Window Basics: The Right Style for Your Home
Windows come in a variety of sizes and styles. There are structural differences and different types of opening mechanisms. Traditionally, windows were sliding sash windows or casement windows with side hinges. Friction and pivot hinges are new opening mechanisms. There are considerable variations in size, shape, and material of windows. Terminology also varies. Reading the manufacturer’s literature carefully is important. Replacing windows in older homes often requires custom building. Most window styles are available in different materials. Each has pros and cons regarding appearance and maintenance.
Divided Lites and Grilles
In the past, windows with smaller panels were more affordable and easier to produce than large clear glass sheets. Today, the traditional look has become popular again, even though technology now allows larger window panels to be created that are less expensive. The small glass window panels are called divided lites. Grilles, or strips of wood, separate them. The manufacture of a true divided lites window entails a solid wood frame that uses wood strips to break it into shapes.
Historically Styled Windows
Newer homes often utilize the popular choice of grilles. They add a historic style. They are made of the same material as the window frame. Removable grilles are offered by some manufacturers. Detachable grilles are great for those who like the divided lites look, but have no true concern about attaining a historical style. Those windows are less expensive. They also provide an option that makes cleaning behind the grille, when necessary, easier.
Awning windows are designed to open about 45 degrees. Older designs have butt hinges along the top edge. Friction hinges on the ends of the top edge are used in new awning windows. It may seem that choosing the window type is the most important aspect of the process. Understanding maintenance and operating directions are just as important.
Vinyl double glazed windows offer excellent sound and heat insulation. New vinyl double glazed windows often replace old windows in a home. The windows are available in white and other finishes such as wood grain. Little maintenance is involved in vinyl double glazed windows.
An excellent option when maximum light is required, is aluminum windows. The advantage of aluminum is a thin frame that is strong enough to support a large glass expanse. The problems with aluminum are it conducts heat away from the home and is condensation prone. The solution, required by some building regulations, is aluminum double glazed windows. Aluminum double glazed windows reduce heat loss. Old aluminum windows often rusted. The manufacture of modern versions includes a coating that is low-maintenance and durable.
There are windows made from material combinations. Aluminum windows sometimes have steel casements housed in wooden frames or a wooden core that reduces heat loss. Frames that have maintenance-free vinyl or fiberglass exteriors and decorative real wood on the interior are available. There are also lead-light-effect double glazed windows to be had.
A traditional, distinctive design is the double-hung window. It has two vertical sashes that slide. Modern sashes are made of vinyl or wood. Some versions have tilted sashes that make cleaning easy.
Nathan Bishop is the owner Go Green Glazing. They are an Australian business based in Geelong that specialises in the retrofit of double glazed windows. His team has over 100 years of combined experience in window repair, replacement & retrofitting.