Window Types, Hardware and Glazing

Windows and window frames receive the same kind of ornamentation and enrichment as doors and fireplaces in stately homes and mansions. These elements have even more expression in country homes and cottages as the main building element used to signify the architectural style and character of the house and the taste of occupants.
There is an open, honest expression in its simple and broad windows, a strength and steadiness in its low and solid walls, a look of homely, hospitable shelter in its broad overhanging roof, which altogether affect us with the feeling of beauty, because, like agreeable lines and features in the face, they are manifestations of the intrinsic goodness of the mind within.1

Types of Windows

Sash Window

Hung or sash windows are commonly used for traditional single-family homes and most other building types. Each sash moves vertically in tracks on the window jamb. Double-hung windows are made with two window sashes that hold panes of glass. Each sash is "hung" from pulleys at the top of the jamb with rope or metal chain connected to counterweights. The weight of each sash is balanced by the counterweights to make it easy open and close. Triple- and quadruple-hung windows let the breeze flow in floor-to-ceiling windows of historic houses, and tall windows in churches and public buildings. Single-hung windows usually have an operable lower sash and fixed upper sash.
  • Double-hung window
  • Triple-hung window
  • Single-hung window

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows or gliding windows move horizontally along tracks on the head and sill of the window frame. Commonly used in modern hotels and urban buildings, one sash can be fixed and the other sash limited to a small opening for security, with some ventilation.

Hinged Windows

Four types of hinged windows, each with a different location to attach hinges on the window frame. Each type is designed to either open into the room (in-swing) or outside of the exterior wall (out-swing). Casement windows were used long before sash windows became popularized in Europe, during the late 17th century. Commonly paired together and opening in opposite directions (left-hand and right-hand side), separated by a wood or brick mullion.
  • Casement window – hinges on either side of the window "case"
  • Awning window – hinges on top, and the window opening faces down
  • Hopper window – hinges on the bottom and window is open to the sky
  • Combination casement/awning window popular in Europe

Specialty Windows

  • Sidelight, transom and fanlight for doors
  • Lunette window for walls
  • Skylight and sun tunnel
  • Louvered window or jalousie
  • Picture window
  • Palladian or Diocletian window
  • Bay or bow window, curved or compass window
  • Oriel windows
  • Eyebrow windows and other types of dormers

Window hardware and accessories

  • Sash lift
  • Window catch, window fastener
  • Window lock
  • Counter-weight and pulley
  • Casement crank handle with gears
  • Casement window stays
  • Window guard (security)

Window glass or glazing

Window quality is dependent on glassmaking technology. The early method of making hand-blown panes of crown glass with trapped air bubbles has advanced to an automated  process which makes the finest quality float-glass with no imperfections, and lead-free glass with no discoloration. Insulated glass sandwiches a layer of noble gas like argon between two layers of glass with an air-tight seal to increase the R-value (thermal resistance), which may be expressed as the reciprocal U-value (heat loss).
  • Single-pane float glass
  • Insulated glass – double-glazed, triple-glazing
  • Bullet-proof security glass
  • Glass coatings reduce glare and heat transmission
  • Low-lead glass eliminates the green tint in standard glass

Window shutters

In other parts of the world where the age of buildings are measured in centuries, shutters are still closed at the end of the day for privacy and to keep out the weather. At first, animal hides and wood shutters were used to cover window openings, before glass was readily available for construction. Venetian blinds hang on the outside of windows along the canals of the maritime city. Shutters are treated as a vestigial element of modern building design (or eliminated all together), but many historic houses in the United States have shutters which serve their original purpose.
  • Louvered shutters – horizontal wood slats separated by a narrow air space
  • Paneled – raised or recessed panels surrounded by stiles and rails
Leaded-glass window
Double-hung window with leaded glass

Window Styles

Georgian style windows
Federal style windows

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Beaux-Arts style windows
Second-Empire style windows
Gothic-Revival style windows
Greek-Revival style windows
  1. Andrew Jackson Downing. The Architecture of Country Houses: Including Designs for Cottages, Farm-houses, and Villas ... 1850 D. Appleton & company

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