This article is the first in a series of 15 articles where we “decode” some of the industry terms surrounding replacement windows. Stay tuned for upcoming posts that we hope will help educate San Diego homeowners and allow them to make more informed decisions.
Windows come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in various styles with names you may not be familiar with. In this article, I hope to “decode” some of the terms you might hear as they relate to the window styles, so you can decide which ones will work best in your San Diego home.
Single and Double Hung Windows
These types of windows are taller than they are wide, and have two glass panels (also known as sashes) that are vertically oriented. In a single hung window, only one sash is operable (the bottom sash slides up over the top sash), while in a double hung window, both sashes are operable. When you buy this type of window from a more high-end manufacturer, the operable panels will often tilt in, so you can easily wash the window’s exterior. This is a great feature for second-story windows.
Single and Double Slider Windows
Single and double sliders have operable panels that slide to open horizontally along a track or in a groove. In a single slider, only one panel is operable, while the other one is fixed, but in a double slider, both panels are operable. You can also get sliders with three panels, which are known as 3-lite sliders. These windows have a fixed panel in the middle and the two end panels open and close.
Casement windows have a single panel of glass. They are hinged on one side and operated via a crank mechanism. Homeowners love casement windows for several reasons. First, they provide large amounts of ventilation, as the entire window can be opened (as opposed to only half of the window unit, as is the case with hung windows and slider windows). Second, they provide excellent visibility, since they only have one panel. They are also easy to operate.
Awning windows are very similar to casement windows, in that they are made up of only one panel, and open and close on a hinge. The only difference is an awning window is hinged at the top and opens upward.
Picture windows are the simplest of all window types. They are made up of a single, inoperable glass unit. The benefit of picture windows is that they provide an unobstructed view of the outdoors, but on the downside, they don’t provide a room with any ventilation. Often, San Diego homeowners will combine a picture window with double or single hung windows on either side to get both a good view and ventilation.
Geometric windows are windows that come in shapes other than rectangles or squares. Common shapes are circles, half-circles, or hexagons. When used well, they can provide architectural interest in a home and increase curb appeal.
Many replacement window salesmen in San Diego will suggest that you just replace whatever style your old windows are with new windows of the same style. You can certainly do this, but if you are replacing all of your windows anyway, you may want to consider changing the styles you currently have. For example, you might have a single slider over your kitchen sink. If you’re “vertically challenged” it may be difficult for you to reach the opening mechanism, which would allow you to let fresh air into your kitchen. Instead of just replacing that window with another slider, you may want to opt, instead, for a casement window that has a crank at the bottom that would be easier to reach. Or, if you have a large picture window in a room, but would really like some ventilation in that area of the house, you could replace it with an operable window, like a 3-lite slider.
If you’re still not sure what types of windows will work best in your particular home, a knowledgeable San Diego replacement window salesman should be able to help you.