Recently there has been some debate over the effect to the aesthetic of a property caused by replacing original wooden sash windows with UPVC sash windows. Many have gone so far as to brandish the popularisation of UPVC sash windows the "plague of plastic". Below we consider the pros and cons of installing UPVC in a period house.
Part of what attracts a prospective buyer to a period home is undoubtedly the period features; a fireplace, ceiling rose or panelled doors could all be considered as appealing characteristics of a period property. There is also a lot of emphasis put upon the original wooden sash windows as a standout feature and admittedly, from the romanticised point of view of an outsider, wooden sliding sash windows can seem to add a certain charm. However, anyone that has lived in a period house with its original windows will confidently be able to tell you stories that would make the staunchest UPVC resister grateful for the new material.
According to English Heritage, UPVC spoils the aesthetics of the period homes within the UK's many conservation areas. However, sash windows are an expensive luxury for most. The price of a repair for a rotting wooden frame is often an eye watering amount, and getting a cheap job carried out can often result in greater costs. However, this is nothing when compared to the cost of energy a home with original windows can incur, as original sash windows are notoriously inefficient is conserving heat and energy.
The government and indeed Friends of the Earth's energy efficiency guidelines advise the use of double glazed windows within such properties. This reduces carbon emissions and - due to the limitation of the amount of heat escaping from the house - maintains a comfortable temperature; it also brings down the cost of your bills. The government's Energy Saving Trust advises that if all properties within the UK got double glazing fitted, we could collectively save up to £700m per year. There would also be a total reduction of 740,000 households worth of CO2 emissions.
Not only are original wooden frames susceptible to rot and damage from the outside elements, they also allow a mighty draft. If these windows are in your bedroom, the draft can not only lower the over all temperature of the room, but also keep you awake with the cold and extra noise levels as the windows provide little barrier to the outside elements.
If you wish to save money on your bills and create a warmer living environment, then UPVC sash windows create a cost effective solution. Many window brokers, estate agents and energy companies have argued that if UPVC was available to the original builder of the period properties then they would have undoubtedly been the material of choice at the time. The UPVC replacements are a vast improvement than the originals in terms of durability, security, energy efficiency and draft exclusion.