Breaking Down the Different Parts of a Window

01 Parts of a Window

New windows on your home can help boost its appearance and even its value. When selecting a window, you’ll need to consider what type of window will function best in your home and what features will fit your unique needs. There are more parts and materials for windows than you might expect.

Fortunately, we’ve broken down the essential parts of a window and what each one does to help you find the right window for your home. Understanding your window components will help make the search for a quality window replacement easier and simpler so you can get your new window faster. Learn more about the parts of a replacement window and the different window options you can install in your home.

Options for Window Materials

There are several material options for residential windows. The right material for your home will depend on your budget, needs and design. The parts of a vinyl window aren’t typically that much different than those of a wood or fiberglass window. The material mainly influences the price point and longevity of the window.

Since there are a few material options for replacement windows, you’ll want to consult with a professional about your selection. They can help you choose a window that best fits your budget while meeting your efficiency and home requirements.

  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass window frames and sashes — the part that holds the glass pane together — are five-layer pultruded fiberglass materials. These windows are strong and relatively simple to install.
  • Wood: For wood windows, the sash and frame are constructed from solid wood for a durable, natural finish.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl windows have an exterior and interior sash and frame made of extruded rigid polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It’s often the least expensive type of window material.
  • Composite: Composite windows are built from a blend of materials. They’re usually made of interior PVC layers and an exterior wood type, giving you the durability of PVC and the classic wood design at a more economical price. Composite combines the best of both materials for a sturdy and stylish window.

Exterior Parts of a Double-Hung Window

Double-hung windows are one of the most popular window types for homeowners. With a timeless, classic silhouette and a convenient push-up design, they’re perfect for any home. Because you can slide up the bottom of a double-hung window, they’re excellent for ventilation — just slide open the window whenever you need a cool breeze.

The exterior section of a double-hung window is the frame, which supports the entire window. There are three parts of a window frame — the head, the sill and the jamb:

  • Head: The head is the horizontal section that makes up the top of the frame.
  • Sill: The sill is a horizontal section like the head, but it makes up the bottom of the window frame.
  • Jamb: The jambs are the two vertical portions of the frame that sit on either side of the glass.
  • Jamb liner: Jamb liners are strips that go along the sides of the frame. Having jamb liners gives the window sash a better, more snug fit.

Interior Parts of a Double-Hung Window

The parts of a window interior are the most familiar to homeowners since the inside is what you see the most. The right interior window will secure your home from the elements and can have decorative features to give your home an attractive, cohesive design. The interior parts help seal your house and allow you to get natural light throughout the day.

  • Glass: This is the framed glass sheet that lets your window be a window. Residential glass is usually transparent, but you can purchase frosted or tinted films for added privacy in bathrooms and other private areas.
  • Sash: The sash slides within the horizontal and vertical frame, holding the glass in place and allowing it to move.
  • Rails: Rails are horizontal pieces of the window sash. There are three rails on a double-hung window interior — the upper rail, the lower rail and the check rail. The check rail is the middle of the window where the upper part of the lower sash and the bottom part of the upper sash meet.
  • Sash lock: The sash lock is used on single- or double-hung windows. It’s a locking mechanism that helps reduce rattling when engaged.
  • Balance: The balance is a mechanical, often spring-loaded device inside the window. It’s used in both single- and double-hung windows to counterbalance the sash’s weight during window opening and closing.
  • Lift: The life is a handle used to raise the lower sash on single- or double-hung windows. It’s commonly found on wood windows.
02 The right interior window

Parts of a Casement Window 

Casement windows are another popular style of residential window. These windows use a hand crank to push the window open and outward, letting air flow into the home. The hand crank gives you precise control over the window and how much you want it to open.

  • Aluminum cladding: The exterior parts of the window are covered in extruded aluminum. These covered sections of wood are called aluminum cladding. The aluminum is often coated in a factory-applied finish to help prevent weathering and element damage.
  • Hinged glass panel: This is the singular piece of glass that makes up the majority of the window. 
  • Casing: The casing is a decorative frame or molding around the edges of the window. It covers the space between the wall and the window jamb or frame.
  • Operator: The operator opens and closes casement or awning windows. It’s usually crank-operated.
  • Lock handle: This is the locking mechanism for the window, which is typically placed on the window jamb.
  • Weatherstripping: Weatherstripping covers the space between the window frame and sash created by the joint. This prevents water and air leaks from sneaking through and traveling into the house.

Additional Window Features

Since windows are essential to any home, they come with many features and options to give you a more customized experience. Along with different finishes, materials and colors, you can have your choice of the following:

  • Screens: Screens are standard features on most windows, but they’re unnecessary for proper window function. Screens are woven accessories typically made from fiberglass, metal or plastic. Screens cover a window opening, letting air and light through the window while preventing bugs and debris from getting inside.
  • Grilles: Grilles are decorative window divisions. They divide panels up, making them look like multiple glass panes. Grilles give a window a better aesthetic look and create exciting lines for added dimension.
  • Mullion: This is a structural piece that connects two or more windows together. If you have a wall of windows in your home or are considering installing multiple windows together, they’ll need a mullion to hold everything in place and provide support.
  • Argon gas: Argon gas is a non-toxic, inert gas used to insulate glass. It helps reduce heat transfer and makes your home a more comfortable, constant temperature.
  • Apron: A window apron is a trim usually placed underneath the window stool or sill. It’s purely decorative and gives your window an extra design feature that accentuates the style of the window and room.
  • Cladding: While aluminum cladding is popular for casement windows, you can get several kinds of cladding on your windows. Along with aluminum, vinyl and fiberglass cladding options are available for window exteriors. Cladding eliminates the need for painting and protects the window from the elements.
  • Low-E coating: Low-emissivity coatings are thin, transparent coatings that help improve the efficiency of your windows. The coating lets in light but reflects heat, so you get all the lighting benefits of the sun without the energy-increasing heat.
  • Glazing: Double- or triple-glazed windows have a sealed space that allows argon gas or air to fill the space between glass pane layers. The more layers your window has, the better noise reduction and insulation it’ll provide.

Trust Coldstream Exteriors for Your Window Installation

Windows are essential to maintaining security and comfort in your home. Poor material and installation can mean expensive energy losses and repairs down the road. At Coldstream Exteriors, we offer high-quality window options and installation, securing your peace of mind and helping cut down on energy costs.

We know how essential it is to have durable, superior windows for your home year-round. That’s why we offer lifetime warranties on all windows we install. If you even end up with broken glass, we’ll come and fix it for free. Emergencies and damages can happen at any time — that’s why you can get in touch with us 24/7.

As a fully insured company rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, you can count on us to deliver exceptional service at affordable rates. If you’re in Cincinnati, Tampa or St. Louis, contact us and schedule your free estimate inspection today!

03 Trust Coldstream Exteriors for Your Window Installation