What Is a Window Sash?

Close-up of a gold sash lock on a white window

Do you have a window that is stuck or difficult to open? It’s likely due to a problem with the sash. A window sash is the frame that slides up and down or side to side or cranks to open. Read on to understand window sashes and their role in the operation of your home’s windows.

How Do Sash Windows Work?

Most residential windows, even casement windows, use sashes. The mechanism that allows sash windows to open and hold in place is not visible but hidden inside the window frame. In sliding windows, the sash enables the pane to move, opening, or closing the window. In casement windows, the sash is attached to the crank that operates the window.

Three key elements allow a sash to function:

  1. The sash is the frame that slides up and down or side to side or has to be cranked open.

For older wooden windows that raise up and down the sash functions like this:

  1. The cord runs through the window frame on a pulley system to give the needed tension that allows the sash to move and be held in position.

  1. The counterbalance is a weight on the other end of the pulley system that balances the sash’s weight and keeps it from slamming shut.

Related Topic: Does Window Placement Really Matter?

Types of Sash Windows

Not all sash windows are the same. There are four different types of window sashes.

  1. Single-hung. In a single hung sash window, there are two sashes but only one that can slide open. The other is fixed in place.

  1. Double-hung. This type of sash window has two movable sashes, allowing you to open the window from the top or the bottom. Often the sashes can also tilt into the house, making it possible to clean both sides from indoors.

  1. Spring-balanced. A modern take on traditional sash windows, spring-balanced sashes use a spring-loaded mechanism in place of the weight in the pulley system.

  1. Casement. In a casement window, the sash is connected to the crank that allows you to open or close the window. There are some casement windows that do not have a crank and open with a push.

Remember, sashes dictate the function of the window opening. Each sash type can be customized to match your aesthetic.

Sash Window Maintenance and Replacement

Maintaining your windows will keep the sash gliding smoothly. Here are some ways you can repair and maintain your windows when they become weathered or damaged:

  • Exchange a broken cord. The cord that holds the sash on older wooden windows can become damaged or broken, which makes opening the window difficult and dangerous. Without the weight attached to the end of the cord, the window has no counterbalance to keep it from slamming shut. To repair the window, it is possible to replace the cord.

  • Replace a damaged sash. Can you replace a window sash that breaks? Yes, you can replace the sash on some single hung windows if the damage only affects the movable sash. However, if a stationery sash is damaged, you will most likely have to replace the whole window.

  • Inspect for rot. Rot is a common issue for wooden sash windows, but if left unfixed, it can weaken the structural integrity of the window. Exposure to the outdoor weather can wear away at the wood, causing unsightly peeling paint, black spots, and eventual window leaks. To repair the window, you can thoroughly clean the affected area before applying a wood hardener. If the damage is extensive, you may have to replace the sash.

  • Oil to glide smoothly. If your window doesn’t slide like it used to, you can refresh it with some oil or wax rubbed against the frame, hinges, and internal pulley system.

For all things, glass pane repair or replacement, rely on our service professionals. 

Related Topic: Should I Replace My Wood Windows with Vinyl?

Enlist Glass Doctor to Maintain Your Sash Windows

Keeping your sash windows sliding smoothly allows you to let fresh air into your home. Although there are various styles of sash windows, they can be described as either single-hung or double-hung and traditional or spring balanced.

If your windowpane is damaged or in need of replacement, rely on your local Glass Doctor to get the job done right. To get started, give us a call at (833) 974-0209 or request an estimate online today.