If you’re in the market for new windows, one of the many things you’ll have to decide on is the window’s configuration – in simple terms, how, or if, it opens and closes. As with most things in building there’s no one “right” choice, and each has certain advantages and disadvantages.
Sliding windows are typically the most economical configuration. They have a handle and lock in the center or along one edge, along with a secondary security ventilation lock that allows you to open the window about 2 inches and then lock it in that position.
Sliding windows are designated by which side opens, as viewed from the outside. “X” is used to designate the sliding portion of the window, and “O” for the fixed portion. Therefore an “X-O” window – the most common – will have the left side operable and the right side fixed from seen from outside. A large window with a fixed center pane and two side sliders would be an “X-O-X.”
Double-Hung and Single-Hung: Double-hung windows open vertically, and both panes are operable – the lower pane moves up and to the inside of the upper pane, and the upper pane moves down and to the outside of the lower one. Double hung windows offer more ventilation options in that you can let air in from the top or the bottom of the window, and are also one of the more traditional styles of window. Single-hung windows, which duplicate the look of the double-hung at a lower cost, have an operable bottom pane that moves up and to the inside of the fixed upper pane. Both styles have a center handle and lock, and some also have a security ventilation lock.
All of these window configurations are available in wood, vinyl, and aluminum frame materials, and in a very wide variety of standard sizes for new construction or custom sizes for use in retrofit situations. The fixed windows can also be ordered in round, half-round, triangular, and many other shapes, and can be paired with operable configurations to give you virtually unlimited design possibilities.
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