Good Sash Windows Go Unnoticed
Tuesday, September 10th , 2013
Masterframe recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Starting in 1988, we have focused solely on the manufacture of high-end PVC box sash windows ever since. In fact, Masterframe was the first company to achieve WERs on its products, with the first 5 licenses issued by the BFRC were awarded to Masterframe. In addition, our PVC sash window was also the first to achieve "Secured By Design" (SBD), what’s more, Masterframe have won the title of fabricator of the year, not once, but twice.
Our managing Director, Alan Burgess, has been in the industry since 1972, over 40 years. He agreed to share his views with Clearview magazine about the lack of authenticity in sash window products…
“I have no prejudice against any of the materials that are used to fabricate sash windows, be it steel, aluminium, GRP, timber or PVC. What I am annoyed with, is how the industry has destroyed the character of so many homes in the UK by flooding the market with cheap versions of sash windows that do not retain any of the authentic features of their original counterparts". It is for this reason why planners are so against PVC sash windows, which in turn has created a stigma that my customers continuously find themselves coming up against.
‘the industry has destroyed the character of so many homes in the UK by flooding the market with cheap versions of sash windows’
It’s not PVC that is the problem here though of course. It’s all down to design. Not just of the design of the product, but also the way in which the products are installed. In many cases, as a quick and easy option, the original timber frame is left insitu and the new window fitted into it. This is driven by costs to be cheapest and due to a lack of sash window knowledge and the right product being offered.
As seen in many hotels, fixed windows with top frame lights are unsightly and should be banned in my opinion. They destroy the character of the building, they don’t provide proper ventilation nor do they allow for emergency exit. This is the same case wherever any cheap casement window is fitted either into the old box frame or where a box sash once was.
In general, properties with sash windows tend be older style in sensitive areas, by that they are protected either by Article 4 or by being Grade I or II Listed. The last thing planners want is for the windows to be changed without any regard for aesthetics. Hence their aversion to the cheap versions that have flooded the market in recent years. Such windows should be replaced by something that reflects the beautiful, authentic details of the original sash window, such as butt joints.
If this is recreated then the planners are more than happy to back them and, in my experience, when planners see our products they are genuinely and pleasantly surprised that such an authentic look can be achieved with PVC.
As far as ventilation is concerned, the stipulation for new build properties is that the window should allow for 4 complete air changes in a room every hour. This is rarely measured because there's no real way of assessing this, the rule of thumb is that the window size should equate to one twentieth, of the floor area of a room.
However, where a sash window is replaced by a casement window, the new design traps in a lot of heat and stale air inside the room, whereas a sash window will completely empty the room of stale air and replace it with fresh air in just 5 minutes. This rapid exchange of air helps to prevent mold and encourages the dispersaling of spores, that's responsible for the increase in the number of cases of allergies and asthma.
At Masterframe, we believe that a good sash windows should go unnoticed.
This means that they should blend in with windows of surrounding properties by being as aesthetically authentic as is achievable. Staff beads, chamfered external putty line sahes, run through continuous horns, butt jointed deep bottom rail with a choice of chamfered or Ovolo glazing bars.
Our dedication to this cause means that we specialise in fabricating authentic looking PVC sash windows.
When estate agents say, "it's great to see you've kept the original sash windows" we know we are getting it right for our clients and their customers.
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