This unit introduces the many kinds of windows used in residential construction and provides an overview of the important installation practices that apply to windows.
The use of the term window in this unit refers to the entire window assembly, including the glass, sash, and frame. Here, we will focus on pre-hung windows -- windows that are delivered complete with sash, frame, and hardware.
The basic part of a window assembly is the sash, which is the framework around the glass. The sections of the glass are called lights. A sash may contain several lights or just one light with a false muntin known as a grille.
The grill does not support the glass; it is simply installed on the face of the glass for decorative purposes. The sash fits into a window frame consisting of stiles and rails. The window frame consists of the head jamb, side jambs, and sill.
• Window sashes can be made from wood, metal, or vinyl.
• Steel windows are stronger than aluminum and wood, but are far more expensive.
• Wood windows which are prone to decay must be protected with wood preservatives and paint. Wood does not conduct heat so it is a better choice than aluminum.
• Metal window frames are generally filled with insulating material to make them more energy efficient. They are lighter and easier to handle and more durable than wooden windows. They are more common in commercial buildings than residential construction.
Types of Windows
There are several types of windows commonly used in residential construction. They are as follows:
• Fixed windows
• Single-and double -hung windows
• Casement windows
• Awning and hopper windows
• Jalousie windows
• Bay windows
• Horizontal sliding windows
• Skylights and roof windows
Types of Window Glass
Glass in a good conductor of heat. In any building, glass accounts for the majority of the heat loss in cold months and heat gain in warm months.
There are several kinds of sheet glass made for use in window glazing. Click on each type to know more:
Single-strength (SS) glass is about 1/32” thick. It is used only for small lights of glass.
Double-strength (DS) glass is about 1/8” thick. It can be used for larger lights.
Heavy-duty glass ranges in thickness from 5/16” to 7/8”.
Click on each button to know the basic procedure for installing a pre-hung window:
Make sure the window is shut before you start the installation. Also, ensure that the opening is plumb, level, and square, and is large enough to accommodate the window. Leave ¼” to ½" between the rough header and the window head jamb to account for settling.
Remove protection blocks and any horns (side jamb extensions) used to protect the window during shipping. If there are diagonal braces on the window, leave them in place temporarily.
Install the window in the opening. Make sure you have enough help to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the window.
If necessary, insert edges, wooden shingle tips, or shims under the window to raise it to the correct height. Temporarily nail one corner of the window through the flange or wooden frame.
Check the level of the sill. If it is not level, use shims to correct it. On windows with long sills, use shims at intermediate points to ensure that the sill is level, with no sag. As each side is leveled, secure it with a nail or screw as recommended by the manufacturer.
Plumb the side jambs using shims, but be sure not to shim too tight. When each jamb is plumb, secure that side.
Check to see that the unit is plumb, level, and square. Operate the sash to make sure it works smoothly. When it is satisfactory, finish securing the unit. If casing nails are used, use a nail set to drive the nail in order to avoid denting the frame. Check the manufacturer's instructions to see if there are restrictions on nailing into the header.
Pack insulation or expanding foam in the gaps between the trimmer studs and the jambs. Check the window manufacturer’s recommendations before using expanding foam.