Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Sash and case windows



Traditional sash and case windows have performed effectively for many decades and will continue to do so for many more with appropriate care and attention.

The sash and case window was born in the late 1600s, when pulleys and weights were first applied to timber sashes to balance the weight of the individual frames. The new style of window soon caught on and was installed across Scotland from the 1680s onwards.

Regular inspections will help you to spot any signs of damage or decay so that you can deal with them promptly. Most defects will be fairly obvious, but timber decay is less easy to spot. Windowsills are especially prone to decay.

Poor operation, broken sash cords and loss of putty or mastic are other common causes of problems with sash windows.

You can improve the appearance of windows and keep them working well with regular cleaning. It’s also another opportunity to check for defects.

Regular maintenance and repairs will prolong the life of sash windows by many years. Modern timber isn’t nearly as good quality as the original timber used to make windows, so existing material should be saved wherever possible. Repairing sash windows is usually fairly straightforward.

You may need permissions for works that may change the appearance of windows, including changing the colour of external paintwork.

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