Windows are one of the special features of the house. They serve their purpose by keeping the weather out and providing proper ventilation for your home. They also add to the aesthetic appeal of your home and carry a significant architectural history. Whether you own a listed building or planning to own one, then here are some of the information you may need on listed building windows.

Listed buildings

Listed buildings are properties of special interest, that are classified according to their heritage value. Grade I buildings are properties that are of “exceptional interest,” Grade II* of “more than special interest,” and Grade II of “special interest.” These may be due to a number of factors, especially those involving the architectural structures of the building, and the materials to which it was built. Windows may as well be the reason for its current listed state, and the next section will tell you why.

Listed building windows

Period or traditional windows are of great significance to listed buildings because of their history. This is because of the materials and the architecture that come with the old windows, that show the craftsmanship of that era. The most common window style are sash windows, that even goes as far back as the late 17th century. These windows are commonly designed with one fixed part, the upper sash, and a moveable lower sash. Another common style is cottage windows, as they are made to flush with the window frame.

You might also want to check out: Period windows: all about your listed building windows

Materials for traditional windows

The materials are a major part of the historical significance of the windows. Frames are made of timber, a durable hardwood which ensures it lasts for a long time. Although these may be susceptible to damage after surviving this long, constant maintenance and repair may allow it to live longer. Modern wood materials are not as durable as those made for traditional windows. Glass types may also be rare or even obsolete, such as the crown glass, typically used in sash windows. These are no longer manufactured, and thus making them literally irreplaceable. They should be retained as much as possible.

Repairs on windows

Before doing any work on windows of listed buildings, permissions are in order. Alterations to be made need a prior consultation with the local planning authority. Apart from consultation, applying for permissions are also needed before starting any work on the windows, or any part of the listed property, for that matter. Listed building windows always choose repair over replace. As these kinds of materials and architecture are rare to acquire and often replaced by commonly used lower-quality materials, especially for the wood, it is better to repair them if still possible. Other solutions can also be possible, such as making it energy-efficient through draught-proofing or adding secondary glazing.

For more information on listed building windows, check out this publication from Historic England.

Windows, especially on listed buildings, are important to creating a character for the home. Traditional windows also add to the history that goes with your property, and thus it is better to preserve them than try to replace them. It is fulfilling to own a part of history, what more to preserve it.

This article was written on behalf of Boulton & Boyce by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at

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