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uPVC sash windows cost

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Sash windows became widespread in the Victorian and Georgian eras but remain highly popular today. A classic type of window, they’re characterised by vertically sliding sash panels.

Formerly, sash windows were constructed exclusively from wood. Today, they’re built from various modern materials, including unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC). 

Not only is uPVC versatile and adaptable, but it’s also a more cost-effective option than other materials. Plus, uPVC sash windows are available in a variety of colours to suit any property. 

This article explores the cost of uPVC sash windows.

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uPVC sash window prices explained

Sash windows constructed from uPVC offer an excellent blend between classic aesthetics and modern materials.

Let’s investigate the factors that affect uPVC sash window prices

Size of windows

Starting with the most obvious factor, the size of the window is intrinsic to its cost. 

Larger windows naturally require more material, which increases costs, particularly for very large double or triple sash windows. Furthermore, installing larger windows is typically more labour intensive, particularly if the window aperture needs to be widened.

Glazing options

The type of glazing used in your windows significantly affects the cost. Double glazed windows featuring two panes of glass with an insulating gas insert in between are generally sufficient for most homes. Most windows sold in the UK are double-glazed to meet building regulations, so if you’re looking for double-glazed windows, you can get a good idea of average prices.

However, there are other options. Triple glazed windows offer increased energy efficiency and noise reduction, cutting energy bills and reducing heat loss. While triple glazing offers superb thermal performance, it comes with a higher price tag due to its additional pane of glass and more complex manufacturing processes. 

Another option is low-emissivity (low-E) glass, which minimises the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of light that enters your home. This is also pricier than standard double glazing. 

The highest-performing glazing is low-E-coated triple glazing, although it’s also the most expensive. However, upfront costs should be weighed against the potential for long-term energy savings. 

Hardware and security features

Window hardware, including locks, handles and other fixtures, also contributes to the overall cost. 

Standard hardware options will typically be included in the base price, but if you’re looking for high-end, designer or period-style hardware, this can increase costs. 

Furthermore, enhanced security features, such as multipoint locking systems or sash window restrictors, can add to the cost but help to give you extra peace of mind.

Colour and finishes

Colour choice also affects the price, with specialist colours and textures, such as woodgrain, being pricier than standard smooth white. 

Also, if you want additional features, such as Georgian bars or decorative sash horns to mimic the look of traditional timber windows, these will contribute to the cost, too.

uPVC sash window colours

Many companies offer wood-effect uPVC sash windows. While this won’t replicate the same charm and character of timber, they might fit into a heritage area better than white uPVC. (Adobe)

Coloured uPVC windows is more than just an aesthetic choice – it contributes to your home’s overall character and curb appeal. 

Fortunately, uPVC sash windows are available in a broad spectrum of colours and finishes, allowing you to create a look that perfectly suits your property.

Classic white

Traditionally, uPVC windows were predominantly available in white, mainly due to its association with a clean, modern aesthetic and cheap manufacture. 

White remains a popular choice for many homeowners, thanks to its timeless appeal and versatility, suiting almost any style of property, whether contemporary or traditional.

Other colours

In recent years, technological advances have made it cheaper and easier to colour uPVC. Today, uPVC windows are available in a kaleidoscope of colours, enabling homeowners to personalise their choices.

Popular choices include classic tones, such as black, grey and brown. Black uPVC windows can provide a bold, striking contrast, especially on lighter-coloured properties, while grey uPVC offers a sleek, contemporary look. Brown, particularly in a woodgrain effect, can emulate the look of timber frames, offering a sense of tradition.

For homeowners looking for something a little different, there are plenty of daring options, such as red, green or blue. These vibrant colours are trendy in some coastal towns – think of St Ives and Balamory.

Dual colour

One of the most popular trends in uPVC sash window colours is the “dual colour” option, where the colour on the outside of the frame differs from that on the inside. 

This allows for greater flexibility and customisation. For instance, you can match the exterior frame to your property’s facade while choosing a different colour for the interior to complement or contrast your inside decor. Generally, dual-colour options will increase uPVC windows prices

How to choose

When selecting a colour for your uPVC sash windows, consider the style and period of your property. For example, white and black are solid go-to colours for almost any property, while grey often suits contemporary homes. 

Also, consider your home’s exterior and the surrounding environment. You may wish to match your neighbours, the local traditions or choose something that stands out.

Finally, make note of any planning permissions or restrictions that could apply, especially if you live in a listed building or conservation area. In such cases, you may be required to retain your existing window style and colour. Changing the windows of a listed building without consent is a criminal offence. This may also restrict your ability to install uPVC windows at all.

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all offer databases where you can look up your property to see if it’s listed or in a conservation area. Ask a surveyor for advice if you’re unsure. 

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How do uPVC sash windows work?

Like all sash windows, uPVC windows consist of two panels, known as “sashes,” which glide vertically within a frame. 

The top sash typically moves downward, while the bottom sash slides upward, offering exceptional ventilation by permitting openings from both ends. Not all sash windows have two sliding panes – some only have one. 

Traditionally, sash windows would slide via counterweights and cords concealed within the window frame. However, modern uPVC sash windows typically use a spring balance. This mechanism comprises a strong, spring-loaded reel contained within the frame. 

The tension of the spring counterbalances the weight of the sash, ensuring the smooth and effortless operation of the window. The spring balance system replaces the traditional cord-and-pulley system.

To secure the window when closed, uPVC sash windows ordinarily feature a catch and lock at the meeting rail – the point where the two sashes align when the window is shut. 

How are uPVC sash windows made?

The process of making uPVC sash windows begins with the frames. uPVC is a rigid plastic used to construct windows, doors, conservatories and other external fittings.

To build a uPVC window, the material is heated and extruded to create the hollow profiles that make up the window frames.

The individual profiles are then cut to size and joined together using fusion welding to create the rectangular frame of the window. The sashes – the parts of the window that move – are constructed in the same way. This welding process ensures a watertight and airtight seal at the corners.

The frames are typically reinforced with steel or aluminium for additional strength and durability.

The glazing units, usually comprising two or three panes of glass separated by a spacer bar, are then fitted into the frames. The space between the glass panes is filled with air or an inert gas, such as argon, to provide insulation.

Finally, the necessary hardware – locks, handles and other components – is installed, and the windows are evaluated for quality and performance.

Energy efficiency and savings

uPVC has an average lifespan of 25 years. (Adobe)

According to the government, approximately 18 per cent of a property’s heat is lost through its windows. A-rated windows can save the average three-bed semi-detached house over £100 a year. 

One of the most noteworthy advantages of uPVC sash windows is their energy efficiency. They are excellent insulators, primarily due to the combination of the uPVC frame material and double or triple glazing.

uPVC frames are naturally insulating, meaning they don’t conduct heat well. Combined with multi-chambered frames, uPVC windows reduce heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home. 

Triple glazing further enhances insulation. The extra layers of glass and the air gap between them create a barrier that slows the transfer of heat. 

This high level of insulation means that in winter, more of the heat generated inside your home stays inside, reducing the energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

So, how does this translate into savings on energy bills? While the exact figures depend on various factors, such as the size of your property and existing insulation, it’s clear that highly rated A+ and A++ windows confer significant annual savings.

For example, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that upgrading from single glazing to double glazing in a detached home could save you around £195, reducing CO2 emissions by 330kg. Up the ante to A++ windows, and you could save £245 and 405kg of emissions annually. 

uPVC sash windows pros and cons

uPVC sash windows have a lot going for them, but they naturally have strengths and limitations. 

Here are the pros and cons of uPVC sash windows. 

Pros of uPVC sash windows

  • Affordability: uPVC sash windows are typically less expensive than their wood or aluminium counterparts, making them cost effective
  • Energy efficiency: These sash windows offer excellent thermal insulation thanks to the combination of uPVC frames and double or triple glazing. This energy efficiency can help to reduce your heating and cooling costs
  • Low maintenance: uPVC is resistant to weathering and discolouration. These windows don’t require painting or varnishing – a simple wipe down will do
  • Durability: uPVC can withstand harsh weather conditions. The material is resistant to rot, rust and corrosion
  • Choice of designs and finishes: Although less expensive, uPVC sash windows are versatile and come in many colours and finishes

Cons of uPVC sash windows

  • Aesthetics: While uPVC windows have come a long way in terms of design, some people feel they lack the charm and character of traditional timber windows. The synthetic look of uPVC might not be to everyone’s taste
  • Less suitable for historic properties: For those living in historic or listed buildings, uPVC might not be an appropriate choice due to planning restrictions
  • Potential for discolouration: Although uPVC is generally resistant to weathering, cheaper, lower-quality uPVC can become discoloured or brittle when exposed to intense sunlight

What to look for in a uPVC sash windows quote

When you embark on your mission to obtain uPVC sash window quotes, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Detailed cost breakdown

A solid quote should provide an itemised list of all the costs involved. This includes the cost of the uPVC sash windows, glazing, hardware, finishes, labour for installation (if applicable) and any fees. 

Additional costs can involve the removal and disposal of your old windows and possible alterations to the window openings. 

If the quote includes specifics, such as energy ratings, U-values and window security features, it’s a good sign that you’re dealing with a professional company.

Warranties

A good quote should specify the windows’ warranty period and installation. Standard warranty periods in the industry range from 10 to 20 years. 

Some larger companies offer aftercare services, such as routine maintenance checks, repairs or adjustments. 

Certifications and industry standards

The quote should confirm adherence to industry standards and any relevant certifications. 

For instance, the installer should be certified by a recognised body, such as FENSA. This ensures that the windows and installation will comply with building regulations.

Timescale for work

If a professional installer is fitting your windows, the quote should clearly indicate how long the work will take from start to finish. 

If your windows are being made to order, quotes should clearly detail timeframes. 

Payment terms

Look for clear information on payment terms. Some companies require a deposit, with the remainder payable on completion of the work. Others might offer finance options.

The company’s reputation

Research the company to ensure it has a well-established reputation. 

Find customer reviews and testimonials, and, if possible, ask for examples of the company’s previous work. Most installers will have a portfolio of previous work. Sash window work is of particular interest. 

Requesting multiple quotes from various installers and double glazing companies isn’t just about finding the cheapest option. It’s about gauging the standard of professionalism and quality across the board. 

The cheapest quote isn’t always the best, particularly if it sacrifices quality and durability or includes hidden costs. 

Remember that sound, transparent communication with your installer is vital to understanding your quote and ensuring no surprises.

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Summary

Sash windows are timeless, and uPVC gives them a modern update by means of durable, low-maintenance and energy-efficient materials. 

uPVC sash windows combine traditional design with modern materials, offering superb-looking windows with excellent technical performance. 

The cost of uPVC sash windows varies depending on the size and style of the window, glazing, finishes, hardware and installation costs. 

When searching for quotes, be rigorous and don’t settle for the cheapest. Additionally, while it’s sometimes tempting to side with nationwide installers, you might get a better deal locally, so research local companies.

Frequently asked questions about uPVC sash window prices

The cost of uPVC sash windows varies depending on several factors, but they’re generally considered more affordable than their wooden counterparts. 

However, they can be more expensive than other types of uPVC windows due to their complex sliding mechanism. If you are looking for other ways to bring down the costs of your uPVC windows, then it’s worth checking if you are eligible for any government grants for windows via this helpful guide.

uPVC sash windows can indeed add value to your home, particularly in the case of those that are rated A++. Sash windows remain a compelling choice for buyers throughout the UK, so well-maintained, modern uPVC sash windows can boost property value and curb appeal. 

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Sam Jeans

Writer

Sam is an experienced writer whose expertise lies in home improvements and renewables, as well as technology, where he is especially interested in the world of machine learning and AI. He has written for Vested, Age Times, and the Royal Mint.

For the Independent Advisor, Sam writes about windows and solar panels.

amy

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.