If you own a period property, one of the most standout features will likely be the period windows on the exterior of the building. No matter what period the property is from, it's important to keep the windows in keeping with the traditional style if you want to maintain its authentic appearance and value.
Whether you're looking for new windows on a period property or are just interested in the original windows, the starting point is understanding what style they are.
All of these window types
preceded double glazing, but often nowadays they are upgraded for energy efficiency, without taking away from the original design.
Below is our guide to period windows, so you can get a good grasp on exactly what windows you desire (or already have), and what period style they represent.
What is a period property
A period property is essentially a building initially built during a specific time period, usually recognisable by one or more distinct characteristics in architectural style. Generally in the UK, the term refers to a property built before 1920, but this is a broad rule and there are of course exceptions to it.
Sometimes a period home will be a listed building, meaning that it is protected and has to be maintained in keeping with its original appearance. Generally though, protected or not, period properties look the best with their original aesthetic, and original period windows.
If you think a building might be listed, it's best to check first in case there are any rules restricting you from replacing windows.
Different period homes
Before working out which period windows you're dealing with, you need to work out what period the home is from. Generally you can break this down into three broad sections; the Georgian period, the Victorian period, and the Edwardian period.
We'll run through each period below and include the types of period windows you might find with these homes.
The Georgian period
The Georgian period typically spans properties built between 1715 and 1830. They were built to be spacious, open and comfortable, with high ceilings and lots of light, meaning large grand windows. During this time there was actually even a tax on how many windows a property had, because it signified how wealthy the owner was.
Both types of Georgian windows
have glazing bars, which started out quite thick and over time became thinner as they became more expensive.
Sash windows are the type of windows you see where one panel (or sash) is slid upwards to open. Originally each panel was split into six to eight smaller separate glass panes, though as time went on it became more popular to have just one or two panes of glass per panel.
Sash windows have a mechanism where they are held in place at the top, and a small locking feature when the pane is slid back down, preventing it from being opened. These windows are generally relatively low maintenance, but large single panes of glass mean they are not very energy efficient.
Casement windows are another popular type of window which you will see every day out and about in the UK. They are set on hinges which open vertically with a handle mechanism.
Originally these were also more popular with multiple single smaller panes of glass making up one window, but over time single pane glass windows became more popular with larger sheets being more accessible.
The Victorian Period
The Victorian period style gets its name from the ruling monarch of the time being Queen Victoria, much like the Georgian period before it owing to the reign of Kings George I to George IV. This sets the period as being roughly between 1830 and 1900.
Victoria era houses were smaller due to the increasing population alongside the industrial revolution. There was a huge demand for terraced houses, usually situated close to the factories and workhouses that the population worked in.
Due to having less external walls, terraced houses have better thermal efficiency than larger standalone houses, but the original windows and doors are still a sore point for energy bills. Upgrading these to double glazing is an obvious and efficient way to increase insulation.
Victorian sash windows
Victorian style sash windows were the same as the previous period, but it was much more popular to have single panes of glass in each sash.
This period saw the introduction of 'sash horns', which is a corner structure on the window to increase the durability of the frame. Sash horns are a great indicator to whether a property with sash windows is from the Victorian or Georgian period.
Victorian Bay windows
became popular during this period as a great use of space in what was otherwise quite a cramped period style. The extra space was used to sit in and relax in the evenings.
A lot of these windows came with gothic arching, a new style that also came somewhat into fashion during the Victorian period. As did in some cases the inclusion of stained glass windows, though this was reserved for wealthier homeowners.
The industrial revolution also meant that steel window frames were introduced during this period. In comparison to today's upvc windows
, they're not the best windows you can have, but they are definitely more durable than older timber types.
The Edwardian period
Between roughly 1901 and 1910 was the Edwardian period, which was emblemised by simple designs and a return to handmade furnishings. These buildings were often created in the suburbs because of space, and were generally shorter, wider and with more windows.
Crittal-style was a new design of period windows not previously seen before, embodied by a slimmer framework. They were named after their designer W.F. Crittal, who sought to develop a cheaper, sturdier framework that could confidently compete against the norm.
Crittal-style windows were typically taller rather than wider, with a specific trademarked design.
Edwardian bay windows
Similarly to the Victorian windows
, bay windows remained very popular at this time, although they were no longer confined just to the ground floor but instead across all stories of the house, becoming more for aesthetic than for practical use of space.