How To Maintain Your Timber Sash Windows

Prized in many period properties, sash windows are a key part of the architectural heritage of a building. They may have been designed and crafted to stand the test of time, but it’s worth investing a little effort into caring for your Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian sash windows, so they look great and function well for longer.

Experts in timber windows, Ventrolla have put together tips on how to maintain your original or replacement sash windows. Many of these jobs can be done yourself, but if you need an expert, their skilled craftsmen are on hand to help.

Cleaning Sash Windows

Cleaning sash windows is an essential part of their maintenance to ensure they function properly and look their best. Here are some tips to help you clean your sash windows effectively:

  1. Clean the Frames: In addition to cleaning the glazing, it’s important to wipe over the frames. Dust and debris can accumulate in the nooks and crannies, hindering smooth sliding. Use a soft cloth or a brush to remove any dirt or dust from the frames. This will help maintain the overall functionality of the windows.
  2. Vacuum the Window Interiors: Sash windows have a gap between the interior and exterior sections, which can collect dust and debris over time. Use a vacuum cleaner with a narrow attachment or a crevice tool to reach into this area and remove any dirt or cobwebs. Regular vacuuming will prevent the build-up of dust and ensure smooth operation.
  3. Clean the Glass: Cleaning the glass is essential to maximize the amount of natural light that enters your room. Prepare a mixture of warm water and mild soap or a window cleaning solution. Dip a sponge into the soapy water and gently wipe the glass, both on the inside and outside. Pay attention to any stubborn stains or marks and apply a bit more pressure if needed. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that can damage the glass or the window frames.
  4. Dry Thoroughly: After cleaning the glass, it’s important to dry it thoroughly to prevent streaks. Use a lint-free cloth or a microfiber cloth to wipe the glass surface, ensuring it is completely dry and free from any moisture. This will leave your windows sparkling and streak-free.

Regularly cleaning your sash windows will not only enhance their appearance but also contribute to their longevity and smooth operation. Remember to exercise caution when cleaning windows at height and consider seeking professional help for hard-to-reach or larger windows.


bay sash window
sash window with shutters

Paint The Frames

Painting the frames of your sash windows is crucial for their protection and longevity. Properly painted frames help prevent moisture from penetrating the wood, which can lead to swelling and rot. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you paint your sash window frames effectively:

  1. Preparation: Before you start painting, it’s essential to prepare the surface properly. Begin by cleaning the frame to remove any dirt, dust, or loose paint. You can use a mild detergent solution and a soft cloth or a sponge for this purpose. Rinse the frame thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.
  2. Sanding: Once the frame is dry, use sandpaper to smooth the surface. Sanding helps remove any rough patches, old paint flakes, or imperfections, ensuring a smooth and even base for the new paint. Sand in the direction of the wood grain, and be sure to wear a dust mask to protect yourself from inhaling the dust particles.
  3. Dusting: After sanding, use a dry paintbrush or a soft cloth to remove any dust or debris from the surface. This step is crucial to ensure that the paint adheres properly to the frame and to prevent any particles from interfering with the finish.
  4. Priming: Applying a primer is essential for better paint adhesion and improved durability. Choose a high-quality wood primer suitable for exterior use. Apply the primer evenly to all surfaces of the frame, including the edges and corners. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time and any additional coats required.
  5. Painting: Once the primer is dry, you can proceed with painting the frames. Select a high-quality exterior paint in your desired colour. Using a brush or a small roller, apply the paint evenly to all surfaces. Start from the top and work your way down, making sure to cover the entire frame thoroughly. Pay extra attention to any intricate details or moulding on the frame.
  6. Hardware and Glass Masking: If possible, remove any hardware such as handles, locks, or hinges before painting. This will make the painting process easier and ensure a neater finish. If removing the hardware is not feasible, you can mask it using painter’s tape to protect it from paint splatters. Similarly, use masking tape to cover the glass, saving you the hassle of scraping off any accidental paint marks later.
  7. Drying and Finishing: Allow the paint to dry completely between coats, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply additional coats if necessary for a more even and durable finish. Once the paint is fully dry, reattach any hardware that was removed and remove the masking tape from the glass.

By following these steps and maintaining a regular painting schedule, you can help protect your sash window frames from moisture damage, maintain their appearance, and extend their lifespan.


Check Your Windows are Operating Smoothly

Proper maintenance goes beyond painting the frames when it comes to sash windows. Here are some additional steps you can take to ensure smooth operation and longevity:

  1. Addressing Stickiness: Messy painting can lead to windows that stick or become difficult to open and close. If you notice sticking, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. First, ensure that any excess paint or buildup is carefully removed from the contact points between the sashes and the frame. You can use a scraper or a putty knife to gently remove any paint that may be causing the sticking. Avoid using excessive force, as this could damage the wood or sash components.
  2. Lubricating Pulleys: Pulleys are an integral part of sash windows, and they can benefit from regular maintenance. Over time, pulleys can accumulate dirt, dust, and debris, hindering their smooth operation. To ensure they function properly, apply a small amount of lubricating oil to the pulleys. This helps reduce friction and allows the sashes to glide more smoothly.
  3. Beeswax Application: To further facilitate smooth movement, consider applying beeswax to the edges of the sashes. Beeswax acts as a natural lubricant, reducing friction and making it easier for the sashes to slide up and down. Apply a thin layer of beeswax along the edges, taking care not to apply too much to avoid buildup.
  4. Checking Sash Cords: Sash cords play a crucial role in counterbalancing the weight of the sashes, allowing them to operate smoothly. Over time, these cords can wear out or snap, resulting in imbalanced or non-functioning windows. Regularly inspect the condition of the sash cords, looking for signs of fraying, breakage, or deterioration. If you notice any issues, it’s recommended to replace all four cords together for optimal performance and longevity. While replacing sash cords can be a fairly straightforward task, if you are not comfortable doing it yourself, it’s advisable to seek professional help to ensure proper installation.

By addressing stickiness, lubricating pulleys, applying beeswax, and checking sash cords, you can maintain the smooth operation of your sash windows. Regular maintenance and timely repairs will help preserve their functionality and extend their lifespan. If you are unsure or prefer professional assistance, contacting a window specialist or sash window restoration company can provide expert help and guidance.


sash window with shutters


Look Out For Rotten Timber

Regularly inspecting your windows for signs of rot is crucial to prevent the issue from worsening and causing significant damage. Here’s a detailed elaboration on the importance of checking for rot and how professionals can help:

  1. Detecting Rot: Take the time to feel along the window frames, paying attention to the texture of the wood. If you notice softness or crumbly sections, it is likely an indication of rot. Rot can occur due to prolonged exposure to moisture, which can weaken the structure of the windows. In addition to being unsightly, rot can lead to draughts, rattles, and compromised window integrity.
  2. Restoration and Repair: When dealing with rotten timber in sash windows, it is advisable to seek the assistance of restoration and repair experts like Ventrolla. Our team of professionals specialise in addressing issues related to timber decay, ensuring the longevity and functionality of your windows. Ventrolla and similar companies have the expertise to handle various aspects of restoration, such as repairing units, frames, and sills. They can splice in new timber to replace the rotten sections, effectively restoring the window’s structural integrity.
  3. Filling Cavities and Upgrading Seals: In addition to replacing rotten timber, restoration experts can fill in cavities and upgrade seals to further enhance the performance of your windows. Filling cavities helps to eliminate gaps and spaces where moisture can accumulate, reducing the risk of future rot. Upgrading seals, such as the Ventrolla Perimeter Sealing System (VPSS), provides multiple benefits. It prevents draughts, minimizes rattles, reduces noise from the outside environment, and helps to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature by keeping warm air in.

By relying on professionals like Ventrolla, you can ensure that any rot-related issues with your windows are effectively addressed. Their expertise allows them to identify the extent of the damage, provide suitable repair solutions, and upgrade the windows to enhance their performance. Additionally, the use of advanced sealing systems like VPSS can significantly improve the overall functionality and energy efficiency of your windows.

Regular inspections, prompt detection of rot, and timely restoration and repairs are essential for maintaining the appearance, structural integrity, and performance of your windows. By addressing rot and employing the services of experienced professionals, you can extend the lifespan of your windows and enjoy a more comfortable and energy-efficient living space.


before sash window repair
after sash window repair


When to contact Ventrolla?

If you have wooden sash windows that are showing signs of wear and tear, now is the perfect time to take action and revitalise them. Don’t let your windows continue to deteriorate when there are experts ready to assist you. By reaching out to us, you’re taking the first step towards breathing new life into your windows and restoring their beauty and functionality.

Our team of professionals understands the intricacies of wooden sash windows and has the expertise to provide effective solutions. Whether your windows suffer from rot, sticking issues, or general wear, we have the knowledge and experience to address these problems and bring your windows back to their former glory.

When you make an enquiry, we’ll be in touch promptly to discuss your specific needs and requirements. We’ll carefully assess the condition of your windows and provide you with tailored recommendations and options to consider. From repairs and restoration to upgrading seals and enhancing performance, we offer a comprehensive range of services to meet your window renovation needs.

Restoring your wooden sash windows goes beyond improving their appearance. It’s about preserving their historical charm, enhancing energy efficiency, and ensuring the longevity of your investment. By entrusting your windows to us, you can have peace of mind knowing that they are in the hands of professionals who are dedicated to delivering exceptional results.

So, why wait any longer? Take the initiative to transform your worn-out windows into stunning focal points of your home. Fill out our enquiry form or give us a call today, and let us show you how we can help you breathe new life into your wooden sash windows. Don’t miss the opportunity to restore their beauty and functionality – contact us now and embark on the journey of window restoration.