Archive for the ‘ Reference ’ Category

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)