Window Parts are Like a Puzzle

When buying a window, homeowners focus primarily on window size and styles however today, energy efficiency is also a factor to consider. When we buy a window, we should realize that the window parts are like puzzles, it has pieces that fit together to give you a tight, energy efficient view of the outdoors.

Most window parts are useful and some are decorative. 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.

Window Parts Start With The Glass

Window decorative shutters - originated from holes in a wall which might be covered by animal hides, cloth or wood. Over time, glass (paper in Asia) was used to cover these openings to protect those inside and permit natural light indoors.

Stained glass - were originally made up of multiple pieces of glass, joined with lead

Large windows - started when industrial glass making processes were developed

What's fascinating is windows started with many window (glass) parts, and with manufacturing improvements, became one part but now, for energy efficiency, multiple pieces of glass (double or triple pane) are being used again.

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. 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 are located inside the window frame, which is made up of more window parts that don't move. You must understand the purpose of making up the frame to create an enclosure within which the window can operate (slide) smoothly for years of use.

Window Parts that Make Them Airtight

Although we love the natural sunlight we get from windows, we could enjoy them more if they're not drafty.

Draft - 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 - serves as another way to lessen air flow, this can be added to older windows where the sash meets the window frame and moves up and down.

Insulation - this is important between the window frame and the rough opening of your exterior walls.

Caulking - this is the final window part required to make your windows as energy efficient as possible. Caulking covers the slits 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 movable.

Window Parts to Create a Great Look

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.

Tina Gleisner, founder of the Association of Women Home Owners connects homeowners with concepts, terminology and advice to build homes that support today's lifestyles. Through the library and directory at, you can LEARN more about how to maintain and repair your home and more.


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