Single glazed sash windows look beautiful, they are extremely elegant, and fit perfectly into a period property but they do come with a few drawbacks. These include being noisy, could, draughty, but most importantly if you have young children, extremely unsafe. In this article we will take a look at why single glazed sash windows are unsafe for children and what can be done to improve them to give you peace of mind.
Single glazed sash windows are unsafe and what to do about it
- Thin glass is dangerous – One of the main reasons single glazed sash windows are unsafe is because of the slender glazing.
Originally sash windows were made with just 2.5-3mm single one glass. This was partially down to cost but just as much technology. Glass this thin breaks far too easily, if you have an original sash window with this thickness of glass it can literally be broken with a sturdy tap from any heavy object. This doesn’t have to be a hammer, something as soft as a tennis ball would be enough to break the pane easily. This normally occurs on Georgian sash windows more that are broken into several panes. The smaller panes gave rise to thinner glass which was viable. A large sheet of 2.5mm thick glass would break far too easily. For larger panes the thickness normally starts at 3mm which is still very vulnerable because of the surface area in total. If a child leant into a pane of 3mm glass firmly it would be a serious problem. So much so, it’s a legal requirement to have a minimum of 4mm glass installed into your sash.
- What to do about thin glass in your sash windows – Luckily you have glazing have two obvious solutions. The first is safety laminate glass. This breaks in the same way as the windscreen on your car. So if an object strikes with enough force it will not break into many pieces, instead the sticky film in-between both panes of glass will hold everything together. Not only is this much safer because it eliminates the risk of your child cutting and seriously injuring themselves on the glazing, it also means that if they were playing a bit rough they wouldn’t be able to fall through the glass as it’s much safer.The other option is toughened glass. This process is exactly the same as the side and rear windows on your car. If struck hard enough, it will shatter into thousands of small pieces. This is a very good solution for your home, to date I haven’t seen an example of toughened glass break in a home and there are many sash windows companies installing this type of glazing that come with an excellent reputation. To protect kids and adults alike any glazing below 800mm in height, be it sash windows or door need to be toughened or safety glass. This is a legal requirement.
- Single glazed sash windows can open fully – when a catch is undone a sash window can open fully. Normally the lower sash in most standard properties is at a height that would allow children or toddlers to climb out. This is a serious risk and it makes most parents screw sash windows shut or lock them and never open them. Since the meeting rail where the sash meet and the catch holds things closed is up high enough, that seems to be the average solution but doesn’t solve being able to safely use your window.
- What you can do to remedy a sash window opening fully – There are sash windows companies that sell security restrictors that are installed just four inches above the lower sash. This means that you can lift your sash four inches but never need to worry about the gap increasing. This makes security restrictors the ideal solution for sash windows and this upgrade isn’t all that costly either, normally in the range of £12-£18 per set. You’ll need an 8mm drill bit and a hexagonal key to install them.
In summary traditional sash windows are dangerous but with modern technology there’s no reason you can’t keep your windows as they do look very lovely in a period property.