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Choosing to replace your windows is an important first step towards improving your home. You’ll need to consider the type of window installation, the best type of Energy Star rating for your needs and of course which type of window material you’d like to use. All these decisions will come down to the goals for your home when replacing your windows. To make smart choices you’ll need to do your research first and understand the anatomy of windows and the elements of a window installation.

Let’s break it down and look at what each part of the window does so you have the knowledge you need to choose the right window for your home.

Window Frames

The window frame is one of the most important elements of a window, it’s like the window’s skeleton. Frames provides the structure for the rest of the window. If your current frame is still solid you may not have to replace it, however, if your current frame is starting to rot than you will definitely need to replace the window frame as well as the window itself.

Cladding is a protective covering placed over the frame of the window and comes in several different materials. It’s important to know about each type of cladding:

  • Fiberglass is a very low maintenance frame material that is cost effective and can be made to match your home’s architectural style.
  • Vinyl is one of the most energy efficient types of window frames because of its tight fit and ability to trap air. Vinyl also require less maintenance than wood since it is UV resistant and usually costs less than wood.
  • Aluminum is an effective material for your window frame because it is long lasting, durable, low maintenance and usually the least expensive material.

Instead of cladding you can also use wood for the covering around your window frame. Wood can’t be beat for its natural beauty. When the right wood is used you get a very solid frame full of details you can’t find in other materials. Wood does tend to be more expensive and requires regular maintenance since it’s vulnerable to sun, rain and rot.


The sash is the part of the window that moves. In some window models the sash tilts, allowing for easier cleaning.

Insulated Glass

This is also known as double glazing or in some cases, triple glazing. The space in between the glass panes is filled with either air or an insulating gas such as argon. Despite the name, Consumer Reports suggests that insulated glass isn’t the most cost effective way to insulate your windows. You’re better off making them airtight over paying extra for insulated glass.

Low-E Coating

Low-E coating stands for low emissivity glass and refers to the coating of the glass pane with a layer of material that minimizes the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light passing through the window. Glass by nature is not a very good insulator, manufacturers coat the glass with a Low-E coating to improve its ability to insulate.


Grilles are the decorative patterns placed on glass and they come in many different styles.

When considering purchasing new windows it’s important to understand the different parts of a window so that you can make an informed decision during your window installation. Contact the experts at Thermo Bilt to learn more about choosing the right windows for your home.


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