History contains old adages that pay tribute to the humble window: ‘A window of opportunity’, ‘The eyes are the window to your soul’, ‘When one door closes, a window opens’, but to name a few. Aside from the poetic notion of gazing through a panel of glass, the window is one of the most critical staples in a home, which fulfils various functions.
A window isn’t merely an opening in the wall or roof of a building, fitted with glass, in a frame. A window admits light or air flow through it, and provides a space in the wall or roof, out of which people can see.
That said, knowing why windows are important is all good and well; understanding which window will serve your purposes best takes a little more consideration. Much like choosing an external door to your home, these entrant and exit points are a personal choice, and can either be an eyesore, or a welcome threshold that beckons you inside. All windows feature a glass insert encased in a frame - this is standard practice. However, windows are available in a number of different frames from which you can choose, to customize your home.
Natural wood window frames allow homes to retain up to 400 times more warmth than steel window frames and approximately 1,800 times the amount of heat preserved by its aluminium counterpart. Wood can provide warmth in the colder months, and keep your home cooler when it is warmer. This added advantage means you will save more money, on heating and cooling your home, throughout the year. This natural material also insulates your home against noise, as it creates a sound barrier from traffic and barking dogs that keep you from slumber.
Types of wooden windows
Telescoping windows are made up of multiple window panels, attached to each other by hinges that fit into tracks at the top and the bottom. The hinges allow the panes to either fold vertically or horizontally, or slide one over the other, while the track ensures the windows stay in place.
Tilt and turn windows:
Tilt and turn windows work much in the style of louvres where angled slats of glass arranged one below the other, are all rimmed within a steel frame attached to a lever. When the lever is manoeuvred up or down, or left or right, depending on the style chosen, the mechanism moves the opens and closes the slats either vertically to ‘close’ or tilts the panes midway to ‘open’.
Bay windows create a convex extension of a window, beyond the external wall of a room. Internally, the recess created by the bay window usually contains a nestled seat atop an alcove or cupboard, proving you with a little hideaway to enjoy a cup of java with a good book.
Picture windows are the most common of the window frames. It refers to the simplest of windows, placed on a wall, through which you are able to see the outside at eye level.
Double-hung sash windows are two window frames, within an outer window frame. Each inner window can operate independently from each other, allowing for either window to be opened at any width.
Bent windows are rounded window frames, which have had its glass curved and ‘bent’ to accommodate the rounded frame.
Arched windows, also referred to as ‘lancet windows’, are characterised by frames that are at standard 90 degree angles at the bottom, but are rounded into a semi-circular curve at the top.
Casement windows work much in the same way as a regular-styled door; the frame system features a handle that operates a hinge which opens the window pane left and closes it to the right.
Hopper windows refers to casement window frames where the hinge, situated at the bottom of the window, pivots the frame to open the window with an inward tilt.
Awning windows fall under the casement category, and work on the opposite side of the window, meaning that the hinge appears at the top, however, the window opens outwardly.
Skylights are windows that aren’t cut into walls, but into the ceiling of a room. Also known as ceiling lenses, skylights are typically built to allow natural light into ordinarily dark areas.
Pivot windows see the structure of the frame formed differently to conventional windows. Each pane is joined together either on the sides of the window or the top and the bottom. Wherever the join is placed becomes the point at which the window can be opened in a 360 degree rotation.
Gothic windows describes an elaborate feature of window design, such as intricate carving, branching, and, stonework, most often seen in antique, medieval, and West-German architecture. This type of pane usually sees multiple small panes of glass often welded together. This opulence is not confined merely to the shape of the window, but is enhanced with the addition of stained glass, mosaic, and other embellishments that create allure and add to the mysticism of the window pane.
Styles of wooden window frames
* Vertical, sliding sash window frames are light, are suspended from the centre of the frame, and should operate with ease. It is typically composed of three panes horizontally, and two panes placed vertically.
* The downside is that because of the window’s various components, it requires regular maintenance to ensure the window opens and closes with ease
* Side-opening casement frames are strong and durable, and are the type of frames that are most prevalent in homes these days
* Victorian-styled windows are made up of multiple window panes, and generally feature an aspect of decorative moulding on an arched window head. Victorian frames are considered ‘storm windows’, as they heavy set, creating a strong barrier against the elements, keeping the heat in, and the wind out.
* Edwardian windows were the original form of bay window design that display as sash windows, opening both vertically and double hung, and allow in masses of natural, filtered light.
* Gregorian window installations appear as either sash or casement windows, and feature hopper window openings.
* Regency-styled frames from the United Kingdom, are known as Federal style in the United States, and are most notable for its strength and durability, in displaying double-hung sash windows.
Reasons to choose wood
Wood possesses a certain class due to the fact that it is a bit more expensive and requires more care than any other frame. This maintenance, if well preserved by the owner of the home, gives off an air of quiet responsibility, and the cash flow to support the constant preservation of this natural material - both respectable roles to be seen in. Additionally, the choice of wood in the construction of a home has other more functional gains:
* 100% wood is safe for the family, eco-friendly to the environment, and provides natural heat insulation
* It is easily and readily available at home stores and builders supply stores. If stock is low or has run out, rest assured, more will be on its way
* Woodwork to install a wooden window is relatively easy when compared to effort requires in metalwork and the installation of aluminium windows
* If maintained regularly and correctly, wood stands the test of time
Reasons to not choose wood
The merits of wooden windows addressed, there are factors that may discourage you from the natural option:
* It is expensive to begin with
* The mentioned care of wood may prove too taxing on both your time and your pocket
* Once damaged, wood is difficult to repair, and may call for replacement of the entire window system
* Wood is susceptible to almost all the elements - snow and water (rain and the ocean) have the same negative effect of swelling wood; wood is flammable, no matter what treatment is applied to the pane and the sun’s harsh rays dry out the painted surface to the point that it will require renovation indefinitely; wind, if strong enough, can dislodge screws and nails embedded into the frame, and of all the frame materials, wood is notorious for creaking (in tandem with suspense building in horror and thriller flicks!)
Wooden window frame care
To preserve the integrity of wood, it is more about regular maintenance than back-breaking physical exertion.
Step One: Dust the entire window with a soft, dry, non-abrasive brush, cloth or sponge.
Step Two: Apply a recommended wood cleaner for that specific type of wood, by applying the stipulated amount to your cleaning cloth and wipe down the frame, paying special attention to the hard-to-reach corners.
Step Three: Invest in a glass-cleaning detergent to keep your windows sparkling.
Step Four: Ensure the frame and the glass are dry before you check for any damage to the wood.
Step Five: Look out for chipped paint or any corrosion due to wear-and-tear or damage that can be attributed to the weather.
There are a number of factors that can impair wooden window frames with distinctive aspects to each:
- Water penetration can be prevented by the use of wood oil, varnish or paint applied to the frame. In the case of water damage, dry out the wood, and slather on linseed oil, and after it has dried, begin the previous prevention process
- Rotting timber requires you, if possible, to remove the rotten wood, sand it down, then treat it with an epoxy.
- Window hardware comprises the glass itself which can be dusted with a soft cloth and cleaned with a squeegee.
- Sticking windows impair the functioning of the window’s hinges and latches. Here, regularly oil all moving parts to ensure the window opens and closes with ease.
- Sash windows rely on cords that can become dusty and dirty. Apply oil to the running wheels which the cord runs from. Vaseline is excellent when you don’t have household oil on hand.
- Insect problems come with the wooden territory; termites and borer beetles, and some species of ants fill their bellies with the wood from the windows, and this compromises the frame. Remove the affected wood, sand it down, and then treat it with an epoxy.
- Cracking in the finish of your wooden window frame means that you will need to fix the cracks with the use of epoxy, wood filler, wood shaving dust and possibly, cold glue. After the crack filler has dried, sand the area until smooth.
To make certain your window’s longevity, varnish or painted it when it shows the slightest signs of wear, and keep an eye out for any damage from water or insects. If you are faced with an window problem you cannot figure out, consider employing the expertise of a professional window installer.