Windows have been around as long as homes have been around. Without the windows, a home would be dark, dull, and unsafe. Many aspects of today’s modern windows have been in use for centuries.
When you’re looking at new construction, replacing, or upgrading your windows, it’s important to understand a few basics about window anatomy.
Understanding parts of a window, how your windows are manufactured, and how over 24 possible parts are used in a window can help you make educated decisions about your home.
Parts Of a Window in General
There are two main parts of a window, the frame, and the glass panel. Each part has specific components that allow the window to function properly.
Window Frame Parts
There are 9 basic parts of a window frame. Each part plays a significant role in the function and appearance of the window.
- The Sill: These are the base parts of a window frame. A windowsill is a part you lean on or put a potted plant on. It’s necessary to protect the window from damage and make the window more attractive.
- The Jamb: These are the side verticals of the window frame. They secure the windowpane in place.
- The Head: The head is parallel to the windowsill. It is at the top and is the highest point of the window. The overall height of the window is measured from head to sill.
- Window Sashes: These hold the panes and frame around the glass. You open and close a window by moving the sash. Within the sash, you have additional parts like the stiles, rails, and grids. This is typically where the window lock is as well.
- Glass Frames (Grilles): This is what keeps the glass in place and keeps the entire structure stable. The glass frame can vary in both design and material.
- Muntins (Grids): A grid parts of a window are mostly for decorative purposes only. Sometimes they are removable for cleaning, other times they are not.
- Stiles: The stiles are directly parallel to the jambs. They are the vertical part of the window sash.
- Rails: Rails are located at the top and bottom, but double-hung windows will have additional rails. Rails are the horizontal parts of a window sash.
- Locks: Window locks can vary in size, style, and function – but most windows including new or replacement windows will have some type of locking mechanism for security.
Glass Parts of The Window
There are 4 basic parts of window glass. These parts allow the glass to bear weight, hold the structure, and provide both beauty and protection.
- Panes: This is another name for glass panes. The glass in a window can have two or three panes, which are multiple layers of glass within the window frame. More panes mean more insulation for your home.
- Spacers: Spacers are put at the top and bottom of the frames to keep the distance between the panes. The more panes you have, the more spacers you need. Single-hung window has little to no spacers.
- Argon Gas: Not all windows have this part, but it is an important element. Argon gas is often in between the windowpanes to increase the insulation and noise reduction of the window. This gas also helps increase energy efficiency.
- Apron: The apron is an additional piece that may or may not be added between your window glass panes. It is a trim that may be either supportive or simply decorative.
Additional Basic Parts as Per Window Types
- Hinges: If you have casement windows, they will have a hinged glass panel on the inside that allows the window to open and close. And that’s what makes casement windows easy to operate.
- Strikes: Double-hung windows have strikes placed on the top of the lower sash for locking the window in the middle. The lower sash lock is what makes the double-hung window popular among homeowners.
- Operator’s Arms: Used specifically for awning windows, the operator’s arms allow you to open the window by pushing on the base.
- Sash Pulls: For sliding windows, sash pulls are usually on the operating side of the window to provide a handle to push open or pull closed as needed.
- Window Panels: A curtain hung up with nails to cover a window can be considered a window panel.
Inner Parts of a Window Sash
- Drain Hole: In today’s windows, the parts of a window frame are hollow. Thus, they will have a drain hole that is manufactured as part of the frame structure.
- Sloped Sill: A sloped windowsill is not often used but can be found as part of the window sash. The upper sash is at the top part of the frame, and the bottom rail sits on top of it.
- Meeting Rail: If you have a window placed in a position where the bottom rail connects with the frame, the meeting rail will hold the entire structure together.
- Air Latch and Pulley: Sometimes you can see an air latch and pulley system used when you look at the cross-section of a window. These are innovative parts of quality window and insulation systems.
- Glass Sealant: This is simply an additional waterproof seal that may be used if necessary to keep water from entering the window. Glass sealant can be used in casement window or the entire window system.
FAQs About Window Parts