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Window Terminology

  • AAMA: The American Architectural Manufacturers Association. When a window passes the AAMA certification program, it means the window is likely to perform at a high level for a long time. An AAMA certification requires stringent performance tests conducted by an independent and accredited AAMA lab.

  • Argon Gas: Argon gas is clear, natural gas that is denser than the earth’s atmosphere. Therefore it acts as a better insulator than natural air and provides a better thermal efficiency.

  • Awning Window: Awning windows are hinged on the top and open outward from the bottom, allowing for ventilation and protection from the rain. Often placed higher on walls for privacy or in combination with large stationary windows for a better view.

  • Balance: A balance is a device in single- and double-hung windows that uses a spring mechanism to help you with the weight of the sash as you open and close your window. Balances sit inside the window frame so they are somewhat hidden.

  • Bay Window: A bay window is a three sectioned window that bows outward. The center window is a picture window and on either side of the picture window is another style of window. The side windows are usually the same type of window. Bay windows are usually canted (angled/oblique line or surface particularly which cuts off a corner) at most commonly 45 or 90 degrees.

  • Bow Window: Is a curved window that is designed to create space by projecting beyond the exterior wall of a building, and to provide a wider view of the garden or street outside and typically combine four or more windows, which join together to form an arch

  • Brickmold: A milled wood trim piece that covers the gap between the window frame and the exterior of the building. On traditional wood windows, the brick mold is nailed through to attach the window to the wall.

  • Cam Lock: A cam lock is the piece that pulls your window sash together to keep it locked and secure.

  • Cap Stock: Various materials used to coat wood, vinyl, metal, composite or other building materials. Provides a durable layer that protects against environmental exposure such as ultraviolet light.

  • Casement Windows: A casement window hinges at the side and opens outward to the left or right. They are also known as crank windows, since they are opened with a handle that cranks the supporting arm of the window outward.

  • Casing: Casing is a type of molding used as trim for the perimeter of windows and doors. Just as their names state, interior window casing is installed on the interior walls of a house to frame the window on the inside for aesthetic purposes, and exterior window casing is the trim or molding that frames the window on the exterior of the house.

  • Caulk: A material (usually a composition of vehicle and pigment) used for/sealing joints or junctures, where no elastomeric properties are required. (See.)

  • Caulking: (1) The physical process of sealing a joint or juncture; (2) Sealing and weather-tight the joints, seams, or voids between adjacent units by filling with sealant.

  • Cellulose Insulation: Fiber insulation, primarily made from recycles newsprints, used in enclosed existing walls, open new walls, and unfinished attic floors.

  • Chalking: The degradation or migration of an ingredient, in paints, coatings, or other.

  • Condensation: Water which collects as droplets on a cold surface when humid air is in contact with it. Often seen on the exterior of energy efficient windows and can occur near ceiling vents that flow into the attic. 

  • Condensation Factor: Condensation can occur with any line of vinyl replacement window. Many factors go into this. Let alone from the window being manufactured with items that may be a conductor, you also have to look at the internal makeup of your home, as well as the outside weather conditions, that may contribute to this as well. The AAMA has stated that a window must have a condensation rating factor of at least a 35 for a thermally improved replacement window. The way to understand and read this factor is the lower that the stated number is; the higher the chance is for condensation to occur.

  • Double Hung Window: Double-Hung windows have two operating sash that move up and down allowing for ventilation on the top, bottom or both.

  • Double Pane Glass: Double-pane means having two panes of glass, which typically contains an insulating gas between the panes.

  • Egress: A window opening providing a secondary means of escape or rescue in an emergency.

  • Factory Mulled: A process, performed at the manufacturing facility, that combines units to fill large fenestration openings. These combinations can be multi-wide, multi-high, or even both.

  • Fasteners: Any of a wide variety of mechanical securement devices and assemblies, nails, screws, cleats, clips, and bolts, which may be used to secure various types of a roof assembly.

  • Fixed Unit Window: A fixed window (often called a picture window) is a standard window that is non-operational. As such, these windows do not have a handle, hinges, or any operable hardware.

  • Flashing: Components used to weatherproof or seal the roof system edges at, penetrations, walls, expansion joints, valley, drains, and other places the roof covering is interrupted or terminated. For example, membrane base covers the edge of the field membrane, and cap flashings or counter flashings the upper edges of the base flashing.

  • Fusion Weld: A manufacturing process for fusing sash or frame components together. The lineal ends are thermally softened with a hot plate, then welded to form a structural bond.

  • Garden Window: A garden window or greenhouse window is a type of fenestration constructed as an exterior projection from a building, providing display space in the window. As the name suggests, small potted plants are often displayed in a garden window.

  • Glazing: Usually refers to the glass system used by a window, including the glass, glass coating, insulating spacer, and glass sealants

  • Glazing Beads: Glazing beads are wood or vinyl pieces around the perimeter of the glass that cover the space between the glass edge and sash/panel.

  • Glazing Gasket: Glazing gaskets provide sealing and insulation and can help hold window glass in place. They are made of rubber materials and installed along the edges of stationary windows

  • Grid: A grid is the framework of spaced bars that form a pattern in a window.

  • Hardware: Window hardware is all the devices, fittings, or assemblies that are used to operate a window. Window hardware may include catches, cords, fasteners, hinges, handles, locks, pivots, pulls, pulleys, and sash weights.

  • Hopper Window: A hopper window is a small window that opens downward and inward. It is commonly installed as a bathroom or basement window. The upward tilt of the window glass pane blocks open dirt and debris from getting into your home. It usually can be opened with a crank or hinge.

  • Infiltration: The term used to describe the tendency of a window to allow air or water to move into or out of the building through or around the product's weather stripping or joints.

  • Innergy Rigid Thermal Reinforcements: A high-performing, energy efficient alternative to aluminum inserts for the meeting rails. Made from advanced fiber-reinforced polyurethane that is custom designed for greater support and insulation.

  • Insulated Glass: Two or more pieces of glass with a space between them that are hermetically sealed to provide insulating characteristics.

  • Insulation: any of a variety of materials designed to reduce the flow of heat, either from or into a building.

  • Intercept Spacer: A unique, one-piece, tin-plated or stainless steel, U-channel design that creates an effective thermal barrier to help reduce conducted heat loss through the window.

  • Jamb: The main vertical parts forming the sides of a window frame.

  • Jamb Cover: Material used to trim off visible surfaces on windows and doors.

  • Jamb Extension: Wood or another material that adds width to the jamb so that the window fills the entire opening depth from the exterior to interior sheathings.

  • Jamb Liner: A jamb liner is a strip which goes on the sides of a window frame that provides a snug fit for the window sash.

  • Keeper: The hardware piece where the lock engages on the sash.

  • Krypton Gas: Odorless, colorless, non-toxic inert gases that can be used instead of air between panes of glass to increase insulation and energy efficiency. Argon is the cheaper, more readily available gas, but Krypton is a better insulator.

  • Laminated Glass:  A type of safety glass; two or more sheets of glass with an inner layer of plastic which holds the glass pieces if the glass is broken.

  • Low – E Coating: Low-E, which stands for low emissivity, is a thin transparent metallic coating, sometimes tinted, that reflects heat while allowing sunlight to pass through.

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS): A written description of the chemicals in a, and pertinent other data including such things as safe handling and procedures. In accordance with OSHA regulations, it is the manufacturer’s to produce an MSDS and the employer’s responsibility to communicate contents to employees.

  • Muntins: Muntins are the actual bars that create a grid pattern in windows. They are permanently stuck to the interior and exterior of the window.

  • Nail Fin: Nailing fins, sometimes called mounting flanges, are the thin strips installed on the exterior sides of a window. The purpose of nailing fins is to secure the window to the wall sheathing and hold it in place while the shims and screws are being installed.

  • Nailing: The application of nails

  • NFRC: National Fenestration Rating Council. An independent agency established in 1992 to test and rate window and door products.

  • Obscure Glass: One of several types of specialty glazings that are textured for privacy, light diffusion, or decoration (frosted, etched, etc.).

  • Parting Stop: A narrow strip that separates and secures two sash in the window frame.

  • Picture Window: See Fixed Unit.

  • PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride.

  • R-Value: The resistance to heat transfer of a material. Insulators have relatively high R.

  • Rail: A rail is the horizontal component that runs at the bottom of the lower sash and the top of the upper sash.

  • Rough Opening: The opening in a wall where a window or door will be installed.

  • Sash: A sash is the part of the window unit inside yet separate from the frame. It is the part of the window you open and shut or it can also remain stationary. On a typical single-hung window, the lower or bottom sash is the one that can be opened or shut while the upper sash on a single-hung window doesn’t move. On a double hung window, you can have two sashes that are functional. The sash consists of the stiles, rails, bars, and muntins.

  • Sash Lock: A sash lock is the locking device which interacts with the sash to keep the window from rattling. In a double-hung window, it fixes both sashes to a locked position.

  • Sash Reinforcement: A metal or fiberglass reinforcement located in the meeting rail of a double hung window. This allows reinforcement and strength due to the face that the clamping load of the window is placed right on that lock in a double hung and there is the possibility for distortion at the rail.

  • Shim: A thin slip of material for straightening jambs and leveling window and door frames. Shims are also used to adjust hardware positioning.

  • Sill Failure: Sill failure occurs when the insulator between the panes of glass has begun to escape. This can occur due to a stress fracture in the glass or when the spacer system fails. When this occurs the window will appear foggy between the panes of glass.

  • Single Pane Glass: One layer of glass.

  • Single Hung Window: A single hung window has a fixed top sash and an operable bottom sash that moves vertically.

  • Sliding Window: Often referred to as a slider or gliding windows, sliding windows have sashes that slide either left or right in a single frame. A two-lite sliding window has two independent sashes that slide horizontally. Both sides of the window can be opened at the same time, which allows for optimum ventilation throughout your home.

  • Solar Heat Gain (SHG): The portion of solar heat passing through a window. This occurs when the solar energy is conveyed directly and/or absorbed, and radiates as heat inside a home. What this means is that the lower the SHG, the less heat from the sun is passing through. The higher the SHG, the more heat from the sun is coming in. In northern climate areas the best window to have is one with a low U-Value and higher SHG to allow sunlight to help heat the home in the winter months.

  • Spacers / Spacer Systems: Spacers separate multiple panes of glass  in a window and maintain the space  between them.  Spacers and the sealants used to hold them in place are referred to as spacer systems,  and efficient ones help deliver the benefits consumers want. They seal the space between the glass panes to avoid fogging and prevent efficiency-boosting gases from leaking out. They expand and contract along with the rest of the window. In cold climates, spacer systems can reduce heat loss, condensation, and water damage

  • Stiles: While rails are the components that run horizontally at the top and bottom of a sash, stiles are the components that run vertically on the sides of a sash.

  • Storm Window: A seasonal second window installed on the outside or inside of a window to provide additional insulation or protection from bad weather and allow ventilation.

  • Super Spacer: A non-metal, pre-desiccated, structural foam spacer system which provides excellent perimeter insulation for sealed glazing units, whilst significantly simplifying insulating glass production.

  • Tempered Glass: Treated glass strengthened by reheating and then sudden cooling; up to 4 times stronger than regular glass.

  • Thermal Conductivity: Refers to a physical property that affects the extent to which heat or cold is transferred by a material.

  • Thermal Expansion: A term that describes the expansion a material exhibits when exposed to high temperature, or the shrinkage (contraction) that results when exposed to low temperatures.

  • Three Lite Slider: 3-Lite slider windows have three panels (or sashes) within one master frame.

  • Triple Pane Glass: Triple-pane means having two panes of glass, with two air spaces between.

  • U-Value: A measure of the heat transmission through a building part (such as a wall or window) or a given thickness of a material (such as insulation) with lower numbers indicating better insulating properties.

  • United Inch: Term used to describe a method of calculating the size of a window, by adding the height to the width and expressing the sum in inches.

  • Vinyl Clad Window: A window with exterior wood parts covered with extruded vinyl.

  • Warm Edge Spacer: A warm edge spacer is a type of spacer bar used in insulated glazing. It separates the panes of glass in double or triple glazing, or curtain walling and seals off the air cavity between each. Recent warm edge spacers are generally made from plastics, although stainless steel can meet the definition.

  • Weather Stripping: Weather stripping is a strip of resilient material designed to seal the sash and frame members in order to reduce air and water infiltration.

  • WDMA: Organization established by window and door manufacturers to create industry standards and advocate self-monitoring.

  • Weep Holes: Small openings whose purpose is to permit drainage of water that inside a building component (e.g., a brick wall, skylight frame, etc.).

  • Window Apron: An apron is decorative trim installed against the wall immediately beneath the stool of a window. It accentuates the look of the window inside the house; almost a like a piece of moulding.

  • Window Frame: The framework that surrounds and supports the entire window system – comprised of the head, jamb and sill. It is what makes up the perimeter of the window.

  • Window Pane: A window pane is the plate of glass that fills the sash. When you hear the terms single-pane, double-pane, triple-pane, or even quadruple-pane, it refers to how many plates of glass are built into the window for added insulation. You will also hear these terms interchanged with double-glazed, triple-glazed, or quadruple-glazed. Just know those terms mean the same thing.

  • Window Stool: The window stool is the part of the window commonly called the window sill. However, a stool and a sill are two different things. The sill of the window is the bottom horizontal portion of the window. The stool is the more visible piece of wood, metal or stone attached to the window sill that you might sit your plants on.

  • Window Wrap: See Cap Stock.

Entry Door Terminology

Frame Parts

  • Brick Molding / Trim / Architrave: A molding used on an exterior door, typically applied to pre-hung units, put on the outside of the frame as a stop, or to hide brick, siding, stucco or concrete.

  • Casing / Trim: Wood paneling or molding that surrounds the interior edge of a window or door frame. Used to cover the gap between the door frame and wall.

  • Door Stop:  Limits the door's opening swing. It is part of the frame and the door rests on it when closed.

  • Head Jamb: The top horizontal piece of the door frame.

  • Jamb: The surrounding wood frame to which a door is hinged to create a door unit. It also allows the door to be installed into a wall.

  • Mullion: Strips of material used to hide seams between glass panes, or between door frames, side-lites, and transoms.

  • Sill / Threshold: The bottom or piece of a door. Usually made from aluminum or wood. 

Door Parts

  • Astragal: A profile of material and weather-stripping that covers the seam between doors in a two-door system.

  • Bore Hole: A hole drilled through the door for the hardware.

  • Bottom Rail: The bottommost rail of the door.

  • Center Stile: A vertical element used within a door to provide support.

  • Core: The innermost layer or center section in component construction of the door.

  • Dentil Shelf: A shelf added onto the exterior of a door, typically below a quarter lite and part of the craftsman style of doors.

  • Door Shoe / Door Sweep: A form of weather-stripping attached to the bottom of a door that prevents infiltration beneath the door.

  • Frieze Rail / Intermediate Rail / Cross Rail: A horizontal rail located within a door below the top rail.

  • Hinge Stile: The vertical edge piece that sits opposite to the lock and the hinges are attached to.

  • Lock Rail / Middle Rail: The horizontal rail located within a door at the height of the lock.

  • Lock Stile: The vertical edge piece that sits opposite to the hinges and holds the lock.

  • Panel: The part of the door which is raised above or sunk below the level of the rest of the door to create depth.

  • Rail: The horizontal components of the door.

  • Stiles: The vertical pieces or edges of a door. These and rails form the frame of the door slab.

  • Sticking: The profile of the edge of the stile or rail that gives it definition and allows it to hold panels.

  • Top Rail: The topmost rail of the door. 

Hardware

  • Clavos: Decorative nails attached to a door that are meant to be seen.

  • Ball Bearing Hinge: A hinge type that has ball bearings between the hinge knuckles to reduce friction and increase longevity.

  • Cylindrical Lock: A lock type that utilizes only the bore hole to be installed.

  • Flush Bolt: A bolt used on a non-active door to keep it stationary. It is flush with the face or edge of the door when retracted.

  • Hinge: The joint mechanism that holds the door and allows it to swing freely. Generally, one hinge should be used for every 30” of door.

  • Knob Closure:  A type of door handle that includes a knob to twist to open the door.

  • Lever Handle: A type of door handle that includes a lever to push down upon to open the door.

  • Lockset / Hardware: All of the mechanisms that keep the door shut and secured.

  • Mortise Lock: A lock type that requires a pocket to be milled into the door for it to sit.

  • Multi-Point Locking System: A 3 or 5 point lock system controlled by levers in multiple places in the door panel and frame. Used for protection against high pressure winds caused by hurricanes and/or storms, as well as added security for the entryway.

  • Radius Hinge: A hinge type that has rounded corners and edges.

  • Sill Pan: A pan flashing that rests beneath the sill and is sealed or sloped to the exterior.

  • Strap Hinges: Long, horizontal metal pieces attached to doors, typically decorative to mimic holding the door.

  • Strike Plate: A metal plate attached to be flush with the door jamb that will receive the door bolt or the flush bolt, depending on location.

  • Square Hinge: A hinge type that has sharp corners and edges.

  • Thumb Latch: A type of door handle that includes a lever to be pressed by the thumb to open the door.

  • Weather Strip: A narrow strip that is flexible which surrounds the door to protect from moisture and air coming in when the door is closed.

 Door Types / Construction Types

  • Active Door: In a door-two system, the door that typically is operated.

  • Direct Set: A type of construction for sidelites or transoms that has the glass directly mounted into the frame.

  • Double Acting Door: Door which is hinged so that it can be opened both inward and outward.

  • Dutch Door: A door composed of two halves, cut horizontally, that allows separate operation.

  • Fiberglass Door: An alternative to wooden doors composed of a molded fiberglass skin filled with an insulating foam.

  • Flush Door:  A door that is designed to appear flat and does not contain any panels.

  • French Door: A door with glass panes throughout its length. A French door could be a pair or not.

  • Ledge Door / Batten Door: A door composed of, or appears to be composed of, only vertical boards fixed by horizontal / diagonal boards.

  • Panelled Door: A door composed of, or appears to be composed of, stiles, rails, and panels or lites.

  • Passive Door: In a door-two system, the door that typically stays closed.
    Steel Door: An alternative to wooden doors, composed of a molded steel filled with an insulating foam.

 General Door Terminology

  • Backset: The distance between the edge of the door to the center of the bore hole.

  • Came, Caming: Metal stripping which is soldered at the joints, used between cut-glass pieces to assemble the pieces into a decorative glass panel. Cames are mostly made of lead, zinc, copper, brass or brass-capped lead.

  • Distressing wood: A texturing technique which makes the wood look old or worn.

  • Door Lite(s) / Glazing: The glass panel(s), or glass window(s) that are mounted inside a door.

  • Door Slab: Only the door, no jamb, hinges, threshold, or door hardware.

  • Door Unit: A door with a jamb, hinges, and is bored for door hardware. Exterior door units also include casing, brick molding, astragal and weather strips and are pre-hung.

  • Mortise & Tenon Joinery: A method of locking or joining / bonding two pieces of wood together through holes (mortise) and extrusions (tenon).

  • Mull Post: The post between the door and sidelite which is created by the door frame.

  • Muntin / Uprite: A supporting vertical strip of wood or metal between panes of glass.

  • Ogee: A type of sticking that is characterized by decorative curves.

  • Operable Sidelite / Vented Sidelite: Sidelites that can be opened like a second door to allow airflow.

  • Pre – Hung: A full door unit with the door hinged, jamb, frame, sill and moulding.

  • Prefinished: Products that are stained and sealed at the factory or warehouse before distribution.

  • Primed: An undercoat that can be applied during the construction process that prepares the piece for painting.

  • Rabbet: A stepped recess cut into the edge of the jamb pieces that allow them to fit at a right angle.

  • Rough Opening: An opening in the wall made by standard framing materials, sized around a pre-hung unit. This is usually 2" taller and 2" wider than the door unit size.

  • Sash In Frame: A type of construction for sidelites or transoms that has the glass held in a designed frame within the piece.

  • Shaker / Square: A type of sticking that is characterized by a single right angle.

  • Shim: A thin strip of material, typically wood, wedged between the jamb and the rough opening to secure and align.

  • Sidelite: The side panels on either side of the door. Filled with glass or wood and usually appear in pairs, though can exist solo.

  • Tempered Glass / Safety Glass: Treated glass that will crumble instead of breaking into shards.

  • Transom: A mounted piece of glass or wood above the door unit. This is a decorative piece and sometimes comes with the door unit.

  • Transom Lite: The glass panel(s), or glass window(s) that are mounted inside a transom.

  • Trim: The covering over a door jamb that gives the finished look. This is usually a strip of wood.