Sash Window Preservation: Why Repairing Your Windows is a Green Choice

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Original wooden sash windows, with their unique design of counterbalanced weight pulleys and delicate wooden frames, might seem out of place in today’s era of new materials and glass tech.Yet, when it comes to restoring and maintaining these windows, Sash windows repair specialist in Leicestershire advocates sash window preservation.

Not only do these windows hold a touch of history and elegance, but choosing to repair rather than replace them is often a more sustainable choice for homeowners eager to minimize their carbon footprint.

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Environmental Benefits of Sash Window Preservation and Enhancement

Repairing and upgrading your wooden sash windows has several eco-friendly advantages over replacement:

  • Conserves embodied energy: The energy used to originally manufacture and transport the materials of the windows is preserved instead of wasted. New vinyl or fibreglass replacement windows require large amounts of new materials and energy to produce.
  • Avoids landfill waste: Over 100,000 tons of usable wood windows are sent to landfills in the UK annually. Repairing preserves the materials and avoids unnecessary waste.
  • Maintains historical integrity: Repair maintains the original architecture and design of historical homes and neighbourhoods. This prevents unnecessary demolition and disruption.
  • Uses less new resources: Restoration reuses existing materials and avoids the need for new timber, PVC chemicals, and other raw materials required for new window production.

You can enhance the energy efficiency of original wooden frame windows and doors

While old wooden sash windows will never be as efficiently insulated as modern double-glazed units, there are many ways homeowners can upgrade and maintain these windows to significantly improve their energy efficiency and thermal performance.


One of the easiest and most effective retrofits is to install weatherstripping around the window sashes and frames. Quality metal or vinyl strips will seal the air gaps around the openings that allow air infiltration. Make sure to use materials that are long-lasting and resilient.

Secondary Glazing

Installing well-fitted secondary glazing creates an additional air pocket and insulation barrier. Secondary glazing can be applied to the interior or exterior. Exterior secondary glazing also provides improved soundproofing. Modern secondary glazing with Low-E coatings offers even more efficiency.

Maintenance and Repairs

Basic maintenance like caulking cracks, reglazing putty, and repainting exposed wood can greatly improve the weatherization of old windows. Repairing or replacing any deteriorated window parts like sash cords and worn jambs also helps.

Re-glazing and Caulking

For maximum air sealing, consider hiring a professional to fully re-glaze the window panes and apply high-quality caulk around the glass and interior stop beads. This renews the airtight seal.

Interior Window Panels/Shutters

Adding solid insulating window panels or shutters on the interior provides additional efficiency layers. These are easy to install for the winter months when efficiency matters most.

Window Quilts and Seals

Temporary removable weatherstripping products like interior window quilts offer another option for sealing air gaps around openings during the winter. Some use magnets or velcro for ease of installation.

Window Film

DIY-installed window film is affordable and readily available. Quality films block heat gain/loss while still allowing light. This provides an extra insulation layer when applied to the interior side of window glass.

With a combination of these retrofit options, old leaky windows can perform with much greater energy efficiency.


Upgrade OptionEffectivenessCostDifficultyOther Factors
Draught-proofingHighLowModerate -DifficultNeeds occasional replacing
Secondary glazingVery highModerateModerateCan reduce light and make windows open two-step process
Maintenance and repairsModerateLowEasyImproves window lifespan
Re-glazingHighLow-moderateDifficultBest thermal efficiency
Interior window panels/shuttersHighLow-moderateEasyCan reduce light when installed
Window quilts and sealsModerateLowEasyTemporary solution
Window filmModerateLowVery easyCan reduce visibility. Low thermal efficiency.


Practical Benefits Of Sash Window Preservation Over Replacement

Repairing and restoring original sash windows is typically more affordable and practical than full window replacement. Here are some of the key practical benefits of taking a restoration approach:

  • Cost Savings: The repair and upgrade costs for restoring old-growth sash windows are significantly cheaper than the price of new custom-sized window units. Replacement can cost 5-10x more.
  • Durability: With proper maintenance and repairs, wooden sash windows can functionally last over 100 years thanks to the superior quality old-growth timber often used in their construction. Newer vinyl or fibreglass windows may need replacing again after just 20-30 years.
  • Preserve Home Value: Keeping original wood windows maintains the architectural charm and can boost the appraisal value of vintage homes, especially historical properties. Replacement windows generally detract value and appeal.

Sash window preservation


Repairing original wood sash windows, rather than replacing them, is the more environmentally responsible and economically prudent option for most homes.

With some restoration and maintenance, these windows can provide excellent efficiency and functionality for years to come with far less energy waste and disruption.

Their lasting beauty and craftsmanship are worth preserving.

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