Traditional Wooden windows, especially original sash windows, can add great aesthetic and functional value to period property.

Their natural beauty and ability to insulate make them a popular choice among homeowners in various regions.

However, just like any other home feature, they require proper care and maintenance.

Without it, wooden windows can succumb to damage from harsh weather conditions, moisture, and normal wear and tear. If you’re in the Northamptonshire area and need assistance, consider Sash windows repair in Northamptonshire. Maintaining them well is key to preserving their integrity and ensuring they last for many more years to come.

1. Regular Cleaning 

It’s important to keep wooden windows clean to prevent the buildup of dirt, debris, and mould. Use a mild soap and soft cloth, avoiding abrasive cleaners. Be sure to dry thoroughly.

How to properly clean wooden windows – do and don’t 

When it comes to keeping your wooden windows sparkling clean, there are some do’s and don’ts to follow.

  • DO use a mild dish soap and warm water solution applied with a soft sponge or cloth. Wipe down in gentle, circular motions and rinse thoroughly.
  • DO dry the wood carefully and completely after cleaning. Remaining moisture can damage the wood over time.
  • DO clean windows regularly to prevent lasting buildup or stains.
  • DON’T use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads, which can scratch the wood.
  • DON’T use a hose or pressure washer for cleaning. Excessive water pressure can lead to deterioration.
  • DON’T leave puddles or soaked spots to air dry. Always wipe and dry thoroughly.
  • DON’T allow dirt, debris, bird droppings, or sap to remain too long before cleaning. Prompt cleaning prevents lasting stains.

With the proper gentle cleaning agents and techniques, you can safely clean your wooden windows without the risk of damage. Take care to avoid excess moisture and let the wood dry fully after washing. Follow these do’s and don’ts, and your lovely wooden windows will shine.

2. Inspect for Damage and rotten window frames

It’s important to periodically inspect your wooden windows for any signs of damage or deterioration. A good rule of thumb is to thoroughly examine them at least twice per year.

Look at both the interior and exterior of the windows, checking for potential issues like rot, mould, cracks, warping, loose joints, or separation. Rot often appears as soft, damaged, or discoloured wood. Cracks and warps will be visually apparent. Run your hand along joints and frames to feel for any loosening or gaps.

Also check the window hardware such as hinges, locks, and handles to ensure these components are solidly attached and functioning properly. Test to make sure windows open, close, lock, and seal up tight as intended.

If any minor damage or issues are identified during the inspection, address them right away before they have a chance to worsen. Rot can spread quickly if left unchecked. Likewise, small cracks or failed seals that allow in water will expand over time.

While some minor repairs may be DIY, it’s best to call in a professional if the damage is advanced or structural in nature. Don’t delay – catching and correcting problems early is key to the longevity of your wooden windows.

3. Seal and protect joinery

Applying protective seals to your wooden windows is critical for preventing moisture damage. Look for high-quality exterior primers, paints, stains and sealants that are specifically formulated for use on wood. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely when applying.

Sealants like varnish help repel water while allowing the wood to breathe. Weatherstripping creates a tight seal between the window sash and frame to keep out drafts and moisture. Maintain these seals regularly per the product guidelines to keep your windows well-protected.

4. Repair Minor Damages Promptly

Don’t ignore small issues like isolated rot, loose hinges, gaps in weatherstripping or minor surface cracks. Over time, these can allow in moisture that leads to expanded wood damage and decay. Fixing them promptly is much easier and cheaper than replacing entire windows later on.

For minor rot, use a rot repair epoxy to fill, seal, and stabilize the damaged section. Replace any cracked or worn weatherstripping. Tighten loose hardware and lubricate sticking hinges and locks. Know when the issue is beyond your DIY skills and requires a professional repair.

5. Avoid Excessive Moisture

Moisture is the enemy of wood. Ensure your windows receive proper ventilation and sunlight exposure to avoid condensation buildup or dampness that can seep into the wood. Use fans, dehumidifiers, and open windows on humid days.

Make sure overhanging trees or shrubs are trimmed back from the windows. Plants and soil too close to the windows can retain moisture against the wood. Proper moisture control keeps wooden windows protected.

6. Paint and Finish Regularly

Over time, the protective paints and finishes on your period windows can start to wear, crack, and fade due to sun exposure and weathering. Refresh them regularly as specified by the manufacturer. Proper refinishing maintains the visual appeal while also protecting the wood beneath.

Choose quality exterior primer and paints or clear finishes formulated specifically for wood. Avoid a mismatch of old and new paint layers. With regular upkeep, your wooden windows will keep looking fresh and vibrant.

7. Use Gentle Cleaning Agents

Harsh cleaners with acidic, alkaline or abrasive ingredients can damage wooden window surfaces. They can erode and scratch the wood over repeat cleanings.

Instead, use only gentle, wood-safe cleaning products. Look for natural, non-toxic cleaners specifically formulated for wood. They will safely remove dirt and grime without posing harm to the wood itself. Be sure to test new products on a small hidden area first.

8. Install Window Films

Installing window films is an effective way to reduce UV damage to your wooden window’s interior frames and sills. Look for films that reject up to 99% of UV rays while still allowing natural light through. It also can improve energy efficiency slightly. 

3M and Vista are reputable brands offering UV protection films ideal for wood. Professional installation is recommended to avoid bubbles and get the proper fit.

9. Ensure Proper Installation

Improperly installed windows are prone to air and water leaks, can warp over time, and are at higher risk of damage. Have a certified professional ensure your windows are installed properly using the manufacturer’s recommended technique and hardware.

Proper installation is key to windows seating securely within the framing, maintaining integrity, and sealing up tight. Don’t cut corners here.

10. Regularly Tighten and Lubricate Hardware

Loose, sticking or broken hardware compromises functionality and weather sealing. Routinely check that hinges, locks, lifts and handles operate smoothly. Tighten any loose screws. Clean and lubricate moving parts with lithium grease.


Caring for wooden sash or casement windows properly ensures they remain visually appealing, fully functional, and stand the test of time. With some preventative maintenance and prompt attention when issues arise, you can enjoy your beautiful wooden windows for years to come.