Getting replacement windows in Seattle, WA is a good investment. It will improve your home’s aesthetics, boost the value of your home, and make your home more energy efficient. But before you start window shopping for the right window styles, it might be prudent to learn and understand the basic parts and components of replacement windows. This will help you avoid confusion and find the best replacement windows for your home.
The window frame is the enclosing structure that attaches to the wall to support the entire window. The top part of the frame is called the head. The two sides of the frame are called the jambs. And the bottom portion of the frame is called the sill. Manufacturers use several different materials to build window frames. The four most popular include fiberglass, wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Each material comes with unique advantages and disadvantages like style, color, strength, durability, and insulation.
Most window frames are construction of interlocking chambers. This helps improve the strength of the windows while also keeping the windows light and easy to maneuver for installation. But space doesn’t usually remain hollow. Installers can fill the chambers with polyurethane foam. It fills the space and helps reduce heat transfer to the window frame itself can be even more energy efficient. Windows also have weather-stripping and caulk for the tightest possible seals and less air leakage.
The sash is the main part of the window that often gets the most attention. It is the part inside the frame that holds the glass. The top and bottom parts of the sash are called the rails. The sides of the sash are called the stiles. The sash on replacement windows can be fixed in place or operable, depending on the window style. Picture windows have one fixed sash. Awning, hopper, and casement windows have one operable sash that usually swings open on hinges. Sliding windows have one fixed sash and one operable sash that moves back and forth on a horizontal track. Single-hung windows have one fixed sash and one operable sash that operates with a spring-loaded mechanical device called a balance. And double-hung windows have two operable sashes that operate on balances.
The largest area of the window is the insulated glazing unit (IGU), or the glass. Most windows have multiple panes of glass—two, three, or even four panes. They are set apart by spacers and sealed around the edges for optimal insulation. Manufacturers fill the space between the panes with an inert gas. The gas is not reactive to heat, so it will not expand or contract with temperature fluctuations. It also slows heat coming through the glass. There are also special coatings manufacturers apply to surfaces of the glass to block heat and light. All of these technologies combine to improve insulation and light control.
Those are the basic components of windows. There is a lot more to consider before making a final decision. For more information about replacement windows in Seattle, WA contact the window experts at Signature Window & Door Replacement.
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