Are you considering replacing your windows, but find yourself overwhelmed by all the technical jargon?
We know all you want is a high-performance, stylish, and energy-efficient window system. However, before you can enjoy the finished product, it’s crucial to understand the components, features, and types of windows available to get exactly what you want from your window replacement.
Learn the essential window installation buzzwords below, so you can feel like an expert when discussing what you want during your upcoming replacement with your contractor!
The five parts of a window are the frame, casing, windowpanes, sash, and grilles. Keep reading to discover the role each of these components plays in the window system:
The window’s frame is comprised of three components—the head, jamb, and sill. The head is the ledge above the window, the jambs are the vertical sides of the frame, and the sill is the window’s bottom ledge. Typically, window frames are made from materials like wood, vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass.
Your window may also include a sill extender, called the apron, at the bottom of the window. This feature covers the gap between the sill and the opening.
The casing is the decorative material, or molding, around the window that covers the space between the frame and the wall.
Windowpanes are the sheet(s) of glass held within the frame. You may have single-pane, double-pane, or triple-pane windows, which vary in cost, energy efficiency, and longevity.
The sash is the movable piece that slides up or down when you open and close your window. It also provides stability to the window and helps hold the glass panes together.
Often, weatherstripping is applied between the sash and the frame to prevent air and water leaks into the house.
Grilles, also known as muntins, divide your windowpanes into smaller sections. Although not all windows have grilles, they’re a popular addition to windows for their aesthetic appeal.
You’ll likely have windows that include some combination of the following terms:
Single-pane windows, also known as single-glaze windows, are only made with one pane of glass. They’re not as efficient as other window alternatives, and they’re not recommended for warm, sunny climates like Southern California.
Double-pane windows have two panes of glass separated by dense gasses, called a spacer, so they have extra insulation and are more efficient than single-pane windows.
Triple-pane windows are the most energy-efficient option available to homeowners. These window systems are made of three panes of glass separated by two gas spacers, giving them the highest resistance to heat loss and lowest rate of energy transfer.
Insulating Glass Unit
Insulating glass units (IGUs) are another name for double-pane or triple-pane systems—essentially, window systems that include two or more panes separated by dense gasses.
Double-hung windows are also called double-sash windows. They have two movable sashes that operate vertically, which allows you to open the top sash, bottom sash, or both sashes simultaneously. Double-hung windows are popular because they’re effortless to clean.
Unlike double-hung windows, single-hung windows have one moveable sash on the bottom and a fixed sash on the top, allowing you to slide your lower windowpane up and down. Single-hung windows are more affordable than double-hung windows, making them a desirable option for homeowners looking to save money on their window installation.
Window Energy-Efficient Terms
When installing new windows, you’ll likely hear these terms referring to your window’s energy efficiency:
U-factor measures your window’s rate of heat loss, so this value represents how well your window insulates your home. U-factor values can range from 0.25 to 1.25, and high-performance windows typically have a U-factor of 0.30 or lower.
R-value measures your window’s resistance to heat loss, so unlike U-factor, higher values are better. R-5 is an excellent R-value for a window system.
Low-E Insulating Glass
Low-E is a thin, invisible coating made from metal that coats your windowpanes to prevent heat transmission, which improves your system’s energy efficiency.
Argon is a colorless, odorless, dense gas used to create space between panes in double-pane or triple-pane window systems.
Energy Star® is a government-run program that offers certifications to consumer products that meet specific standards for energy efficiency. When installing replacement windows, it’s wise to look for products that Energy Star backs for maximum efficiency.
Keep Learning about the Window Replacement Process with Approved Contractor
We believe it’s important that you understand each step of the window replacement process. That’s why we take the time to educate you, and we promise your project won’t start until your window questions are answered.