If you are planning to build a custom log home or timber frame home, selecting the right windows is a critical decision. Windows are one of the most important design elements of your home and should integrate with its overall look and feel. The selection of windows will have a major impact on the energy efficiency and performance of the home. And, windows make up a significant percentage of your home’s cost, and can vary greatly depending on quality and style.
There are a number of styles and types of windows. Here are a few terms that might help you when researching windows.
Awning windows feature one sash that is hinged at the top and swings outward. These windows are often placed above or below other windows and doors for additional ventilation. They open and close with the turn of one easy to reach handle which is located on the bottom of the window frame.
Double Hung windows have two operating sashes, one on the top that slides down and one at the bottom that slides up. These windows offer great ventilation. They also have an EZ Tilt option which allows both sashes to tilt in from the top for easy cleaning.
Casement windows feature one sash that is hinged on one side and swings outward. They open and close with the turn of one easy-to-reach handle which is located on the bottom of the window frame.
Single Hung windows have one operating sash on the bottom that moves up and down. The top sash does not operate.
Glide By/Slider windows have one operating sash which moves side to side. The second sash does not operate.
Fixed Glass units do not operate. These windows are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, including rectangles, radius, trapezoids, octagons, etc. Almost any shape you can imagine can be created. They can be used independently or alongside other products.
Glazing refers to the different glass options that have been designed for different environmental conditions and home designs. Depending on the architectural design and performance requirements, the glass may be clear, tinted, obscure, Low-E or a combination.
Wood Windows versus Vinyl Windows
Windows are constructed from either wood or man-made products including vinyl, fiberglass and PVC. Wood windows are generally higher quality and considered more desirable from a design and aesthetic perspective particularly when used in a log home or timber frame home.
Most all of the homes designed by Mountain Architects and built by PrecisionCraft Log Homes use wood windows. When windows are built with a wood exterior, the wood must be primed and painted or covered in cladding (see cladding below). On the interior, the wood can be stained or painted, depending on your preference. Wood windows are made from a variety of wood species and grades. We generally recommend clear select-pine, alder or vertical grain fir.
Aluminum Cladding refers to the covering on the exterior of a wood window unit. (Vinyl windows generally do not have cladding although some fiberglass and PVC may have cladding). The aluminum covers the entire exterior of the window, protecting the product from the outside elements and reducing the amount of maintenance required. The aluminum cladding is available in a wide variety of colors, including custom color matching, and does not need to be painted.
The aluminum used in cladding can be rolled or extruded aluminum. Extruded aluminum is heavier duty and generally performs better than rolled aluminum.
There are hundreds of window companies in the United States. It is important to select a company with a good reputation, high quality and competitively priced products along with a comprehensive warranty. Of course, the final decision is up to our customers but, Precision Craft has aligned itself with Windsor Windows for a variety of reasons. Windsor offers a very high quality and broad product selection at competitive prices. We particularly like their extruded aluminum cladding. Also, their warranty is complete and comprehensive and covers the frame, sash and glass over an extended period.
Before you select your windows, talk to a design professional. Consider the aesthetic appeal of the window design, the energy performance qualities, materials used in the construction of the window, maintenance properties and warranty offered by the company.