Tag: window maintenance

  • Window Terminology

    Buying windows is hard enough. Understanding all the window jargon that comes with shopping for windows is even more confusing. Here is some window terminology and definitions, courtesy of  the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, to help you make the right decision about your windows.

    Components of a window

    Windows consist of the following components: (see figure 1)

    • frame
      • sill
      • head
      • nailing flange
      • mullion
    • glazing
    • sash
      • stile
      • rail
      • hardware

    Figure 1 - Components of a window


    The horizontal and vertical portions that surround the sash and on which it is hung comprise the frame. Frames are usually made of the same materials as the sash. Window frames may be manufactured with or without nailing flanges. Frame and sash design and construction are important for both energy efficiency and appearance. Several materials are commonly used:

    Wood frames have high insulating properties and can be painted or stained any colour. They require ongoing maintenance to prevent moisture damage. They are usually less expensive than frames made of other materials.

    Clad wood frames have the advantage of wood’s natural insulating qualities, but they require less maintenance. The cladding is usually aluminum or vinyl, available in limited colours. Moisture problems can be reduced if the cladding is applied properly to the wood. If moisture gets trapped between the cladding and the wood, damage and rot can occur unseen.

    Aluminum frames are strong and durable, but they readily conduct heat. To avoid heat loss and condensation, aluminum frames are required by the National Building Code of Canada to have a thermal barrier inside made from rigid foam, polyurethane or wood, to reduce heat transfer. While aluminum frames are durable and require little maintenance, they have poor insulating properties. Some aluminum frames have mitred joints in the corners, which can allow water to leak into the wall if the joints are not properly sealed or the seals fail.

    Vinyl frames are available in two types.

    1) Extruded vinyl frames incorporating internal air cavities

    2) Reinforced inner structure of another material–wood or metal. Wood is preferable because it has better insulating qualities than metal.Vinyl frames are very durable, and low maintenance–they can resist colour fading, moisture, termites, corrosion and air pollutants. The material can be easily shaped into the required dimensions. Vinyl windows provide “good” insulating properties– even “excellent”, if the cavities in the sash and frame are insulated.

    Fibreglass frames are relatively new. They are light, durable and strong, even in narrow sizes, they have excellent insulating qualities, and they do not expand and contract with heat and cold as much as other frames. They are also more expensive than other types of windows.


    The glazing: (or glass) can be a solid sheet of glass, or several panes divided by a ’mullion”.A mullion is a secondary frame that holds the window-panes in the sash. Some glazings are made of tempered glass, to resist breakage, and some are made of laminated glass, which not only reduces breakage, but if the window does break, the glass shards will be too small to cause injury.

    Double-glazed windows have two layers of glass separated with a spacer. It is the minimum standard allowed by the National Building Code of Canada. Air trapped between the glass layers provides some insulating value.

    Triple-glazed windows have three layers of glass, or two layers with a low-emissivity (Low-E) film suspended between them. The additional layer and air space give triple glazing better insulation value than that provided by double glazing. It is a good choice where extremes in weather and temperature are the norm. Triple-glazed windows can help reduce sound transmission where outside noise is a problem, but because the sash is heavier it may be more difficult to operate than a double-glazed sash.

    Glazing Technology

    Low-emissivity (Low-E) consists of a thin layer of metal oxide applied to the exterior face of the interior glazing in a double-glazed window. This coating allows sunlight to pass through, but blocks heat from escaping. A double-glazed low-E window provides similar insulation value to that of a triple-glazed unit, but costs less and weighs less. Low-E glazing filters out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can fade furnishings; and can reduce condensation on the window by keeping the indoor surface of the glass and frame warmer.

    Inert gas fills are another innovation in window technology. Air is replaced with argon or krypton, between the panes of glass in a sealed unit. Inert gases have a higher insulating value than air because they are denser and have lower thermal conductivity, resulting in lower heat transmission between the panes of glass. Argon is the most commonly used gas due to its availability and low cost. Gas fills are a cost-effective upgrade over conventional air-filled glazings.

    It is possible to get different coloured glazings to reduce solar heating and provide glare control. This technique is normally only seen in commercial or multi-residential highrise buildings. Films can be purchased to reduce glare from the sun, although glare can also be reduced through plantings outdoors, window awnings or shutters. Tinted films should be applied by a qualified contractor, as the application process requires some skill and special tools.


    Windows come either fixed or operable (openable). Fixed windows do not open. Operable windows have a sash, which is a unit assembly of stiles and rails for holding the glass that moves when the window opens. They are available in a variety of sliding or hinged models. The sash can be made of wood, vinyl, metal or fiberglass and should make a tight seal with the frame when the window is closed. However, if the seal is too tight, the operable portion of the window may be difficult to operate.

    Hinged models:

    Hinged on one side and swings open like a door. This design provides the best seal and has the lowest air leakage for a window that opens.
    Hinged at the top and opens out from the bottom. With an effective seal, this design minimizes air infiltration.
    Hinged at the bottom and opens in or out from the top. An effective seal minimizes air infiltration.

    Sliding models:

    Horizontal slider
    Horizontal sliders: Consist of two sashes, one or both of which slide horizontally in the frame. They are the least energy-efficient of the window types listed here, and the most prone to air and water leaks.
    Single-hung windows: include one fixed sash (usually the top one) and one that moves up and down in the frame.

    Double-hung windows: include offset upper and lower sashes, which can both move up and down in the frame. Both the singleand double- hung windows are not as energy-efficient as awning or casement windows, but their appearance may be more appropriate to the style of the house, especially in the case of older homes.

    Tilt and turn
    Tilt-and-turn (also called dual-action) windows: Swing from the side or pivot from the middle. Others pivot from both the bottom (like a hopper) and the side (like a casement). This allows for cleaning the outside of the window from the inside of the house and can be a valuable feature if a window is in a location where it’s difficult to get at from the outside. Be sure to have an effective weather seal for this type of window.

    Spacer bars:

    These appear around the perimeter of the sealed glazing unit to provide uniform separation between the panes of glass in multiple-paned windows. Spacer bars are typically made of aluminum, but spacers made of less conductive materials are now available. A high-performance/warmedge spacer can increase the energy efficiency of a window, provided that the frame is made of insulating materials (warm-edge spacers are less effective on metal-framed windows).

    Spacers incorporate a dessicant that absorbs moisture from the trapped air in the space between the glass preventing fogging and condensation. Should your window fog, it means the seal is broken.


    This consists of the moldings that surround the window and cover the frame.


    The hardware used in an operating window may include hinges, latches, cranks or levers. For security, some windows may have locks. The crescent-shaped locks are standard on many single- and double-hung windows.


    Weatherstripping is a component of an operable window, and provides a seal between the window-frame and the operable sash. It is used to prevent air leakage, and the better the weatherstripping, the better the window performance. There are two categories of design:

    Wiper or Brush-type seals (sometimes called “mohair”) are more common in sliding windows, and wear out more quickly due to the type of window operation. They are also more likely to be used for exterior weather seals, and can tear easily if the window is opened when the seals are embedded in ice or frost.

    Compression seals (sometimes called “bulb”) are also more fragile in cold weather, and can crack if the seal wall is too thin or the window is operated during very cold weather.

    Weatherstripping is generally the most vulnerable component in an operable window, as it receives the most wear and tear. The seals should be checked annually for signs of wear or damage, and replaced as necessary.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help you with all of your window installation, window maintenance and window repair needs. Call us today at (215) 773-9181 for your FREE estimate!

  • What to Know About Window Security Film

    Not all window films do the same thing and not all films are effective for your windows' needs. The main reason for window security film, according to FacilitiesNet.com, is to prevent shards of glass from injuring people if a window breaks.

    Security film "encapsulates the glass" so that broken glass doesn't go flying into multiple directions in small pieces.

    Security film is also thicker than solar film, and, instead of being applied to just the visible portion of the window, like solar film, security film is installed into the window.

    Check out the different types of window security film installations here.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here for all of your window installation, window maintenance and window repair needs. Call us at (215) 773-9181 for a FREE estimate!

  • Window Construction Terms

    Do you feel like you're reading Latin when you are researching window construction and window repair?  Here are some basic terms and definitions courtesy of eHow.

    Rough Opening

    The term rough opening refers to the hole in the wall into which the window will be put. Rough openings are usually constructed to be 1 inch wider and 1 inch taller than the window itself. This allows a half-inch of play all around the window so that when the window is installed it can be made level and plum with shimming.


    A header is a strong piece of wood that is installed horizontally at the top of the rough opening. The purpose of a header is to carry the weight of the wall that is above the window and redirect it to the studs on each side of the window so that there is no downward pressure on the window itself.


    A stud is a vertical piece of wood or sometimes steel that is the main component of a framed wall. On each side of the window there will be a stud that extends from the top to the bottom of the wall, known as a king stud. There will also be a stud on each side that extends from the bottom of the header to the bottom of the wall, effectively supporting the header. These studs are known as jack studs or cripple studs.


    A shim is a small piece of tapered wood, usually cedar, that is wedged in between the rough opening and the window so that they hold the window in place. Leftover cedar shingles are often used for this purpose. Once the window has been positioned properly, the shims are cut off flush with the face of the wall and eventually covered over with interior and exterior window trim.


    A double hung window is a traditional type of window that is made of two sashes, each of which has a number of panes of glass held in it. The term sash refers to the part of the window that is pushed up or down to open or close the window. Common window sashes have two, four or six panes of glass in them. A double hung window with two sashes, each of which has six panes of glass in it, is referred to as a "six over six window."


    The window frame is the part of the window surrounding either the glass in a fixed window or the sash in an opening window. After the window is installed, the finish trim is attached to the window frame.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to assist with all of your window repair, window maintenance, window replacement and window inspection needs. Call today for a free estimate!

  • Helpful Video on Window Replacement

    This video by Danny Lipford of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford briefly discusses the importance of window replacement. Check it out here or click the image below.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is always there to answer your window replacement questions and concerns. Call us today  at 215-773-9180 for a FREE estimate!



  • Energy Efficient Windows

    Energy efficient windows have come a long way in helping home owners cut back on their electric bills. Today saving money with energy savings is easier than ever.

    When it is time to buy new windows one of the key things you want to think about is where you live. Do you live in a cooler climate where you want to cool out and heat in. Or do you live in a warmer climate where you want the heat out and cool in. Energy Star has a great map helping you figure out what climate zone you are in (See image below).

    Next you want to pick your window rating, U-Value is the measurement of how much heat escapes from your home. The lower the number the better is cooler climates. The other rating is the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), this measures how much solar radiation enters the home. Here the lower the number is best in warmer climates.

    With energy efficient windows you not only save money on electric bills but you can get tax benefit too. If your windows have a U-Value or SHGC rating of .30 or lower you are eligiable for a tax credit. So you are always saving money with energy efficiant windows.

    As always Exterior Specialties of PA is always here to help you with any questions, call us today for a free estimate.

  • Tips for Window Maintence

    Windows need regular maintenance because of the extreme temperatures and seasonal changes they face year-round.  Without regular maintenance, replacing your windows may come sooner and unmaintained windows can also take a toll on your heating and cooling bills.

    Therefore, the best way to get your windows to last is by maintaining them routinely. According to Facilitiesnet, your windows should be inspected yearly. All inspections should be done keeping your windows in mind because every window handles the elements differently.

    The interior surfaces of the window should be examined first for stains and rot, meaning water is leaking into the interior. Next check the fit of windows to see if any gaps have occurred between different components of the window, since these can change sizes when exposed to different elements. Also, open and close windows fully to see how easy they are to use. Difficulty opening a window could be a sign of warping. Examine caulking and seals between the windows and the finish on the windows as well. If you have wood windows, make sure to check for rot and decay.

    For more detailed information check out Facilitiesnet.

    At Exterior Specialties of PA, we are here to make your decisions easier. Our extensive knowledge and experience provides you with the comfort of knowing the job was done right. Call us today for a free estimate.





  • The Keys to Window Replacement

    The idea of window replacement is one that should be taken seriously when considered.  Facilitiesnet explains that the main reasons for this are because it would be a large investment and they also normally last a long time.  This means that you may be stuck with whatever window you choose, so it is key to make sure that you do it right the first time.  There are a number of mistakes that you need to avoid and we will go over a few of them to make window replacement easier for you.

    Many people make the mistake of only counting the first costs when looking at replacing their windows.  You should add up and consider all of the life-cycle costs to get a better idea of how much everything will cost.  By doing this, you will be able to determine if  it is a good decision to replace the windows, even if the first costs are higher than others.

    Another mistake that goes along with the one above is that many people fail to pay attention to maintenance.  These costs are essential to consider and will surprise you down the road if you forget to add them in when you replace your windows.  It is also important to think about security because windows are often important to the security of a building.  Make sure to choose windows, and the proper glazing materials, that will provide the best type of security for your building or home.

    These are only a few of the mistakes that can be made while deciding to replace your windows.  If you have any other questions, feel free to call us at Exterior Specialties of PA for a no obligation, free consultation.

  • Window Maintenance Tips

    One important area of home improvement is to keep up with regular window maintenance.  Windows are in need of regular maintenance because many different conditions effect them.  These can be weather conditions like wind and precipitation, or even just wear and tear over an extended period of time.

    The best way to keep this damage from happening is to have regular inspections.  This will allow you to stay ahead of any problems and maximize the life of your windows.  It is important to know and understand the type of windows that you have because certain problems apply to some windows more than others.

    Facilitiesnet reminds us that the first places to look are the interior surfaces around the windows.  Check for stains or any moisture that has developed and make sure to take note of anything that you find.  Next, you should examine the fit of all the windows because any small gap can increase air and water infiltration.  While doing this, you can open and close each window fully to see how well they operate and if there is a difference since the last inspection.

    The main idea is that window inspections and maintenance are both important and should be done regularly.  We know these tips will help you when you are faced with the daunting task of checking your windows.  As always, you can contact us at Exterior Specialties of PA and we will be more than happy to help with any questions.