Frequently Asked Windows Question
Q: What are windows made of?
Q: What does "cladding" mean?
Q: How often should residential windows be
Q: What do U-values and R-values really
Q: What does Low E stand for?
Q: How do I know what type of glazing is
right for a window?
Q: How do I decide between single-, double-
or triple-glazed windows?
Q: Are different grille pattern options
available on or between the glass?
Q: What is the difference between Simulated
and True Divided Light?
Q: What are grilles?
Q: What other types of grilles are
available on windows?
Q: What is an impact resistant glass window?
Q: Who should have impact resistant glass
in their homes?
Q: What are windows
A: The easy answer is glass, plus a framework of wood, vinyl or
composite materials. However, the window industry has many options
available to suit any home and lifestyle. Window frames today are
offered in vinyl or vinyl-clad (for low maintenance), all wood,
aluminum-clad or composites. And there are many types of glazing
options available to make windows more energy efficient.
Q: What does "cladding"
A: Some windows are made of wood and then covered on the exterior
and/or interior with another layer, such as aluminum or vinyl. This
layer of extra covering (the cladding) gives added protection to the
window and strengthens its resistance to outside weather or heavy
Q: How often should
residential windows be replaced?
A: Homeowners with windows over 25 years old should consider
replacing them, both to gain the best energy efficiencies and to
protect the "envelope" of the house. A home is an ideal candidate
for a window replacement if its windows are sealed or painted shut,
experiences ice buildup or a frosty glaze during the winter, gets
fogged with condensation or has drafts that come through the
Q: What do U-values and
R-values really mean?
A: U-Values represent the amount of heat that escapes through a
wall, window, roof or other surface. The lower the U-Value, the more
energy efficient a material is. R-Values are the direct opposite.
These measure an object's resistance to heat flow. The higher a
material's R-Value, the lower its U-Value, and the less energy it
will lose. An R-Value depends on the number of layers of glass in a
window, what type of gas is between those layers, and whether one or
more of those layers of glazing have been treated with a Low E
Q: What does Low E
A: Low E is a non-visible, microscopic layer of silver coating
added to glass for greater energy efficiency and increased comfort.
Low E stands for "low emissivity", which is the action of reflecting
light passing through glass. By reflecting part of the light
spectrum (the part that transmits heat), we reduce a window's
U-Value and increase its R-Value.
Q: How do I know what
type of glazing is right for a window?
A: Different climates and styles of homes require different
glazing options to maximize their energy efficiency. Some glazing
options can also help reduce outdoor traffic noise from entering the
home. Options range from single glazed glass, as in historic homes
(minimal insulating value), up to R10, which features dual-sealed,
triple-insulated glass with two Low E surfaces and two krypton/argon
gas-filled insulated airspaces for maximum efficiency.
Q: How do I decide
between single-, double-, or triple-glazed windows?
A: Single-glazing is a single pane of glass and is best used in
garages and tool sheds?buildings that don't need to be extremely
energy efficient. Double-glazed windows have two panes of glass with
either air or a safe, colorless and odorless gas tightly sealed
between the panes. When its glass is treated with Low E coating, the
window can achieve a value of R5 at the center point of the glass.
The most energy efficient window is a triple-glazed window. Gases
are sealed between three panes of glass and Low E coatings are
applied on two of the panes. This can bring the energy efficiency up
to a value of R10 at the center point of the glass.
Q: Are different grille
pattern options available on or between the glass?
A: True divided light, simulated divided light, airspace grilles,
and perimeter grilles are available in a variety of styles and
patterns. Custom configurations are available, as well.
Q: What is the
difference between Simulated and True Divided Light?
A: True divided lights are individual panes of glass, held
together by muntin bars. These windows are similar to those found in
colonial times. While they look very much like the windows of
yesteryear, with today's technology, these windows are extremely
energy efficient and feature insulated glass or insulated Low E2
glazing. Simulated divided light windows use just one piece of
glass, but have grilles adhered to the interior and exterior of the
window in a variety of decorative options to give the window an
overall look of true divided light. Often available with
removable grilles, these windows are easy to clean.
Q: What are grilles?
A: Grilles are light or pane dividers that form a design
partition on a window or door in a decorative pattern.
Q: What types of
grilles are available on windows?
A: Airspace grilles are sealed in the airspace of insulating
glass in different designs. That makes the windows easy to clean,
because the grilles are sandwiched between the glass. Removable
perimeter grilles have easy snap-in designs and allow a homeowner to
change the look of their windows. Custom Grilles are also available
as removable perimeter grilles and can also be easily installed and
Q: What is an
impact-resistant glass window?
A: Impact-resistant glass has strong laminated glass interlayers.
When combined with an exceptionally strong window frame, this type
of window provides homeowners with greater security and protection
from storms, flying debris and even the occasional stray golf ball.
When struck by something hard and forceful, like a tree branch or
softball, the glass resists shattering. In the rare event that an
object impacts the glass, the pane may shatter, but it remains held
within the frame. This greatly reduces the risk of flying glass,
water or debris penetrating into the home.
Q: Who should have
impact-resistant glass in their homes?
A: Homeowners living in coastal areas prone to strong winds and
storms, or who live directly on a golf course or in an area where
vigorous sports activities take place, should consider
impact-resistant glass in their homes. Other homeowners might be
interested in the sound reduction and security benefits which
impact-resistant glass provides.