Glossary

AAMA : American Architectural Manufacturers Association, a national trade association that established voluntary standards for the window, door and skylight industry.

Argon: An inert, nontoxic gas used in insulating glass units to reduce heat transfer.

Awning window: window with a sash swinging outward from bottom

Bait & Switch: Customers are "baited" by a companies' advertising a product or service at a very  low price; then they discover that the advertised product/service is either not available or does not include all "mandatory" products (i.e. a window company advertises that their windows are $185, however this is just to put the window in the opening; it does not include taking out the old window, trash removal, and trim - which is mandatory)

Balancer: mechanical device (normally spring loaded) used in single and double-hung windows as a means of counterbalancing the weight of the sash during opening and closing

Bay window: a combination of window units that projects to the exterior.  Usually features a large center unit with two flanking unites at 30 or 45 degree angles to the wall.

Bow window: a combination of window units that projects to the exterior.  Usually features four or more window units in a radial or bow formation.

Capping: see clad (cladding)

Casement window: window with a sash cranking outward, to the right or left.

Caulking: a compound for filling joints and sealing cracks to prevent leakage of water and air.

Clad (cladding): material placed on the exterior of wood frame and sash components to provide ease of maintenance.  Common cladding materials include vinyl and extruded or roll-formed aluminum.

ClearShield: a bonding agent which is a durable clear polymer that fills microscopic hills and valleys found in ordinary glass.  It sheds water, dirt and other contaminants rapidly and requires far less cleaning than normal windows.

Composite: a term used for window or door components that consist of two or more materials, such as glass fibers or wood and plastic.  The term also is used for windows and doors that combine two or more materials in the frame or sash construction, such as product with a wood interior and a vinyl or aluminum exterior.

Divided Lites:- see true divided lite

Dormer: an area that protrudes from the roof of a house, generally featuring one or more windows.

Double-hung Window: window featuring two separate operable sashes that move vertically (up and down) in the frame.

Double Pane Glass (double-glazing): Use of two panes of glass in a window to increase energy efficiency and provide other performance benefits.

Double Strength Glass: glass that is 1/8" thick (also 0.125 thickness)

Egress Window: window designed to be large enough for a firefighter to climb in or a person to climb out of, in an emergency.  U.S. building codes require each bedroom of a home to have an emergency exit window, with minimum sizes specified.

Energy Star: A program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that establishes minimum performance standards for windows to be recognized as energy efficient.  Four different sets of standards for U-Value and solar heat gain have been established for four different climate zones in the U.S.

Entrance Door: An entry door usually consists of one or two doors that swing in and out. An entry door generally refers to the front door of a home, but can include back and side doors. Entry doors can include combinations of clear and decorative glass. They can also include sitelites and transoms.

Extrusion:  the process in which a heated material is forced through a die, used to produce aluminum, vinyl (PVC) and other profiles or components used in the production of windows and doors.  Term also is used to refer to the profiles or lineals manufactured by this process and used to make window and door components.

Fenestration: originally an architectural term for the arrangement of windows, doors, and other glazed areas in a wall.  Has evolved to become a standard industry term for windows, doors, skylights, and other glazed building openings.  For the Latin word "fenestra" meaning window.

Fixed (as in fixed panel or fixed lite): non-operable and non-venting.

Flashing: a strip of material that diverts water away from a window, door or skylight.

French Door: A two panel glass door where both panels operate and swing either inward or outward.

Full Screen: A screen that covers the entire area of a window that has the possibility of opening

Fusion-weld: a term for a type of corner construction, used with vinyl and other types of windows and doors, in which a small amount of material on the ends of two pieces are melted or softened, then pushed together to form a single piece.  This is also referred to simply as a welded corner.

Garden Door: Similar in look to a French door but traditionally with a garden door only one side vents (opens).

Garden Window: Designed much like a bay or bow window, a garden also extends from the wall to the exterior of the home. It is built in a square or rectangular shape at right angles. The two side often have the option to open for added ventilation. Garden windows have a sloped venting top.

Glazing: glass (and other materials) in a window or door.  Also the act or process of fitting a unit with glass.

Grids or Grilles: a term referring to window pane dividers or muntins.  It may be a type of assembly fitted to the interior of the window or door unit that can be detached for cleaning.  Also can be fitted inside the sealed insulating glass unit, when it also is referred to as a grid.

Half Screen:  A screen that is only large enough to cover the opening of one sash on a double hung or single hung window. (Single hung windows only have this type of screen)

Head: main horizontal frame member at the top of a window or door.

Heat Transfer Coefficient: see U-Factor

Hopper: window with sash that swings inward from the top

Insulating Glass (IG): Two or more lites of glass with a hermetically sealed airspace between the lites.  The sealed space may contain air or be filled with an inert gas, such as argon.

Jamb: main vertical members forming the sides of a window or door frame.

Krypton: An inert, nontoxic gas used in insulating windows to reduce heat transfer, thicker than argon.

Lite: a piece of glass.  In windows and doors, refers to separately framed panes of glass (as well as designs simulating the look of separately framed pieces of glass).

Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Glass: a generic term for coated glass product that reflects heat; a common term used to refer to glass which has low emissivity due to a film or metallic coating on the glass or suspended between the two lites of glass to restrict the passage of radiant heat.

***NOTE: There are several different grades of Low-E.  The quality of the Low-E is based on the number of layers, the thickness of layers and the chemical composition of the coating.

Mullion: a component used to structurally join two window or door units.

Multipoint Lock: a locking system, operated with one handle, that secures a window or door at two or more locking points.

Muntin: The decorative bars used in a window to make the criss cross or diamond patterns in the glass. Also known as Grids or Grills. Internal Muntins go in between the two pieces of glass in an IG unit. Snap on, or add on grids, are applied to the outside of the glass.

Nailing Fin: Used to attach windows to a house in new construction applications.

NFRC: National Fenestration Rating Council.  A body that has established methods for rating and certifying the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights and other fenestration products.

Obscure Glass: Also known as frosted glass. A person cannot see through the glass, however, the glass allows light to pass through it. It is translucent but not transparent.

Oriel Window: A single hung or double hung window where the upper sash (or IG unit) is taller than the lower sash. Usually a 60/40 or one third two thirds ratio.

Palladian: a large, arch-top window.

Pane: a single piece of glass

Picture window: large, non-operating window.

PVC: Polyvinylchloride.  An extruded material used for window and door framing.

R-Value: See thermal resistance

Replacement window: a window that is installed into the existing box of previous window

Safety Glass: a strengthened or reinforced glass that is less subject to breakage or splintering and less likely to cause injury if broken.  Law requires glass in doors to be some type of safety glazing product, such as tempered.

Sash: The part of a window or patio door that moves up and down, left or right, or in and out. In some cases, such as a patio door or single hung window, one sash may be fixed (does not operate).

Shading Coefficient (SC): A measure of a window's ability to transmit solar heat, relative to 1/8 inch clear glass.  The lower the shading coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits, and the greater its shading ability. 

Shoe: This is the part that connects the balance to the sash through the use of the pivot bar. The shoe also allows the sash to lock in place when the sash is being tilted in for cleaning. It also allows the sash to be removed from the window when necessary.

Sidelites: Narrow fixed units mulled or joined to operating door units to give a more open appearance.

Sill: the main horizontal member forming the bottom of the frame of a window or door.

Simulated Divided Light (SDLs): A type of grille or grid design that creates the appearance of a number of smaller panes of glass separated by muntins, but actually uses larger lites of glass with the muntins placed between and/or on the surface of the glass layers.

Single-hung Window: A window resembling a double-hung, or vertically sliding window, with a fixed non-operating top sash.

Single Pane Glass (single glazing): use of single panes of glass in a window.  Not as energy-efficient as double glazing.

Single Strength Glass: glass that is 3/32" thick (also 0.09375 thickness)

Skylight: a window set in the plane of a roof or ceiling.

Slider Window: A window where the sashes move left and right.

Sliding Glass Door: a single unit made of glass and consisting of two panel sections, one being fixed and one being mobile to slide open on a track.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): A rating which is now generally replacing shading coefficient, measuring a window's ability to transmit solar heat.  It measures both the solar radiation which is directly transmitted, as well as the solar radiation absorbed by the glass and subsequently transmitted.  The lower a unit's solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits, and the greater its shading ability.  It is approximately equal to the shading coefficient divided by 1.15.  It is expressed as a number without units between 0 and 1.
For Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, the measurement indicates how well the window blocks heat coming from the sun.

Spacer: An object (usually aluminum or vinyl) placed between two or more pieces of glass which helps to maintain a uniform width between the glass, and prevent sealant distortion.

Stop: A piece of vinyl used to stop the travel of the sash at the top and bottom of the window.

Storm Door: An additional outer door  added for protection against inclement weather.

Storm Window: A window fixed outside a normal window for protection and insulation in bad weather or winter.

Tempered Glass: Glass heat-treated to withstand greater than normal forces on its surface.  When it breaks it shatters into small pieces to reduce hazard.

Thermal Conduction: see solar heat gain coefficient
Thermal Insulation: Thermal insulation is the method of preventing heat from escaping or entering a "container".  See thermal resistance; the R-Value will give you a good indication of its ability to insulate.
Thermal Mirror: A Vinyl-Lite exclusive glass with 11 optical tuned layers, providing optimal climate control and natural light.  These coatings consist of multiple layers of metals whose combined thickness is only 1/100th - the thickness of a human hair.
Thermal Resistance (R-Value): The resistance of conductive heat transfer in one hour through a one square foot area of a specific IG Unit, for each degree Fahrenheit temperature difference, between the indoor and outdoor air. (How well an item can insulate. The higher the number the better.)

Tilt Window: A single- or double-hung window whose operable sash can be tilted into a room to allow cleaning of the exterior surface from the inside of the house.

Transom: Window used over the top of a door or window, primarily for additional light and aesthetic value.

Triple Pane Glass (triple glazing): Use of three panes of glass or plastic with two airspaces between. Generally refers to a sealed insulating unit.

True Divided Light (TDLs): Traditional window construction incorporating smaller panes of glass actually separated by muntins, rather than simulating such an appearance with larger lites of glass and a grid/grille placed between or on top of, the glass layers.

UV (ultraviolet light): The invisible rays of the spectrum that are outside of the visible spectrum at its short-wavelength violet end. Ultraviolet rays are found in everyday sunlight and can cause fading of paint finishes, carpets and fabrics.

UV Reflection: The percentage of ultraviolet rays being blocked rather than being transmitted through the window’s glass unit. The higher the number, the lower the percentage of ultraviolet rays being transmitted through the window.

U-factor (heat transfer coefficient): Rate of heat flow-value through a building component,  from room air to outside air.  Also referred to as U-value.  The lower the U-factor, the better the insulating value.  U-factor, a rating more generally used in the window industry, is the reciprocal of R-value, a rating commonly used in the insulation industry. U-factor looks at the rate of heat transfer and shows how well the window is insulated with respect to heat.

UPVC: Unplasticized polyvinylchloride; a rigid, chemically resistant form of PVC used for piping, window frames, and other structures. More durable than PVC.

Venting Unit: A window or door unit that opens or operates.

Vinyl (PVC): Generic term for polyvinylchloride or PVC, an extruded  material used for window and door framing.

Warm-Edge: A type of insulating glass construction using an airspacer offering lower thermal conductance than traditional aluminum spacer.  Warm-edge IG units offer higher resistance to condensation and an improvement in window energy performance.

Weatherstrip: A material or device used to seal the openings, gaps, or cracks of venting window and door units to prevent water and air infiltration.

Window Frame: A supporting frame for the glass of a window.

Window Well: A well area dug outside of a below-grade (usually basement) window, that allow it to operate and can be used to escape in the event of a fire.

Wrapping: see clad (cladding)

Vinyl-Life has been the go-to source for replacement windows in northern Virginia for over 60 years. Our extensive experience designing, building, installing and servicing new windows, window replacement, doors, patio enclosures and siding sets us apart from the competition. Just ask for references from our satisfied customers all over northern Virginia!

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