There’s nothing worse than lack of sleep because your sash windows have been chattering the night away. Rattles and drafts can interfere with your sleep and your sanity! Loose glass, rotting frames and a window that doesn’t close properly are amongst the causes.
One thing is for sure, if your sash windows are rattling, there’s a problem that needs fixing. Ignore the problem, and it will only get worse. And that could end up costing you more money.
First of all, identify the cause. Is it loose glass, a wobbly frame, a rotten frame or something else? Once you know what is causing your sash window to rattle, you will be in a position to do something about it.
Here are 5 common causes and their solutions.
- Loose glass
Loose glass is one of the most common causes of rattling sash windows. The glass needs to be caulked. Assess the condition of the putty around the frame. If the seal is broken and water can get into the frame, timber rot will follow. If you suspect water has leaked into the frame, you may need to seek the advice of an expert.
If you are a competent DIY-er you may be able to replace the affected putty around your window frame yourself. See here for some tips before you get started.
- Loose sash
Old sash windows are notorious for becoming loose as they age. When a sash window doesn’t fit properly in its tracks, it rattles at the slightest wind or vibration, such as a lorry thundering past.
- Not airtight
Sash windows have a gap around the sashes to allow the sashes to glide past each other smoothly on opening and closing. This air gap can cause a slight rattle in harsh weather conditions. The best solution in this case is to draught proof your windows.
Don’t make the mistake of eliminating the airspace altogether as this will impede the operation of your windows. Soft brush draught proofing creates a barrier to air but won’t prevent you from opening and closing your window. It has the added benefit of preventing heat from going out, making your room instantly cosier.
Find more information on draught proofing your sash windows, see here. Regularly clean your draught seals with warm soapy water as this will prevent them from becoming brittle.
Also useful, is this guide on draught-proofing windows and doors published by Historic England.
- Rotten frame
If the rattle in your sash window is due to a rotten frame, it is definitely worth seeking the advice of an expert. A tell-tale sign of a rotten sill is water marks beneath the sash window. But anywhere on the window frame where the paint is flaking can be a sign of where water has managed to penetrate. Equally condensation from inside the home can be problematic.
If your sash window is showing signs of rotting, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to replace the whole thing. But it will need repairing. If one section has become decayed it can be replaced.
As long as the damage isn’t extensive, the penetrating damp can be treated and preserved against further damage. Check out this guide to preserving and treating wooden windows if you feel competent to deal with the issue yourself.
Be sure to investigate how water has penetrated your sash window frame as the cause needs to be addressed at the same time that you fix your window.
- Insufficient or faulty locks
A rattling sash window could simply due to a faulty lock. Replacing or repairing the locks on your sash windows may fix the problem and give you the opportunity to review your security. Here’s a handy YouTube video showing you how to replace the sash lock on a window: https://youtu.be/hSOVX0unvk0.
Sash windows tend to have a central fastener to hold the two windows closed together, but this is not particularly secure when put under strain by an intruder.
Sash window stops are another thing you may want to consider. These fit securely into the sash to either prevent the window opening fully or to keep it closed and may help to prevent rattling, but also offer added security and could ensure your windows are insurance compliant.
The Crime Prevention website has more information on the best practice for locking sliding sash windows.