Originally built to house industrial workers, terrace houses were hugely popular during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), especially in the former manufacturing and textile areas of Yorkshire, including Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.


Despite its links to the industrial past, the Victorian terrace has long being renowned for its style and many still boast their original features including ceiling roses, cornicing, fireplaces and floorboards. Homeowners are understandably keen to protect and replicate these features and, here at Ilkley Windows, we are often involved in upgrading windows and doors in Victorian terraced properties.


Here are our top tips for upgrading the windows and doors of your Victorian terrace.


  1. 1. Consider restoring your bay window

The bay window dates back to the English Renaissance, but it fell out of popularity following the 1808 Window Tax Act when new rates made building houses with large windows too expensive. Reserved only for the most extravagant of houses, the bay window gave way to flat front styles, until the tax was repealed in 1851, in the middle of the Victorian period.


Ever since this time, the bay window has grown in popularity, not least because they let in lots of light and make a room look much bigger than it actually is. Now the bay can be found in many properties, including the 1920s semi-detached and modern ‘new-build’ homes.


Here at Ilkley Windows, we have over 40 years’ experience of renovating, restoring and rebuilding bay windows. If you are looking to replace a bay window, talk to our sales advisors who will be able to help and advise.


  • 2. Choose sliding sash windows to recreate the traditional look

Whether your traditional Victorian terrace has bay or flat front windows, sliding sashes are the style of choice for houses of this period. Often decorated with ornate curved horns, arched heads, mouldings and leaded lights, the windows were just as intricately designed as many of the internal features, such as the cornicing and fireplaces.


Sliding sash windows were originally made from timber and so required regular painting and maintenance. Many Victorian terrace owners are choosing to upgrade to our PVC-u sliding sash windows, as they have all the character of the original sliding sash, as well as being low maintenance and thermally efficient.


  • 3. Choose from a wide range of colours

Traditionally, Victorian sliding sashes would have been painted very dark green, brown or even black. However, we find that our customers prefer to continue the Georgian tradition of off-white or cream frames.


Our sliding sash windows are available in a variety of period colours, such as Chartwell Green and in a wide range of authentic woodgrain foil finishes.


  • 4. Create a grand entrance with a new front door

Doors were originally made out of timber with either four or six panels, some of which may have been filled with glass panes. Typically painted green, dark blue, chocolate brown or a deep red, the front door would have been well maintained, with gleaming brass furniture including a prominent knocker and letterbox.


We find that a lot of homeowners are now looking for an alternative to timber doors because they can be high maintenance, as they need to be painted regularly.


Our composite Solidors offer the perfect alternative - they have the authentic woodgrain appearance of timber, but a weather resistant outer skin means they are easy to maintain as they do not require painting or varnishing. They are also renowned for being very secure and are available in the Police-approved Secured by Design Specification.


Available in a wide range of colours and designs, with leaded light options and gold hardware, we can help you find the perfect entrance door for your Victorian terrace home.


5. Save on energy bills

Victorian terraces are very grand, but they are sometimes known for being draughty. This is the reason why many people choose to upgrade their windows and doors to ensure their homes are as energy efficient as possible. Many owners of Victorian terraces are choosing to upgrade to triple glazing, particularly for sliding sash windows, as it helps to reduce energy bills. Triple glazed windows can also be a good choice because they reduce noise pollution from outside - very useful if your home is next to a major road.


If you would like further information about upgrading your windows and doors, visit our showroom on Leeds Road or call us on 01943 816212.