How Custom Windows Work — Window Words of the Day

Versatile Wood Products spends a large portion of its professional life making custom windows work. Like a master baker blends the same ingredients to produce a culinary masterpiece, our custom window designs are grounded in extraordinary mastery of ordinary window components.

Just some of the ordinary elements that make custom windows work

SPA Hallway Custom Windows Work

Here you will find various terms with pictures and diagrams, all done by our team. We hope you’ll find this look at the history and meaning of some of the window world’s more obscure terminology informative, useful and maybe a bit entertaining. Click on the link to the pages for information and illustrations about each Window Word!

An inert, colorless and odorless gas used to fill the airspace between the insulating glass panes. This greatly increases the overall performance of the glass; Argon gas is less conducive to heat than air.

The glass panes are sealed to keep the gas from escaping. This ensures a consistent interior temperature as well as overall energy efficiency.  This method works for all window frames and allows for unobstructed views and reliable insulation.

A mechanical device, normally spring-loaded, used in hung windows to counterbalance the weight of the sash during operation.

Also called sticking, this is a molding or stop placed around a window frame to hold the glass in place by pressure.

In traditional woodworking, a bead is typically a rounded shape cut into a square edge to soften the edge and provide some protection against splitting. Beads can be simple round shapes, or more complex patterns.

A rectangular molding used in the assemblage of a double hung window frame; nailed between the outside trim and the outside sashes, it serves as a stop for storm sashes and screens and assists in preventing air infiltration.

The part of the exterior of a window that is designed to cover the small gap between the frame and the exterior siding. It is typically made of wood, wood composite, aluminum or PVC and received its name because brick was once the most common exterior facade or facing.

A window unit that swings open from one of its vertical edges. These windows are normally operated with either a casement lock and stay bar system (the traditional hardware) or a mechanical crank system with a concealed hinge.

The bottom rail of the top sash and the top rail of the bottom sash of a double hung window that meet horizontally in the center of the unit or the two vertical members of sash in a slider window that meet in the center. This is also sometimes called the meeting rail.

A Double Hung window with a bottom sash that is taller in height than the top sash.

The configuration commonly seen in Craftsman style houses (1900 to 1930) features the six lite upper sash paired with a unobstructed larger lower sash.

Lumber extending from a window or door frame to accommodate different wall thicknesses.

Why do you need an extension jamb? Since the energy crisis of the 1970s brought on the demand for thicker insulation, most contemporary houses are framed with 2×6 studs. Windows, though, are generally still configured for 2×4 walls, so the jambs have to be extended to bring the window flush with the drywall.

A series of interlocking fingers precisely cut on the ends of two pieces of wood which mesh together with heat-based adhesive. It is stronger than a butt or lap joint, and often contributes to the aesthetics of the piece.

Alternate names include box-pin joint or box joint. It’s advantage is that it does not require nails or screws to create a very strong joint once glued. It can be much stronger than a dovetail joint. This is because of the additional intersections that create additional surfaces for the glue to adhere to.

The horizontal and vertical members of a door or window unit which surround the sash, are used to secure the door or window unit into the rough opening and to the building, and/or to which the hinge and lock strike hardware are normally attached.

Glazing comprised of two or more glass panes separated by a hermetically sealed airspace. Heat transmission through this type of glass may be as low as half that without such an air space. This space may or may not be filled with an inert gas, such as argon.

A hermetic seal makes the window airtight and minimizes the amount of warm (or cool) air that can pass through. This enables the mechanical ventilation system to recover the heat before discharging the air externally. These windows combine triple-pane insulated glazing with the airtight void between panes filled with argon or krypton gas to reduce thermal conductivity and increase R-value (insulation) efficiency.

A short, lightweight bar that visually divides a window into “separate” panes.

Until the middle of the 19th century, it was economically necessary to use smaller panes of glass, which were much more affordable to produce, and fabricate into a grid to make large windows and doors.