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I'm in the process of refurbing our sash windows. The top and bottom sashes of most of the windows in the house are out of alignment. Photo attached.

There's a 1 inch overlap of the meeting rails. This makes locking the windows and fitting draught proofing difficult.

Were the windows built like this for a reason or is there some movement in the windows causing this?

Should I leave this as is when refurbing the windows or remove some of the frame from the top and bottom sashes to they are flush?

enter image description here

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First it looks like the windows are put in reversed. The glazing putty, the angled places around the windows, have always faced out on old windows. What is now the outside should have a profile something like this

enter image description here

Although while looking for this image, I did find profiles that match what you have there too.

If they are reversed, the angled bottom will keep the window higher in the opening so the middle does not line up. If there is weatherstripping, the groove will not line up. If they are not reversed, and there is weatherstripping around the perimeter, there may be numerous coats of paint on the top and bottom, so the edge does not fit into its corresponding groove anymore, or the metal is bent so it doesn't fit either. More pictures of the frame conditions would help confirm this.

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These appear to be single or double hung windows, they were intended to be this way for operational use.

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