What is the best material for sash windows?

Sash windows are an elegant and timeless feature in any home. But when it comes to choosing the best material for your sash windows, it can be a confusing decision to make. With so many options available on the market, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

sash windows material

Factors to consider when choosing materials for sash windows

When it comes to choosing the best material for your sash windows, there are a few factors you should consider. These factors will help you determine which material is the most suitable for your needs, whether it’s wood, uPVC, aluminium, or composite materials.

Aesthetic appeal and authenticity

One of the first factors to consider when choosing the material for your sash windows is the aesthetic appeal and authenticity it brings to your home. If you have a period property and want to maintain its original charm, wooden sash windows are often the preferred choice. Wood has a warm and natural look that adds character and authenticity to traditional homes.

On the other hand, if you have a more contemporary or modern-style home, uPVC or aluminium sash windows may be a better fit. These materials offer a sleek and streamlined appearance that complements modern architectural designs.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is another critical factor to consider when choosing the material for your sash windows. With rising energy costs and growing environmental awareness, it’s important to choose windows that can help reduce heat loss and improve insulation.

Wooden sash windows, when properly sealed and glazed, can provide excellent insulation. However, they may require regular maintenance to ensure their energy efficiency remains high. Plastic-based materials such as uPVC and composite materials have excellent insulation properties and can reduce energy consumption.

Maintenance requirements

The maintenance requirements of the material you choose for your sash windows can have a significant impact on your decision. Wooden sash windows require regular maintenance, such as painting and sealing, to protect them from the elements and maintain their appearance. If you’re willing to invest time and effort into maintaining your windows, wood can be an excellent choice.

On the other hand, uPVC and aluminium sash windows are virtually maintenance-free. They are resistant to rot, rust, and fading, making them an ideal choice for homeowners who don’t want to spend time and effort on upkeep.


Cost is always an important consideration when making any home improvement decision. Wooden sash windows are generally more expensive upfront due to the higher cost of materials and craftsmanship involved. However, they can add value to your home and be a worthwhile investment in the long run.

uPVC and aluminium sash windows are usually more cost-effective options. They are available at a lower price point and require less maintenance and upkeep costs. If you have a limited budget or prefer a more affordable option, uPVC or aluminium may be the best materials for your sash windows.

Wood as a material for sash windows

Wood has been the traditional material used for sash windows for centuries. It offers a classic and timeless look that adds warmth and character to any property. Wooden sash windows are often favoured in period or heritage homes due to their authenticity.

Benefits of wood sash windows

  • Aesthetic appeal: Wood has a natural beauty and warmth that cannot be replicated by other materials. It adds a touch of elegance and authenticity to period properties.
  • Customisation options: Wood can be easily shaped and customised to match the architectural style of your home. It allows for intricate detailing and customisation options that other materials may not offer.
  • Longevity: Well-maintained wooden sash windows can last for decades, making them a long-term investment.
  • Repairability: Wooden sash windows can be repaired and refurbished when needed, allowing for a longer lifespan.

Drawbacks of wood sash windows

  • Higher maintenance: Wood requires regular maintenance to prevent rot, warping, and decay. This includes regular painting, sealing, and checking for any signs of damage.
  • Higher cost: Wooden sash windows are generally more expensive upfront due to the higher cost of materials and craftsmanship involved.
  • Susceptible to weather damage: If not properly maintained, wood can be susceptible to weather damage, such as rot and swelling.

uPVC as a material for sash windows

uPVC, short for unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, is a popular choice for sash windows. It is a plastic-based material known for its durability, low maintenance, and energy efficiency.

Benefits of uPVC sash windows

  • Low maintenance: uPVC sash windows require minimal upkeep. They do not need to be painted, sealed, or treated, saving you time and effort.
  • Energy efficient: uPVC has excellent insulation properties, helping to reduce heat loss and lower energy consumption in your home.
  • Cost-effective: uPVC sash windows are generally more affordable than wooden windows, making them a cost-effective option.
  • Wide range of styles and colours: uPVC sash windows are available in various styles and colors, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your home’s aesthetic.

Drawbacks of uPVC sash windows

  • Limited authenticity: uPVC sash windows may not offer the same level of authenticity and charm as wooden windows, making them less suitable for period properties.
  • Less customizable: uPVC windows are less customizable in terms of shape and design compared to wood.
  • Not suitable for extreme temperatures: uPVC can expand and contract in extreme temperatures, potentially leading to issues with the window’s functionality.

Aluminium as a material for sash windows

Aluminium sash windows are a popular choice for modern homes and commercial buildings. They are known for their sleek appearance, durability, and low maintenance.

Benefits of aluminium sash windows

  • Durability: Aluminium is a robust material that can withstand harsh weather conditions, making it a long-lasting option.
  • Low maintenance: Aluminium sash windows are resistant to rust, rot, and fading, requiring minimal maintenance.
  • Slim profiles: Aluminium frames can be designed with slim profiles, allowing for larger glass areas and maximizing natural light.
  • Contemporary look: Aluminium sash windows offer a sleek and modern appearance that complements contemporary architectural designs.

Drawbacks of aluminium sash windows

  • Less energy efficient: Aluminium conducts heat and cold, making it less energy efficient compared to wood or uPVC. However, you can add thermal breaks to improve insulation.
  • Limited customisation options: Aluminium sash windows may have fewer customisation options compared to wood or uPVC.
  • Higher cost: Aluminium sash windows are generally more expensive than uPVC, but they can offer better durability and longevity.

Composite materials for sash windows

Composite materials are a blend of different materials, often combining the benefits of wood and uPVC. These materials offer the aesthetics of wood with the low maintenance aspects of uPVC.

Composite sash windows are a popular choice for homeowners who want the look of wood without the high maintenance requirements. They are designed to mimic the appearance of wood while providing the durability and energy efficiency of uPVC.

The specific benefits and drawbacks of composite sash windows can vary based on the specific materials used in their composition. When considering composite materials, it’s essential to research the specific product and ensure it meets your requirements.

Choosing the best material for your sash windows

Selecting the best material for your sash windows is a crucial decision that can significantly impact the aesthetics, functionality, and maintenance requirements of your windows. Timber sash windows offer timeless beauty and charm but require regular upkeep. uPVC sash windows provide durability, low maintenance, and energy efficiency, while aluminium sash windows offer strength and sleekness with some thermal efficiency considerations.

Consider your personal preferences, architectural style, budget, and long-term requirements when choosing the material for your sash windows. Whether you opt for the classic elegance of timber, the modern appeal of uPVC, or the strength of aluminium, investing in high-quality materials and professional installation will ensure you have beautiful and functional sash windows that enhance the overall aesthetics and value of your property.