energy efficiency

What’s Holding Back The Sash Window Repair Industry?

7 min read

Sash Window Repair

Sash windows can get out of balance and crack. Pam searches the internet for salvaged Wavy glass, wavy glass, and keeps an eye out for discarded, metal sash weights. She then searches for replacements, such as nuts or washers, to ensure that her window is balanced.

Pam puts each pane in with a rope of glazing compound she works into the rabbet groove or pocket, which is located around the opening. This reduces drafts and expensive heat loss.

Sticking Sashes

If your double-hung windows get stuck, it’s an absolute nightmare. They’ll shake in the event of a storm and you’ll lose view. On the other side, a window that’s too loose will let external air and noise through and your energy bills can increase. Both scenarios are not optimal, but both can be fixed with the appropriate tools and determination.

Paint can accumulate on the channels of the old weighted sash window tracks, causing them to jam. Most of these problems can be solved by cleaning and oiling the tracks.

Take the caulking off of the space between the window stop (the one on the inside) and the frame of the window. Scrape off any paint that has accumulated. Make sure you make use of a sharp blade and set up sheets of plastic and a vacuum cleaner directly below to keep any paint dust and chips.

Clean the tracks with a dry cloth, then apply an oil based on silicone to help them slide better. This lubricant is available at most home improvement shops or on the internet. Then, you can move the sash up or down to test it.

If it continues to stop the sash cable could be faulty. Verify whether the cord is tangled or hanging in the sash, or if it’s snapped. You’ll need to re-cord your window in the event of this.

Another possible reason for a jam is the pin that holds the rail in place has slipped away. It can be difficult to fix and you will have to call a professional the majority times.

Use a wood hardener if the wood is swollen and warped but there’s no pin. This is a quick drying liquid that can aid in restoring damaged wood, so you’ll be able to fix your window without having to take it off completely. After you’ve used it you’ll be able to break the two sashes by placing a block of wood on the top of the corner where they meet, and tapping it lightly using the Hammer.


Draughts can be a problem when you have an old sash window, especially during the winter. Most often, they are caused by decayed timbers, cracked putty, worn weights for sash or sash cords that aren’t balanced that allow cold air to seep in around the window and make it difficult to keep your home warm. You can reduce the risk of drafts by filling the gaps with expanding foam, or by utilizing draught-proofing strips that are available at most hardware shops. They’re effective however, you will require replacement periodically as the foam expands with use.

A more permanent option is Gapseal, which is a spongy rubbbery seal that can be cut to size and insert into the gaps between the sash window frame. It can be used on its own or with adhesive strips placed on the top and bottom of the frame. This option is fairly expensive and must be reapplied throughout the time of your windows’ lifetime but it does offer an option for the long term and is easy to remove if you want to open the window.

Another popular DIY method of draughtproofing is to use cling film that is scrunched up and put into every gap around your window. This is an effective draught blocker, but the drawback is that it could hinder sash movement completely and may be risky for fire. The sash has to be removed in order to reopen the window replacement and the clingfilm needs to be to be applied every time the sash is closed.

A better option is to have your windows draught-proofed as part of a general refurbishment service. This may include the fitting of new sash string, staff beads and parting beads as well as the lubrication and rebalancing of the weights, as well as the fluidization and rebalancing of the pulley wheel. It may also involve staining or painting the frames and sashes. This will help restore the function of the sash, and increase its energy efficiency, as well as addressing any minor timber imperfections. It’s less disruptive than replacing the windows altogether and will significantly reduce draughts as well as improve your home’s thermal efficiency.


If your sash windows have suffered from damage or decay the good news is they are not necessarily beyond repair. The frames of these windows are typically made of high-quality timber. With the proper restoration they can be repaired to give you the best performance for many years to come. Regular inspections are crucial in ensuring that the wood is properly ventilated. This will prevent the build-up of moisture that could lead to wood rot.

The majority of problems with sash windows are easily visible, but others are more difficult to detect. Wood decay is a challenge to repair, since the fungus consumes the wood. It is possible to repair damaged sections of timber however, the best method to stop further decay is to ensure the timber is dry.

First, take off any paint from the hardware. The bottom rail and the meeting rail may have to be removed from the frame (depending on the position of your sash). The “pocket covers”, which are small pieces of wood that are placed on the frame’s sides that permit access to the weights will need to be removed. You may need to use a sharp knife for removing them if they’re painted or nailed into place. Once the pockets are gone, you can begin to remove any wood rot and then apply a high-quality water-resistant wood filler. After the wood filler has dried the primer coat must be applied to prevent further decay.

It is a good idea to check the sash weights inside the window, too to make sure they are in balance and not misaligned or pulling one side more than the other. If they’re not balanced, the sash can slide off its track and could cause damage to the frame. The sash weights can be replaced with new ones or a new balance mechanism could be fitted to stop the sashes from bouncing to the wrong side of the frame.

Poor Security

Sash windows are prone to damage and wear due to weather conditions over time. This can cause decay of timber, and will require replacement. Water marks on the window or a frame that is soft can indicate wood decay. It is important to consult a professional to assess the situation and determine if sash window repairs are necessary.

Additionally, with time, the rails at the bottom may become damaged. Water marks on the sill, or a window that is soft to the touch can be an indication of this. A professional consultation will also be required to determine the situation and recommend any replacement or resealing of sash window components.

It is a major concern when triple or double glazing windows begin to let noise pollution back into the house. If this happens, the structural integrity may be in danger and replaced the sash window will need to be replaced.

A common sash repair problem is when the sash becomes stuck in the frame. This could be caused by a snapped cord or an issue with the sash’s rattles. If it’s the latter scenario, a little gentle persuasion can usually help the window to open and then the ratchets need to be reset.

This issue can be fixed by taking off the sash and cleaning the tracks. After the tracks have been cleaned take off any security fittings that could be present and then carefully removing the sash cords and chains will allow the sash to be removed. The staff bead may be sealed with a draught-proof seal that will reduce the risk of draughts. This can also improve the paint finish. Decorators caulk can be used to fill the gap between the sash’s box and the sash. This will improve the efficiency of the sash and decrease draughts.

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