DESIGN TIPS How to Repair an Old Sash Window

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When it comes to repair jobs, it’s always tempting to call someone and let them do the work, but DIY can be rewarding. While most people are happy to pick up a paint brush or put together flat pack furniture, you probably think windows are best left to a professional. Instead, free up some time, grab your tools and follow this guide to repairing sash windows. Image above Victorian Apartment in London redesigned by Architect Paul Fineberg.

Cords are a Common Issue

This type of window functions using a pulley system and wheels, with attached cords and weights. In the majority of cases, an old, broken or malfunctioning cord is the most common cause of a sash window jamming or sticking. Image above Malmo Apartment 

To replace the cord, you’ll need a chisel, hammer, new cord and something you can cut with.


Step 1: Remove the Lower Sash

This is the first part and it’s easier than it sounds. Traditional sash window panels are held in place by a strip of wooden beading, one to the left and one to the right. Using a chisel and hammer, gently tap the chisel into the joint at the centre of the beading – this will spread out the force and prevent damage.

When this is done, the window will easily slide out. If the cord isn’t broken, simply cut and remove the window pane.


Step 2: Remove the Weights

Now that the window is free, you can access the pockets that conceal the weights – these can be found on either side of the window frame. Use the chisel again here to pop out the wood that covers them. If they’ve been painted over, they make take a little more work to remove. Then, simply cut the cords and remove the weights.

Step 3: Install New Cords and Replace

You should now have two strips of wooden beading, a lower sash window and the two weights. Next, place the new cord over the top of the window and secure with nails, then feed through the pulley, into the frame channel and down into the weight compartment. Make sure the cord is the correct length, then attach the weights – it’s best to secure with a figure of eight knot. When the cords are correctly secured, the window will open and close with ease.

There you have it, how to replace cord in a sash window. Alternatively, if this all sounds a bit fiddly, check out Mighton Products for sash balances, an alternative that means you’ll never have to worry about cords and weights again.


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