With few exceptions, all windows are made of glass in frames or behind grills. They comprise about 70% of windows with the rest made of vinyl or PVX, wood, fiberglass, or aluminum frames, jamb and hardware accessories. Glass windows can be clear, frosted or stained, and used in various window types like fixed, casements, awning, sliders, bay, picture, French, jalousie, and single or dual hung sash windows, to mention the more common ones.
But there are different types of glass windows based on properties, mostly arising from the way glass is manufactured as well as recent NFRC window type labeling that classifies the properties of energy-saving and weather insulating glass:
- Float or regular glass
- Dual or triple glass pane with thermal transmittance or U-factor or using Argon or Krypton or both gasses in insulation glazing
- Glass with solar heat gain coefficient (SHGV)
- Glass with high thermal resistance to reduce
- Glass with visible transmittance (VT)
- Glass with anti-UV tinting
- Glass with Low emissivity (Lo-E)
- Reflective or metal one-way glass
- High impact resistant or toughened glass
The categories of glass properties are not necessarily exclusive and many modern glass windows enjoy a combination of these properties.
History of Glass Windows
The Mesopotamians can be credited to be the first peoples to manufacture glass as early as 3500 BC, but it was the Romans who were first to deploy glass windows in their homes in imperial Rome during the first century A.D. as proven by excavations. Alexandria also deployed glass windows circa 100 BC using cast glass with rather poor optical properties.
Glassmaking took off in the 13th century and was perfected by the Germans and the Venetians. European aristocrats used mullioned-style glass windows as well as stained glass windows for cathedrals and churches. Modern large glass windows or floor-to-ceiling types were introduced after the glass-making process was perfected to include resilient high-impact glass materials.
Benefits of Glass Windows
The obvious advantage of having glass panes in your windows is the clear view of the outdoors while allowing protection of your room from the elements as well as a modicum of security. Modern glass materials with thermal insulating properties benefit the homeowner with reduced cooling and heating costs. These are Energy Star or NFRC compliant glass windows that most window replacement suppliers carry.
Glass Window Buying Advice
Shopping for glass windows can be a breeze as these are the most common window material used in several types of windows. You can start narrowing your choice from among frosted, clear, and stained windows. If you decide to go for energy-efficient glass windows, there are several excellent brands with an established reputation you can check at the Better Business Bureau. Every state has one and you can make an online search for the specific window replacement provider in your area. Some of the noted brands include Andersen, American, and Gerkin Windows, to mention some.
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