Top tips for draught proofing your sash windows

By Sash Windows
Posted on:
Draught-proofing windows-in-Reigate, external view

Sliding sash windows are one of the most recognisable architectural features of a period home, especially in buildings dating from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. Unfortunately, the passage of time is not always kind to traditional timber windows. The result can be rattly windows that let the draught in and produce decidedly un-cosy interiors. What’s more, if water ingress is also an issue, timber decay may have set in.

Luckily, there’s no need to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Rather than taking the drastic step of fitting modern window replacements, Sash Window Experts are here to tell you that it is perfect possible to draught proof your original sash windows. As the proud owner of a heritage home, wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to preserve the characteristic features of your property while maintaining its future value?

We passionately believe in the preservation of our national architectural heritage. Our experienced team of expert craftsmen have made it their mission to save one sash window at a time, with a menu of services to repair, refurbish and renovate all kinds of sash windows.

Here’s our professional advice on how to deal with draught proofing old sash windows.

1 – What exactly is the problem?

First, it’s a good idea to identify exactly why your old sash windows stick, rattle and let in draughts. Age and decay can manifest itself in many ways such as cracked putty, damaged sash cords, unbalanced weights, rotten timbers and failed joints.

Depending on the exact issue, you may not need to take radical action. Many draught proofing techniques can be implemented on your existing frames, and with very little cost. The net result to you is a warmer home and lower heating bills, no draughts or rattling, and less outside noise.

However, before you carry out any of the DIY options mentioned below, we would recommend that you seek advice from an experienced professional such as Sash Window Experts, especially if your sash windows are very old or the property is a designated listed building.

2 – Draught proofing your own sash windows

As mentioned above, draught proofing measures don’t need to be expensive. There are various simple options you can pursue – these include:

  • Choosing to paint some windows shut

Filling any gaps with flexible filler, resealing the glass with fresh putty where necessary, and painting the entire window is perhaps the easiest way to ensure a permanently draught-free solution. Obviously, the disadvantage is that you won’t be able to open the window at all, but perhaps they don’t all need to open? It’s a question well worth considering, especially where the window design in the room is made up of several individual sections.

  • Fitting draught excluder strips

Another simple DIY job is to buy flexible draught excluder strips from any hardware store and fix it into place at the bottom and top of the frame to stop draughts coming in. Bear in mind that these strips won’t last forever; they will need replacing periodically. Also please note that oversealing windows can contribute to damp and mould issues further down the line. And if there is a gas appliance in the room, you must comply with Building Regulations that stipulate a certain degree of ventilation.

  • Hanging thermally lined curtains

If you don’t feel comfortable doing any work to your windows at all but are desperate to keep draughts out, there is always the age-old solution of thick curtains. Full length, thermally lined or interlined curtains are your best bet. Not all curtain fabrics are suitable for preventing cold air from entering your home. Steer clear of lightweight materials such as linen, lace and sheer cotton, and instead choose thick curtains in heavyweight, tightly woven textiles such as velvet, tapestry or tweed – they will provide the best barrier against the chilly outdoor air.

3 – Getting your windows draught proofed professionally

For a more long-term solution to make your windows draught proof, it may be worth calling in the professionals. At Sash Window Experts, we can install our professional draught proofing system, either as a standalone job or as part of a general window service. The latter includes new sash cords, parting beads and staff beads, lubricating the pulley wheels and rebalancing the weights. If there are any minor timber defects, they can be dealt with at the same time.

We use low-drag draught proofing pile to reduce friction, meaning that the sashes can glide smoothly to open and close the window without causing any scuffing. Our superior quality brush pile draught excluders slot into the sashes to deliver an excellent solution that is longer lasting and more breathable than the DIY draught proofing measures mentioned above.

Once our draught proofing system has been installed, you will find that your sash windows will operate as they should, are secure and draught free, while maintaining the character of your home. What’s more, you can expect energy efficiency improvements that will save you money on your heating bill.

4 – Caring for your sash windows

Whether your timber sash windows have been draught proofed, window repairs or a full window renovation has been carried out, it’s important that you take a little bit of trouble to look after them well. Rest assured that this is not an onerous task. All you need to do is to wash the draught seals on a regular basis with warm soapy water to ensure they stay nice and soft and don’t go brittle. If you do nothing else, this tiny bit of aftercare alone will prolong the lifespan of your draught proofing efforts considerably.

For professional advice and guidance about draught proofing your sash windows or any other issues you may have, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sash Window Experts. Call Mark on 01403 602701 or send us a short enquiry here. We look forward to being of service.

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Hi, I’m Mark, owner of Sash Window Experts. I’d love to talk to you about restoring period windows. Please fill out the form or call me on 01403 602701 to arrange your FREE no obligation window survey and to discuss your requirements.

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Helen Thomas
If I could clone you for all the other work we need to do over the next few years, I would! Thank you Mark for having such a good team in place. And huge thank you to Gary, Alex, John and Glen for taking such care of our windows and giving them what they needed after years (decades?) of neglect. Your attention to detail and 'doing it right' was very much appreciated, and your ability to solve problems was awesome. Helen & Tim, Godalming
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Amazing service from start to finish, no issues and no drama. The name Sash Window Experts is well chosen. Mark and his team - Gary and John were extremely helpful and professional and the end product - new sash sound proof double glaze windows upstairs and the kitchen triple sash window restored was top quality. I am very grateful to Sash Window Experts.
Amy Clarke
Cannot fault Mark and his team. We replaced the original sashes to our 1890's home with new like-for-like hardwood double glazed sash windows, and apart from being warmer, quieter, cleaner and altogether much smarter, you really wouldn't tell the difference - an amazing feat! They are absolutely beautiful windows, so well crafted and fitted, and the restoration of rot on the original box is imperceptible. Gary was friendly, clean, professional, and safe throughout the fitting, and very thoughtful in causing minimal disruption to the home. Absolutely thrilled with everything from the service to the price to the final finish. Delighted with them. Would recommend in a heartbeat.
Alison Fordham
We were nervous about getting our Victorian French windows restored and had received a ridiculously high quote. Sash Window Experts came in at a good price, gave a timeframe that worked with our schedule and did a great job. All as promised. The fitter, Gary, put the doors back in with great care and took time made sure they worked smoothly and also discussed any queries with us. Definitely made the job value for money. Very happy customers! We are looking forward to beign able to open our doors again and enjoy the garden. Thank you Mark and Co!
Peter Jones
Our house is Edwardian and has the original sash windows from 1906. I really want to make sure that any double glazed windows did not look out of place - so the woodwork, including the side bars etc should still be very thin to match the originals. I was fearing ending up with fat wooden bars but Mark took me to see a previous customer and I was happy to see the woodwork there and it put my mind at rest. We went for the thin Krypton windows. Now the windows are in they look very good and match very well. To be fair to everybody, we will not know until the winter how well they remedy our warmth and condensation issues in the house but are confident we made the right choice. Other suppliers would not do separate window panes and instead would only do a large window with a false wooden strip down the middle to make them look like two. We did not want that. The carpenters, Steve and Gary turned up on time (early actually) and got on with the job very efficiently and left no mess behind. I am very happy with the company and the windows.
Natasha Birley
Mark and his team are amazing. They restored our sash windows and doors. Mark is really knowledgeable and passionate and explained the process to me so I knew exactly what they would be doing. Once the work commenced I was amazed by how well they draft proofed the windows. They took so much care and the guys were polite, tidy, timely and a joy to have around. I would absolutely recommend the team to anyone thinking of restoring their windows, they look AMAZING!
Rachael Smith
Absolutely outstanding quality, value for money and service from Rob. This is the second time Rob has done work for us and we can highly recommend him. The sash windows are like new! Thanks Rob 😀
Jon Reed
Used these guys to do a total refurbishment on the windows of my 1870s Victorian Villa style house. Incredibly happy with the work and the guys doing it are just superb. On time to the minute every day, clearly take pride in the work they do and super friendly. Would not hesitate to use again!
Geoff Parsons
Excellent service from Mark. The windows installed last week. Look elegant and noise reduced considerably.
S Attewell
Very pleased, very sound work done, very professional and friendly team. Highly recommended!!