Timber Windows

Should I choose Weights or Springs?

Traditionally, all sliding sash windows were operated by cast iron weights.

Weights

A sash box of 98mm is built into each side of the window, which houses the weights. This is then attached to a piece of sash cord, which travels over a pulley in the top corners of the window and attaches to the sash that will be sliding. The weight is selected to closely match the weight of the sash that is sliding, so that a perfect counterbalance is achieved and movement of the otherwise heavy window sash is as effortless as possible.

Spring Balances

The use of weights and pulleys in modern sliding sash windows has declined over recent years, and has largely been replaced by the spring balance system. The Springs work using similar principles of counterbalancing, but achieve it through the use of two springs inside a PVC tube. Spring balances are normally visible on the inside of the window. However, a thin cover paint matched to the window and allow total concealment is used in manufacturing. This makes the windows with spring balances almost perfectly reflect the style of those with weights and pulleys.

To aid in opening windows, as well as hold windows open and closed, spiral balances utilize a spiral-shaped rod within a tube. This rod connects to a spring, which is what provides the tension for supporting the sash. The tension is adjusted by being wound to match the sash it is supporting.

Should I choose weights or springs?

Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, and the right system for you will depend on your location, the reveals in the window opening and the desired impact you are hoping for. Weight and pulley systems have an unmistakeable historic feel, they fit neatly behind traditional reveals, the systems last longer (many decades) and repair only requires fitting a new sash cord. Spiral balances systems fit neatly into all building/reveal profiles without reducing light.

If you would like a quote for sash windows with Weights or springs please get in touch.

Timber Windows

Timber Sash Window – Horns

Window horns were originally used in timber sash windows to strengthen the window’s structure. They supported the mortice and tenon joints and prevented the sashes from opening too far and becoming jammed. As the Victorian period progressed, architects wanted to use increasingly larger glass panes. Without the glazing bars, a new method of support was needed. Thus, sash horns were born.

If you look closely at any period property from the Victorian era, you should be able to see the window horns. They were manufactured in several shapes depending on the architectural fashions of the time and place. Some are a simple curve while others feature an ‘s’ shaped design, an inverted slope, or a more intricate combination of inset and protrusion. They are now representative of the period style and are considered essential in any heritage property renovations.

Victorian houses are now associated with large single pane windows many with canted rather than bowed bays. Canted or square angled bays were a third of the labour cost of bowed windows. During this period many late Georgian and regency properties had their windows upgraded; a sign of wealth was large windows without glazing bars. To accommodate these heavy single panes of glass the horn or joggle was introduced on the upper sashes. This is a detail you can see in the corner of the sash which is to hide a mortise and tenon joint which slots into each other. Earlier multi pane window were just slotted together but this joint proved to be weak with the weight of the new glass.

Originating almost 400 years ago sliding sash windows have a rich history having spanned various eras including the Victorian and Georgian eras and have seen many design developments over the years. One of which being the inclusion of a sash horn; dating back to the mid-Victorian period sliding sash horns were a little piece of intelligent Victorian engineering designed to make the joints stronger. Taking on various shapes and sizes over the years, these horns, often intricate, are used today as purely a decorative element and, despite their size, can make all the difference to the overall look of the window.