the panels – Sash windows come in all different sizes. Generally referenced by the number of glass panes in each sash such as 2 over 2 or 6 over 6


  • Size – Classic Victorian sash windows have a size ratio of the height being twice the width. Many old buildings conform to this panel arrangement, however, sash windows can be tailored to fit any window size.


  • Weights – Counter-weights within the sash frame are typically made of steel, lead or cast iron depending on the materials available at the time of construction. Counter-weights in modern day sash windows have been replaced by spring balances.


  • Materials – Traditional sash windows are made from high-quality timber, typically a well-seasoned softwood that has a long life when treated properly. Modern day sash frames are often replaced by plastic materials or PVC. Many are also constructed using composite materials such as wood clad with aluminium.


Grosvenor Restoration is a specialist in the restoration of traditional and classical sash windows. We would love to hear from you to discuss your sash window restoration project.