Window parts are like a puzzle, with pieces fitting together to give you a tight, energy efficient view of the outdoors. Most window parts are functional, although some are decorative as the need they satisfied no longer exists. A good example are the grids (also called muntins) that used to hold small, individual pieces of glass together when it was harder (more expensive) to manufacture large pieces of glass.
Homeowners focus primarily on window size and styles (read Windows, Windows: How Big, How Tall?) with the most common window style in the US, the double-hung sash window. Today energy efficiency is also a factor to consider when buying windows, but it's not until you have to repair a window that you worry about which window parts need to be repaired or replaced.
Which Window Parts Are We Talking About?
It's really funny trying to research information about window parts online and here's why. The Windows operating system! It gets more interesting if you try to apply computer concepts to a physical window. While “close” seems to work well, try imagining how you could “minimize” a window and to some degree, closing curtains or lowering blinds are quite similar to minimizing a window. So let's get back on track and explore the key components of a window and how it's constructed.
Window Parts Start With The Glass
The earliest windows were simply holes in a wall which might have been covered by animal hides, cloth or wood. Over time, glass was added to these openings to protect those inside from the elements while allowing natural light indoors. These early windows were made up of multiple pieces of glass, joined with lead in the same way that stained glass windows are made today.
Today's large windows weren't possible until industrial glass making processes were developed. What's fascinating is windows started with many window (glass) parts, and with manufacturing improvements, became one large piece of glass. For energy efficiency, multiple pieces of glass (double or triple pane) are now used and there are several options for the type of gas injected between the glass panels for higher efficiency.
Window Parts Hold the Glass
Today's window glass is held together with many window parts made from wood, metal or vinyl. Smaller window parts are combined to make larger, movable window parts called sashes. A double-hung window has 2 sashes and while they can slide up and down, it is possible to order windows with a fixed sash, to save money. Different window styles move differently, i.e. casement windows swing in and out and sliders, simply slide left or right.
Window Parts for Opening and Closing
Sashes sit inside the window frame, which is made up of more window parts that don't move. We could give you the name of each window part (WeatherMasterWindows describes window parts and buyer options) making up the frame but what's more important is understanding the purpose, to create an enclosure within which the window can operate (slide) smoothly for years of use.
Window Parts that Make Them Airtight
We might love the natural sunlight we get from windows but we won't can't enjoy them if they're drafty. A draft means air flow and with it, the heated (or cooled) air we paid for is lost to the outdoors, and you'll pay more to replace it.
- Glass features exist to save energy – double and triple pane windows slow the loss of conditioned air. These windows can have gas between them and/or special low E glass that reflects heat before it passes through the window.
- Weatherstripping which adds another barrier to reduce air flow, should be added to older windows where the sash meets the window frame and moves up and down.
- Insulation – is critical between the window frame and the rough opening of your exterior walls. From years running my handyman business, I've seen this simple task forgotten in hundreds of homes.
- Caulking – is the last window part needed to make your windows as energy efficient as possible. Caulking fills the gaps between your window and the siding (all 4 sides) that your window butts up to, like weatherstripping but it doesn't have to be that flexible.
Window Parts to Create a Great Look
By now you realize there are lots of window parts, and some of them aren't pretty. The last step to installing a window is trimming it out, inside and outside. Sitting just below the window is the sill on the outside, and on the inside it's called the stool (technically but most of us call both halves, the window sill). Inside there's an apron below the window stool to provide a nice finished look. Wrapping the other 3 sides of the window inside, are window parts known as window casing.
I love large, luxurious windows! They are essential for having a healthy home atmosphere and for the design of the house/ apartment.
It’s good to know more about window parts for when we replace the windows in our home. I never knew any of this information.
I have never thought this much about windows but it does give one pause for thought.
Such a great article. My hubby is a general contractor and I had him come read it and he says this lady knows her stuff!! Great article
Very interesting! We’ve been thinking about redoing our windows. I had never thought about this before.
Good luck replacing your windows as it’s a big investment!
Nowadays there are such good quality windows available. We have double glazing and they are so good that they really keep our house warm in the winter.
We are ordering new windows soon. It is good to know about all the parts and what they do. Very informative.
What a detailed post! I love things to do with home. I think I found my new favorite blog! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Thanks for your feedback & please let me know topics you want to learn more about … as that’s what I’m trying to do here, is help women learn about their homes so they can enjoy them more & build financial equity too.
I used to have terrible windows in the flat I used to live until April. There was no glazing, no insulation, they were made out of wood and I always had troubled with condensation which led to mold. They were a nightmare to clean. Now I have one piece windows that double as doors to the garden and to the terrace. It’s such a huge difference!
What a great guide to windows. This is perfect for those renovating, or into interior design!
I recently bought new windows on one side of my house and didn’t realize how dirty they get. It is really useful to understand these windows and how to easily remove them and clean them etc. Great post!
Many of the new double-hung windows can be tilted to make cleaning easier, so check to see if your new windows have this feature.
I have plenty of windows in my house, but I did not know about all of the pieces to a window. We need to do more weather stripping on our doors and windows.
Love the actual title of your post. It really sets the stage for your content. I am happy that I have a husband who is in the business to help in this area. Wouldn’t be a fun project for me.
Valerie, Loved your comment & understand why you get it … and then you also understand why homeowners can do a better you of protecting their homes when they learn a little bit about how they’re built.
This really just reminds me that I have been wanting to do new Windows in my home. We need to replace some older ones and do some updating.
Jessica, Glad you understand that it’s not necessary to replace all your windows. I recommend ones that are difficult to operate & those in rooms where you spend lots of awake time, as that’s where you’ll benefit the most.
I’ve not thought before how windows go together – it is really interesting to think about them like a puzzle so it makes sense.
Thanks Sarah, as I try to find fun ways to make learning about your house … fun!
This is more windows than I expected to learn about. Perfect article for the home decorator or remodelor! I know when its time to change these windows (which will be soon) I know where to come!
Thanks & let me know if you have other questions (lots more window info here too, https://hometipsforwomen.com/windows