26 Jul

Windows for period homes

With their characterful aesthetics and quirky features, a period home is a natural choice for anyone who loves historic elegance and traditional charm. When it comes to renovating and refurbishing these beautiful properties, what kind of window designs should you want to consider?

Many homeowners want their updates to stay true to their home’s original features while putting their own stamp on the interiors and benefiting from the comforts of modern-day living. While you may be busy dealing with thatched roofs, damaged timber frames, or lime pointing, new windows can make a big impact on your home, without affecting its original charm. 

Not just suitable for period homes, the following approaches can also bring a sense of authenticity to period-style new builds and renovations:

Replicating authentic style

Generally, it is recommended that you replicate the original style when replacing a window in a period or listed property.  Of all the window designs, a timber sash window offers a unique, traditional look that is perfect for older properties and period-style new builds. With their heritage design and classic sightlines, a good sash window is particularly good if your property is in a conservation area. 

Sash windows consist of two sashes sitting in front of each other, which slide and move up and down. You can opt for pre-tensioned spring balanced windows, or choose the more traditional nylon cord and lead weight design. 

It’s said that the reinstated court of Charles II in the mid-17th century is where sash windows were first introduced, while Elizabethan styles of mullion and transom windows, which were known as cross windows, were used up to the early 18th century but started to lose popularity to the new sash style. Sash windows began to be used widely through the period in exposed boxes set flush with the brickwork of the house, and early sash windows were narrow in comparison with thicker glazing bars being introduced later on.  

Our sash windows are 68mm deep and will include decorative sash horns, which are a common feature of a sliding sash and are usually found externally on the sash closest to the front – however, in Scotland, they can be found internally. Our legacy sash windows are very similar to our standard designs, but with thinner frames, sash and glass sections which give a finer, delicate aesthetic. 

Glass and glazing

Most properties will have standard double glazed windows, with the homeowners enjoying all the benefits of a modern product. A variety of glass types are available for more specific requirements, for example, if you are looking for increased sound insulation or require solar reflective glass. 

While traditional double-glazing is highly popular, it may not be the most suitable option for period properties, with thicker windows looking out of place in beautiful aged window frames. An old house doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy new windows however, so our ‘classique’ double glazing option is ideal. They are 16mm thick, which is much thinner than standard double-glazing, and therefore has the appearance of a single glazed unit. They are filled with krypton gas instead of argon gas, as krypton acts as a better insulator in smaller spaces. The krypton reduces the heat conduction between the two panes, meaning that they keep your home feeling warm and toasty in the winter and cool in the summer. These are a highly suitable solution for when a homeowner or developer wants to achieve a traditional appearance. 

Decorative window mouldings

Whatever style you choose to emulate the authentic period charm of your home’s original features, it’s advisable to opt for timber windows rather than uPVC, which can look out of place on a historic home and can become brittle or discoloured on the outside. By using the right kind of timber, you can enjoy beautiful windows that perform well and won’t require much maintenance. Our main timber of choice is Accoya® – an engineered timber made from fast growing, abundantly available, FSC® or PEFC™ certified trees such as Radiata pine. Despite being a softwood, Accoya® is strong and durable, meaning that the joinery will not twist or move over time so your windows will always open smoothly, with no swelling or catching. Accoya® windows also have fantastic thermal insulation and require less maintenance. 

When it comes to window frame and glazing bar moulding styles, it’s easy to underestimate the impact that they can have on a window’s aesthetic. They act as a decorative feature, adding detail and style to the overall design with a range of looks to choose from.

As previously mentioned, it’s advisable to stick to the style of your original windows if possible. Depending on when they were made, an original antique window will have a distinct moulding design, perhaps with a typical gothic or baroque style, for example. However, a Lambs Tongue moulding is most commonly found in original sash windows, mainly used in the window frame, staff beads, and glazing bars.