Why/What/How/Repair Replace? Cost Analysis

1. Traditional Box Framed Counterbalance Double Hung Sash windows.

Counterbalance Systems Can be identified by Cotton Sash cords and Pulleys caste iron weights attached hidden in the weight box box (counterbalance) 
These windows are beautifully crafted and built to last. Have been built with quality Cedars and hardwoods built from 1860 till approx. late 1950s.

  • ColonialStyle
  • VictorianStyle
  • Federation Style
  • Art Deco
  • Between the Wars
  • Californian Bungalows

All these traditional windows can be restored or repaired to function beautifully for top and bottom windows, effortlessly sliding due to counterbalance systems.

The best double hung windows were the earliest ones Victorian /Federation/Art Deco with pulleys, approx. 1700 mm x 850mm or anything that was designed to be taller than it is wide.

Some of the windows built in the early fifties (mostly in apartment blocks) don’t have pulleys and run on the cord running on friction, some of these windows are wider than they are tall which is not the best design. It was a time when things were being made cheaper and quicker. However a good repair to these windows will definitely be better value than replacing with cheap timber or aluminium windows.

Cost Analysis: Traditional Box Framed Double Sash Hung windows.


  • Basic Standard Service Repairs(top and bottom window functioning) and beading change  Approx. $350 per window(dependant on condition)
  • Draft seal Recondition and 3mm glass change (top and bottom window functioning) Approx.$890.00 plus GST(dependant on condition)
  • Install Brand New Counterbalance Box Frame Cedar Sash Window (same quality and profile as federation style)  $3,500.00 installed (we do not install new windows)

This cost analysis shows that servicing/restoring your Traditional Box Framed Counterbalance Double Hung Sash windows is a valuable /economic/environmental thing to do, you are restoring the heritage, and once repaired windows work and function great.Very seldom are windows of this style beyond repairs.

In my mind these traditional windows are the best windows ever made and designed. When we reached the late fifties we started down the road to obsolete capitalism style society that builds things to break down. Window companies today will give you a one year guarantee.


2. Spiral Spring Balance Double Hung Windows (timber or aluminium)

These windows were built from the mid-fifties 60s/70s/80s/90s to the present day(Can be identified by Plastic or metal tubes/rods at the side of the window)

All these windows can be repaired successfully, however they are inferior to Traditional counterbalance windows

Unlike traditional windows with counterbalance, Spiral spring Balanceswindows are required to be held up by the spiral spring balances, the springs have a shorter life span of 5-7 years 10 max

Also they are inferior as you need to use greater force to pull the windows up and down, as they have no counter balance only the spring holds them up

The best spiral Spring balance Windows are the red cedar ones with hardwood sills from the 60s 70s, the sashes are quite sound and once repaired will last.

The problem windows are the “Maple Windows” built in the 70s and early eighties, when the weather gets to the maple it rots in the “mortise and tenon” join and some of these windows were made with maple sills. Maple is a Disaster for a windowsill in the long term.

The Cedar mass produced style from early 90s to present day (clear finish on the inside/usually carry black Witco spirals) are actually pretty good windows and can be successfully repaired. But don’t paint the windows on the inside keep them estapol clear finish as this does not choke on the beadings like White acrylic paint.


Cost Analysis: Spiral Spring Balance Double Hung Sash windows.


  • Basic Standard Service Repairs (top and bottom window functioning) and beading change  Approx. $420.00 per window (dependant on condition)
  • Draft seal Recondition and 3mm glass change (top and bottom window functioning) Approx.$970 plus GST (dependant on condition)
  • Install Brand New Spiral balance or Spring Style Cedar Window (not draft sealed) $2500.00installed (we do not install new windows)

So you can see from this analysis that servicing/restoring your Spiral Spring Balance window is cost effective .Very seldom are windows of this style beyond repair.

It has come to my attention that there are some handymen/window repairers who are offering to adapt Traditional Box Framed Counterbalance Double Hung Sash windows.. by repairs to … Spiral Spring Balance Double Hung Windows they will tell you that this is what is required and they will be better. Do not listen to this, they will remove/steal your pulleys and weights and sell them on and route your windows to carry spiral balances leaving you with an inferior window that will fail within years. For me a lover of traditional windows this is a crime

Please do not fall into this trap, the reason they are offering to do this is that they do not carry the right knowledge/ weights /pulleys/tools to repair traditional windows they are taking the cheaper option and destroying your windows and our heritage.