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.

Header

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.

Stud

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.

Shim

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.

Sash

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."

Frame

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.

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