Some of our customers ask us to make windows too – which we are delighted to do. We put the same effort and skill into making wooden windows as we do into making a bespoke door. Every window is handcrafted from the best timber with a superb design, excelling in draught-proofing, security and warmth. While there are lots of people making mass-produced redwood (softwood) windows, Cotswood windows are truly bespoke and are typically made from top performance timber – Accoya.
At the design and survey stage, we normally look at windows separately to doors. We have found that our customers are sometimes keen to invest more budget and time looking at a new door than they are a window.
Wooden windows fall into two categories: casement windows, where the sashes are hung like a door on hinges, and box or sliding sash windows, which slide vertically in the frame when opening.
With any new window, we really do prefer to make the window with a new window frame. This means that the design can have draught-proofing, locks and double-glazing incorporated within it.
Casement windows became most popular in the Edwardian period, and run right up to present house design. Casement windows are often divided into sections with vertical mullions or horizontal transoms. They are also often made into faceted bay windows. Within the window are smaller frames – or sashes – which hold the glass. These sashes can either be fixed permanently into the frame or alternatively they can be hung on hinges to enable them to open. The hinges can be at the top of the window with a fanlight, or on the side for the lower sashes. The sashing can incorporate wooden glazing bars, diving the glass into smaller panes.
Occasionally, where a casement window is attached above or to the side of an original door frame, we can replace just the part of the frame which holds the glass (the sash), leaving the original wooden frame that is fixed to the house. This enables installation of double glazed glass. It is however better to replace the sash and the frame at the same time, as you will then be able to have full draught-proofing, locks (if opening) and also thicker double-glazed units, maximising the warmth the window provides.
Early glass technology meant it was only possible to make small panes of glass, so a typical Georgian box sash window would be divided with wooden glazing bars to accommodate these small panes. As glass technology advanced, it became easier and less expensive to make larger panes. A typical Victorian box sash is made with two large vertical panes in the top of the window, suspended over two panes in the lower window.
Box sash windows are designed with the sash sliding within the wooden frame. The frame is in fact a box which contains weights suspended on ropes, run over a pulley and fixed to the wooden sash. As you slide the window open, the weights in the frame counterbalance the sash, so it stays in the position that it is opened to. Whilst there are other methods of counterbalancing the sash (such as springs), we still use weights as we have found they are the most reliable – they just keep working!
In the design of a new box sash window, we incorporate seals to all four sides of the sash and between the sashes themselves for excellent insulation. Our design includes extra-thick wooden sashes to provide strength and to allow for decent double-glazed units, and high-quality locks.
We only install new box sashes with new frames too. Whilst it is technically feasible to install a new sashing into an old frame, we have found that our customers don’t want to make the compromises this requires with insulation, double-glazing and security. It is also often the case that the original box frames are made of redwood (softwood) and, being more exposed than a door frame, are coming to the end of their life. We find that our customers are delighted with the higher quality result achieved by installing a new frame along with their new box sash window.
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