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Sash or Casement Windows – Which is better?

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Difference between sash and casement windows

Sash or Casement Windows – Which is better?

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Published on: September 2nd, 2021

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Sash Windows and Casement Windows – a comparison

Which should you choose between sash or casement windows? What is the difference and why does it matter? In this post we will tell you the difference between these two popular window types and help you decide which is best for you.

What are the differences between sash windows and casement windows?

Sash Windows

Sash windows are vertically (sometimes horizontally) opening windows. Sash windows are made from two frames of glass panels held together within a larger frame. The two inner frames are slightly offset front to back so they can slide up and down to open.

Sash windows were the first types of windows and are generally associated with traditional architecture and building design. 

Glass making technology was in its infancy when sash windows were in production. This meant that large panes of glass could not be produced. For this reason larger windows were made up of lots of smaller panes of glass held together by wooden bars. This design is still used today when building designers are trying to create a classical look and give a house a traditional feel.

Casement Windows

These types of windows were popular during the Tudor period. Cheaper and easier to make than sash windows, casements took over in the latter part of the twentieth century as the most popular type of windows. 

Earlier casements were similar in construction to sash windows – larger windows made up from lots of smaller panes.

One of the reasons these types of windows are so popular is because they are much easier to open and operate. Sash windows are heavy – especially larger windows. In order to make the windows even remotely usable, a complex system of weights and pulleys is used. The ropes and weights are generally hidden from view within the outer frame. This makes sash windows much more expensive and more difficult to make.

Casement windows on the other hand only need a few hinges to operate. Size is no problem to casement windows – more hinges can be added to take the weight. Alternatively, the hinges can be positioned differently – at the top instead of at the side.

Casement window after manufacture at the Gowercroft factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire
Casement Window
A sash window in production at the Gowercroft workshop
Sash Window

Which is the most efficient window – sash or casement?

With modern windows using advanced glazing technology such as a vacuum cavity or low e glass, there isn’t much to choose between the two types of windows.

Both can be made using insulated frames. Both can be sealed effectively. It could be argued that a casement window has a slightly tighter seal due to the locking mechanism, but the difference is barely noticeable.

Whatever your personal preference, choose a good quality low e glass that will insulate your room. Frame material can make a difference when it comes to insulation too. A good quality modern timber such as Accoya® will repel moisture and keep the warmth inside your home. Alternatively, there are specially designed uPVC frames with enhanced insulating properties.

Which windows looks the best?

This is very much down to personal preference and the application the windows are being installed into.

Sash windows create an authentic classical look, but casement windows can also give a building a traditional look too. Casement windows could be more suitable to a modern property, especially an ultra modern design. These types of homes are more than likely using the super efficient passive house system and a simple casement window with high efficiency might be the best choice.

Quality double glazing should be fairly slim and not show too much of the inner cavity – in which case choose vacuum glazing as this is the slimmest type of double glazing available – and the most efficient!

Timber windows look the best – wood effect plastic windows are available, but they always manage to look cheap, even when they are not.

Which are the most affordable?

Sash windows are harder to make due to the complex weight and pulley systems needed to make them easier to open – they are more satisfying to use though! This hidden system means that they will always be more expensive than casement windows that just use simple hinges.

So which one should you choose – Sash or casement?

If you are on a budget choose casement windows.

If aesthetics and authenticity are more important, the sash windows will be perfect for you.

If efficiency is top priority then materials are more important than design. Choose a modern enhanced timber with vacuum glass made and installed by a reputable manufacturer.