Choosing between Single Hung and Double Hung Windows

This question is related to vinyl windows primarily. Wood windows are double hung by default. You can easily turn your wood windows into single hung windows. Read on to find out how.

Definitions first. Single hung windows have only the bottom part (sash) operable. The top part is fixed and cannot slide up and down.  A sash, is either the top or bottom part of a window, the part that holds the glass. The frame of a window will encase the sashes creating a complete window unit.

Choosing between single and double hung windows will be easy once the following questions are asked.

Why choose single hung windows?

  1. Less money. They cost less, possibly between 15% or more depending on manufacturer.
  2. Less maintenance. Should anything go wrong with an operable sash, there are less sashes to worry about. The screen that comes with the window is half size as only the sash that opens needs it – so less screen to get damaged.
  3. Less energy loss. There is less likelihood of air leaking on the sides of the sash.

Why choose double hung windows?

  1. Easier to clean. Top sashes being operable, can flip open inside so they could be easily wiped clean.
  2. More natural. Transitioning from wood to vinyl windows will not cause re-learning the way windows are open. If one is used to opening the top mostly, the window will comply.

When not to choose a single hung or disadvantages of single hung windows.

  1. Increased liability. If a window is installed close to the floor it may become a liability when children and pets are around. If the only bottom sash is can open, then a child can push against the screen of an open window and a pet can damage the screen easily.
  2. Cleaning. If a window is high off the ground and hard to reach from the outside with a ladder, cleaning a window may result in hiring a professional window cleaner. Nothing wrong with that unless cleaning costs matter. It is worth mentioning that some single hung windows do offer the possibility to open the top, fixed sash for cleaning rendering this concern mute. YKK windows offer this feature.
  3. Access. Under rare circumstances a window can become a point of access into the house. A large window, will help you bring that beloved chest into the house. If that is of interest make sure that only that room has a double hung window and have the rest of the house single hungs.
  4. Proximity. If a piece of furniture is placed in front of the window it might be impossible to open that window.

Elements of style can influence the choice a window. No one is going to argue with that, so I leave that with you.

Having said all these, it is worth mentioning that people tend to choose single hung windows.

If you are an investor and own rentals, single hung vinyl windows are a must.

Now, in answering the question of how a wood double hung window can be changed into a single hung hire a sloppy painter. Your guess is correct: thick, wet paint can turn a double hung window into a fixed one over night.

Maybe a next article should address sticky windows. Stay tuned.

Using Gmail

Gmail appeared to be a great service simply because of reliability. I signed up as I wanted to stop hosting email on our servers.

I learned the following nasty things about gmail. It really was a painful experience.

Bad experience #1. My Android (Evo 4G) would not keep any email. Once an email arrived in the mail box, it would get deleted – right away. Sometimes it would allow me to open it up sometimes not. Having emails delivered to the phone was the main reason I switched to a “smart phone”. I used to have a Sprint air card which I abandoned with the advent of the Evo 4G. For about 4 months I had no email to my phone. It started with Froyo, everything was fine before that. So I scour the web. Many complaints, no clear answer. Maybe Froyo was not quite ready, so I wait for the new update. The update made no difference. So I call HTC, they tell me that deleting emails from the phone was a feature. I was dumbstruck and upset about it. Stonewalling the customers is not a good thing. HTC did not play nice. I call Sprint, and they told me they had no idea of such complaint. Yeah right. What would a business lose if they were honest? The web was full of complaints by this time. It just happened that one of my customers was a Sprint techie. He must’ve been high up in the chain as he was able to call Sprint right away and have access to their very ‘NOC’ center, the “IT’” place. I thought my problem was fixed just by talking to them. After two weeks they told me they had no answer. So time goes by. Frustrated and disappointed I went back to the web. After more research, I heard someone say that he had IMAP and he had no problem. Ha! I went straight to the settings, switched the account from POP to IMAP and voila! Ouch! HTC downgraded. Sprint downgraded. Blame Google. Do no evil.

Bad experience #2. Emails would download selectively. Amazingly, I would never know with confidence that I received an email to my Outlook client unless I checked the account online.  I concluded that Google wanted to make me dependent on the browser and on their cloud servers. How insidious of Google to do so! How prejudiced of me. Would you be happy if it happened to you for a paid service? Emails with attachment would be more likely not to make it. But not all of them. Today I decided to research on it. Not after long I found the solution. When setting up the desktop client to use Google account, prefix the user name with the word recent: and a colon. Unbelievable! Is this a hack!? How would anybody know. After 15 years of email experience, never did I come across such requirement. Blame Google. Do no evil.

What other things I don’t like about Gmail? The constant nagging that email in Gmail is never truly deleted and kept there for eternity for Google’s delight. Also, Google being a data mining company, is scanning my emails and gives me content aware ads on the same page. Ads on a paid service? I am ambivalent about Google’s Gmail service and when my account needs renewal, I will re-evaluate the service.

What do I like about Gmail? Just trying to be fair, I appreciate that they provide a reliable service, certainly more so than my own server. Price wise, it is the same as running my own server too. We’re good there. I’m happy the way aliases can be set up with accounts. That’s about it.

What then would I recommend? A paid service for sure, at a specialized company that makes money not in advertizing but in hosting.

I hope this is helpful to someone that is searching online for similar problems. Send me an email if you have any question. Maybe Google will send it to me.

P.S. I noticed that since I added recent: to the username, I’m getting duplicate emails to Outlook AND to my Android phone. All right, it looks I’m going to get busy with Bad Experience #3. Stay tuned. Do no evil.

Window Options

When considering a window, what are the basic options that need to be considered? Here are ten considerations in the list:

1) Material

A window can be made of some of these materials, sometimes combined:

  1. Wood
  2. Vinyl
  3. PVC
  4. Aluminum Clad

2) Shape

The standard shape is rectangular yet the list is longer:

  1. Rectangular
  2. Half round (true radius)
  3. Quarter round
  4. Circle
  5. Octagon
  6. Elliptical
  7. Trapezoid
  8. Oval and half oval
  9. Gothic, half Gothic
  10. Eyebrow and extended arch

3) Function

Function describes the use and method of operation:

  1. Single hung
  2. Double hung
  3. Awning
  4. Casement
  5. Stationary (fixed, picture)
  6. Slider
  7. Hopper
  8. Pivoted
  9. Bay (three segments)
  10. Bow (more than three segments)
  11. Garden

4) Glass

Glass usually addresses the type of insulation applied. Unless the need is specific, the glass is considered to be double glaze. Here are some terms and their meaning:

  1. IG (insulated glass)
  2. LOW-E SC (low-e, soft coat)
  3. LOW-E HC (low-e hard coat)
  4. 270-366
  5. Argon
  6. Tint

5) Grid type and pattern

Most people allow the window manufacturer to choose the grid pattern. This will result in proportionate divisions of light. There are more options though, where you can divide a sash differently and some patterns are named, such as the prairie pattern.

The grid type represents the position of the grid on the glass:

  1. GBG (grid between the glass)
  2. SDL (simulated divided light: interior, exterior, snap in)
  3. TDL (true divided light)
  4. CLEAR (usually refers to no grilles)

6) Color

Some windows, such as vinyl or clad windows, will force you to decide color at the time of purchase. Vinyl colors are limited to white, tan, almond. Aluminum clad windows can have a large spectrum of default colors and will go so far as to use a color pallet of your choosing.

7) Screen

Screens are most of the time optional. In general the screen in fiberglass with charcoal color and the screen frame matches the window colors: white, bronze or tan. In order to have a different color screen or material (such as gray aluminum screen) you must look for a local specialty provider. A window manufacturer usually will not be able to help beyond the normal expectation.

8.) Hardware

The hardware represents the type and design choice of the locking mechanism.

9) Trim

Trim details concern the exterior mouldings (such as brick mould or backband) as well as interior jamb extensions that accommodate the thickness of the wall. The trim material may be different from the materials used in the construction of the window.

10) Dimensions

It is not enough to think of the window as width and height. A window has call sizes, rough openings and frame sizes.

And finally, as not windows are created equal, it is good to choose a known and reputable manufacturer.

Measuring a Window – 1

It depends. Yes it does.

Measuring a window may depend on where you live, the window manufacturer or the window type. It even depends on who you’re talking to.

I share with you what I do here in Georgia. The attached picture is a cross horizontal section of a wood window. I drew this with SktechUp. Not all the details are accurate as not all are relevant. For instance, the window stop is grooved into the window frame. It’s not relevant.

The single most important aspect when measuring a window is to get it right. Imagine that you have 47 windows off the truck, the crew on site, and you find out that there’s been a mis-communication. A debate starts on how to measure a window. Can you guess who will win? The builder? The supplier? It’s only $12, 355.00 dollars!

Architects use window “call size” to mark their windows on floor plans. That’s how a builder will order it. He just reads the plan out to the supplier, not that he wouldn’t know! Take a look at the picture bellow.

How to measure a window.

How to measure a window.

To download  PDF version of this picture, click this link: PDF download.

The “call size” is the distance measured inside window frame. Make sure you don’t measure the distance between the window stops. The call size is expressed in feet + inches. You will hear something like this: 2852.

English is my second language so I had to figure out this imperial system. Knowing this does make me feel like a handsome king! So here is the translation:

28 = 2 feet and 8 inches = 32 inches inside frame.
52 = 5 feet and 2 inches = 62 inches inside frame.

How helpful is it?

It is if you know what you need. When you build a new house or remodel an existing one what you have is an opening in the wall. This is called “rough opening”. To figure out the call size, you deduct 2 inches horizontally and three inches vertically from the rough opening. If you have a window and know the call size do the reverse to find the rough opening.

It’s not that bad it it? Let’s practice for the 2852 window:

C/S (call size) + 2 inches = 34 inches R/O (rough opening), horizontal
C/S + 3 inches = 65 inches R/O, vertically.

Now you know how to talk to the framer and to the supplier. Job done.

Not yet.

What if a rough opening has odd dimensions that don’t easily fit a call size? Because, you will learn, call sizes are nicely rounded numbers and divisions of inches are discarded. Also, most manufacturers keep only typical window sizes in stock and you pay a premium for custom sizes. I don’t think you want that. Again, some manufacturers, especially out of state, may use the sash dimension for the window call size. I will address some of these questions later.

Here is a list of typical window call sizes:

width: 16, 18, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32
height: 24, 26, 28, 30, 34, 38, 40, 42, 46, 52, 60

Note that there are only two digits for a typical window size: 28 and 30 but not 210. Also note, that numbers jump by 2 inches and if out of the typical range, they are spaced out further. If you have a couple of windows, it’s not a big deal. But if you have aluminum clad windows, you can save a couple of thousand dollars! Some things are good to know when you build or remodel a house.

(To be continued in a different post)

Building supply stores in Georgia

This is a list of building supply stores in the wider Atlanta area:

  1. TAPP Lumber
  2. Stock Building Supply
  3. Reeds Supply
  4. Lummus Supply
  5. Robert Bowden
  6. 84 Lumber
  7. Wheeler’s
  8. Hill’s ACE Hardware
  9. Cofer Adams

Windows Sold in Georgia

This is an (incomplete) list of windows sold in Georgia. To see window manufacturers in Georgia, see related post: Window Manufacturers in Georgia . I intend to revie all these windows in the future. If you want to be notified when that happens, go ahead and provide your email on the form on the side the blog.

  1. Magnolia (vinyl)
    420 Industrial Boulevard
    Baldwin, GA 30510
    706-778-1200
  2. Comfort View (vinyl)
    27 First Avenue
    Newnan, GA 30263
    770-251-4050
  3. Window Crafters (vinyl)
    2033 Tucker Industrial Road
    Tucker, GA 30084
    678-665-7035
  4. Weathershield (vinyl, aluminum clad)
    One Weather Shield Plaza
    Medford, WI 54451
    1-800-222-2995
  5. Georgia Windows (wood)
  6. Pencco (vinyl)
    5601 Roberts Drive
    Ashland, KY 41102
    606-928-6476
  7. Marvin Window and Door (wood, aluminum clad)
    P.O. Box 100
    Warroad, MN 56763
    1-888-537-7828
  8. Andersen (wood, clad)
    100 Fourth Avenue North
    Bayport, MN 55003-1096
    800-426-4261
  9. Pella
  10. Malta
  11. Silverlight (Andersen) (vinyl)
  12. YKK (vinyl)
  13. Precision Millworks  (all PVC)
  14. Peachtree Windows (vinyl)
  15. Ply Gem
  16. Velux
  17. Simonton
  18. Therma-TRU
  19. Wincore
  20. Windoor
  21. Custom Windows Systems

Hello world!

Thanks for spending time on my blog. If windows, doors and hardware are your interest at the moment, I’ll do my best to make it worth your while.