Windows 101 a residential window primer by HES in Houston, to help homeowners with some of the jargon and terminology they might hear while shopping for residential replacement windows.

 

We Do Windows!

It’s probably not surprising coming from a window company, but we love windows! We love that light comes in through them, but no sound. We love that they keep the weather out, but can open to let fresh air inside. We love that they are functional, but can also be part of your home’s aesthetics. We love windows.

Short Course on Residential Windows

In our experience, most customers have a general idea about windows, but can be confused about the various terms related to windows. We would like to clarify these terms for you and empower you to make the best decision for your home.

Window Parts and Materials

Let’s start with the parts of a window. All windows consist of a frame and glass, but some windows may also include grids, screens, and any operational components. Frames come built with a variety of materials, but common ones are wood, aluminum, vinyl, and composite. The glass component tends to have the most terminology and, therefore, the most significant area for confusion.

 

What a Pane

Glass can be single, double, or triple-paned. That simply is how many layers of glass you have. In our next article, we will take a deeper dive into the different layers and the benefits of each.

Glass Types

There are also different types of glass used for windows that are listed below:

  • Annealed glass- standard glass. Example: drinking glasses
  • Tempered glass- safety glass that breaks in small pieces. Example: shower doors or car windows
  • Laminated glass- security glass that cracks but is difficult to breakthrough. Example: car windshield.
  • Privacy or obscured glass- glass with low visibility. Example: bathroom window.

Common Window Types or Configurations

There are different configurations of windows available, and most of them are named based on their operation:

  • Picture windows do not open or close (operate).
  • Single-hung windows have a fixed upper sash, and the lower sash can open or close.
  • Double-hung windows allow both top and bottom sashes to operate.
  • Slider windows operate by sliding left or right instead of up and down.
  • Casement windows are hinged to open like a book.

But Wait, There’s More…

Lastly, here are a few terms you may hear:

  • Grids- historically used to divide the glass, but currently is used for aesthetic purposes to achieve the same look
  • Single- one window per opening
  • Twin- two windows in one opening
  • Triple- three windows in one opening

That’s The Basics of Residential Windows

Now, don’t worry, there’s no quizzes or final exams. Seriously, we hope this very concise article has enlightened and prepared you, at least a little. It’s frustrating to have jargon tossed about by companies and manufacturers, and not understanding what it all means. We’ll stop here for now and pick up where we left off in our next installment: Windows 201.

For more information, check out our next article here for the benefits of different types of windows.