You can replace timber sash windows with uPVC and retain the character of your home.
Many homes have timber sash windows that can be draughty and cause the property to achieve a low energy efficiency rating.
Replacing these with uPVC double-glazed windows isn’t as much of a problem as you may think. Because uPVC is now available in such a wide range of finishes, it’s easy to find a frame that’s in keeping with your current style of window – allowing you to preserve the exterior of your property and make your home more energy efficient.
The problem with wood sash windows
Sash windows can slide vertically, the usual style, or horizontally within the frame. Single panes in old timber sashes can cause draughts, and often the windows rattle and are stiff to open.
Another issue with wooden frames and single glazing is security. These windows will generally not offer the same level of protection as a modern double-glazed uPVC window.
The question is, can you replace your current windows without losing the elegance and character of the exterior of your property?
Retain your property’s charm with uPVC
There’s been some reluctance to replace original features such as wooden sash windows in case it impacts on the character of a property. Fortunately, you can now keep your sash windows in the same style thanks to the types of finishes and textures available in uPVC.
As well as retaining exactly the same style and shape of window, you can also include original features such as Georgian bars. Often you won’t be able to tell the difference between your new windows and a timber frame.
You can replace wood sash windows in conservation areas or listed buildings
Planning laws exist to preserve the historical or architectural identity of a property or an area. There are around 9,000 conservation areas across the UK - the local authority designates these. They can include residential streets, rural belts and historic town centres, and the local authority can limit any developments within them.
This control can extend to the replacement of windows if the authority deems that changing windows will impact on a conservation area’s individual character. For example, you must ensure the appearance of your home is consistent with the rest of the houses in the street.
Because uPVC windows comply with Article 4 of the Permitted Development Rights act, which covers the dimensions of windows and how they should look - instead of the kind of material they’re made from - they have been installed in conservation areas throughout the country.
However, you may require planning permission to replace a timber sash window in a conservation area or in a listed building.
When planning permission is required
If you’re unsure whether planning permission is required for your property, you should contact your local planning authority. You’re generally allowed to go ahead with replacing timber sash windows as long as their appearance is not considerably different from the original design.
If you need to make a planning application, this can be done online and is fairly straightforward. Local authorities will generally grant permission if the replacement window is in keeping with the area or property’s character and is more energy efficient.
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