Sash Windows – uPVC Vs Wood


When the Victorians built the houses we know and love today, they didn’t expect the sash windows to last as long as they have done – so they often used soft wood. The fact that the soft wood sash windows have lasted so well, is a testament to the build quality and upkeep of the frames as required by using a natural material. However, many sash windows have suffered neglect and as we move into these old houses and experience the wood rot and poor insulation supplied by single glazed sash windows, the question is raised – should we replace with double glazed wood sash windows, or uPVC sash windows.

There are pro’s and cons for both, so please do read on and hopefully this will help you to decide which is the right replacement for the sash windows in your home.


Cost is a huge factor in replacing windows, and uPVC are cheaper than the wood alternative. Almost half the price of wood in fact. When you have a home with a large number of windows this could well be the deciding factor in which material you opt for. But please remember, you do not have to replace all of your windows in one fell swoop – they can be replaced in batches, or even individually if you cannot bring yourself to compromise on what you have your heart set on, but don’t have the available funds all in one go.


Due to modern, precision engineering, uPVC sash windows can be installed much quicker into a property than in years gone by. Minimising the disruption to your household and enabling you to enjoy your new sash windows as soon as possible.


The fact that timber windows are still perfectly functional in many houses since being built in the Victorian era, is testament to the fact that wood can last 100 years plus. However, in order to do so, they will require regular maintenance. Without the protection of paint or varnish, the wood will quickly begin to rot. It is recommended that wooden frames are re-painted every 5-10 years depending on the local conditions so would need checking over annually to identify any wear. 

uPVC sash windows will not last as long. An average life expectancy is around 20-30 years. Although within that time they will require very little maintenance – just a wipe down with a cloth every now and then. The decision here is pay more up front for longevity and some maintenance, or go for the cheaper, lower maintenance option that will need replacing at least once in your lifetime.


It is purely personal opinion with regards to which look better. And of course poorly maintained wooden sash windows will not look as good as uPVC. Particularly with period houses, estate agents will advise that timber frame windows are the better option – as with all original features. However, it is possible to buy extremely well built and aesthetically pleasing uPVC windows that are hard to tell apart from the well maintained wooden versions.

The added bonus with wooden sash windows is that you can paint them any colour you wish. Enabling you to keep up with design trends or alter the look of your house dramatically, with very little cost.

Whichever route you decide to go down, please do give us a call on 0121 426 2680 to see how Bartley Glass and Windows can help deliver the desired finish for your home.