What are the best windows for a period property?

Period homes are beautifully characterised by their distinctive and architectural flair. Whilst each one has its own eccentricities; they’ve stood the test of time and offer quintessential British charm. There’s little doubt these properties have already survived hundreds of years of family life, weather extremes and general wear and tear. Inevitably, there comes a time where certain key features need repairing, to restore aesthetics and functionality – windows especially. Whether you’re upgrading or replacing them, they form a huge part of your home’s personality. We understand it can be tricky to pick period windows that accurately match a properties heritage. Fortunately, we’ve created a guide to help your journey in selecting the best windows for your period home.

Do I Need Planning Permission?

If the period property in question has traditional wooden windows, it’s possible you’ll need planning permission from the local authority. This is especially true if it’s a listed building or situated in a conservation zone with an article 4 directive.
At Genesis we’re proud to say our windows preserve a building’s natural heritage charm however we should point out that it’s essential to acquire the necessary permission if you would like to replace timber windows with a timber alternative in these areas. The process is not as daunting as it sounds but it is important that you are able to demonstrate that the replacement windows offer an aesthetically authentic replacement for timber.

To Replace or Restore?

When it comes to listed buildings or homes with an article 4 directive one choice may well be restoration but this can prove expensive and is never-ending. If you’re wanting to go down the route of replacement there’s a few important considerations to make. It is crucial that the replacements have a strong resemblance when compared to the original design.

Traditional timber windows can be tricky to imitate with modern materials as they are not quite so easy to work with. However, if renovation is your preference repairs and draughtproofing are possible if they’re in reasonable condition. This may save a little money in the short term and will cost much less than all out and replacing your windows. Restoration can often be achieved using most of the original material. Period sash windows offer a distinctive, traditional appearance, ideal for older homes. With their beauty and timeless sightlines, they work particularly well if your property is in a conservation area. You’re in good hands with sash windows and on the road to making sure your home’s character remains intact.

Although, replacing timber windows also has its benefits. Thanks to uPVC windows and their modern elements, period windows can be well replicated with the added benefits of increased energy efficiency and security. The colour and finish can be tailored to match closely the existing windows and this level of flexibility provides the necessary authenticity.
Going down the replacement route can actually improve the value of your home if done well. Most period homes have often been fitted with sliding sash windows or traditional casement designs which play a vital role in determining their unique look. Usually made from wood or metal, these are prone to decay over the years. If the decay is too severe then replacement would likely be the best option. Period style uPVC windows can transform the look, safety, and efficiency of your home. Whilst it’s a substantial investment it offers a significant saving over timber and has none of the ongoing maintenance costs.
Before going ahead it’s important to understand the reasons for you might change your windows from timber to a Upvc timber alternative.

  • Improves thermal performance so you’re toasty in winter and cool in summer
  • Maintenance and upkeep is easier for new windows compared to real wood
  • Preserves aesthetical appearance which can boost the value of a property
  • Better security and safety as material minimises the risk of forced entry

uPVC windows are an excellent choice – so long as you choose the right ones for your home. To ensure longevity and acceptance from the planner ( if required ) there must be minimal difference between them and the original timber version. A wide selection of natural and painted woodgrain effects are available with our wood effect uPVC windows which ensure nothing detracts from the original beauty of your home. If you truly want to replicate the windows of the past, choose wood-effect finishes like White Woodgrain, Rosewood or Oak. With no need for any painting or maintenance, the colour will stay looking as good as new for years to come. Add Georgian astragal bars to complete that architectural aesthetic charm.

What Are The Different Window Types?

There are a range of designs and materials to choose from. At Genesis, our collection has something to suit every home’s aesthetic and architecture. Some of the styles we offer suitable for period windows include:

Different designs will inevitably match different sorts of properties. We know the importance of retaining your home’s character. There are types of windows that will suit your own distinct charm and you’ll want to preserve that aesthetic as much as possible. If your period windows have seen better days it might well be time to research investing in new timber alternatives instead. When you begin the renovation of your windows you’ll need to think about the era of your property. We’ve put together a handy little list and all you need to do is spot which style matches your home best.

  • Georgian (1714 to 1830)

Most buildings from this period have casement or sash windows. They generally had smaller windows made up of lots of little panes of glass. The uPVC flush casement and sliding sash beautifully replicates all the intricate details of Georgian windows. For that realistic, heritage feel, astragal bar detailing will take your windows to the next level, creating the full effect of the period.

Georgian windows
  • Victorian (1837 to 1901)

Most properties from this period have sash windows. However, as glass became cheaper in this time, bigger individual panes were used, with less glazing bars. Bay windows also became fashionable in this period often featuring Gothic styling. We can bring to life Victorian windows through uPVC sliding sash. It’s perfect if you want old-world authenticity, but with all the benefits of modern materials and manufacturing. So, if your home is in a conservation area or has a listed status we have lots of great solutions. Lot’s of little details from run through sash horns to deep bottom rails together with many other features deliver a window of outstanding beauty.

  • Edwardian (1901 to 1910)

Although a short-lived period, sash windows were also very popular in this era. There were some differences in comparison to the other eras – They had glazing bars dividing the glass on the top section, whilst the bottom was often left as one whole. Edwardian windows offer a freer rein when compared to earlier designs. These windows are an excellent alternative if you want to recreate the Edwardian bliss, period sash windows are undistinguishable from its timber ancestor. As Gothic influences soared during this period, we’ve made sure this can be seen in every element of the design. So, if you want a full Gothic arch or a gentle curve – we’ve got that covered too.

Edwardian windows


What About Metal Windows?

Metal windows reigned all the way through medieval times, and made a comeback during the Arts and Crafts movement, and in the 1930s. Once thought of as cold and inefficient, they’re now a cosy choice, thanks to new advancements. Aluminium windows offer remarkable stability and power, all whilst being reasonably low maintenance. Now, the question is can you make aluminium work with period properties? It’s a tad more expensive than uPVC material, but it has a huge lifespan, making it a good long-term investment. From a design point of view, they’re modern and stylish with sleek profiles and sightlines. So, this makes them better suited to contemporary homes. With period style uPVC windows, their subtle appearance, makes them perfect for heritage homes and listed properties.

Period homes are charming and easy to fall for, but what many homeowners don’t realise, is the amount of TLC they need. There will come a time where worn features, like windows, need a new lease of life. That may be through meticulous restoration or by replacing them with similar designs, which will likely improve efficiency and security. If you’re looking to invest in period windows, it’s important to reflect upon all the options available to you. One thing’s certain, after you revamp your windows, your home will attract admiring looks.

If you’re unsure which style and material would be best for your new, period windows, our expert design team would be happy to advise you on the options available.

Please call us on 0800 138 3838 or visit one of our showrooms to discuss your venture.