Anatomy of a Window: Clearly Seeing the Key Parts of a Window

Windows are critical components to any structure. And the anatomy of a window can vary based on the type and age of the unit. Regardless, it's important to have a clear picture of the anatomy of a window by understanding the key parts. At Frank Lowe, we have created a quick, easy-to-read guide to the anatomy of a window, highlighting the key parts of a window. Continue reading to learn more. 

What Are the Basic Parts of a Window?

Although windows can appear to be very complicated and complex, every window is made up of a few key parts at its very core. To understand the anatomy of the window, let's look at the most basic parts in terms of design and construction.

  • The window frame is key to providing support and structure for the entire window. The frame works to hold other pieces in place. All frames will be made up of a jamb, head, and sill.
  • The head is the horizontal component of the window frame situated at the top of the window.
  • On single and double hung windows, sashes are designed to slide down and up to close and open the window.
  • The sill is the horizontal surface or structure located at the bottom of the window. Also called a stool, sills protrude outward similar to a shelf on the bottom of a window. Sills work to structurally hold the window in place and support it. At the same time, the exterior of the window sill offers a solution for directing water away from the window opening.
  • The window sash is the key component that ensures the glass pane is securely held in place.
  • On casement windows, the sash is designed to swing open.
  • The jambs are the vertical parts of the window frame. These exterior side pieces help form the window frame and run from the top of the window to the bottom.
  • The window pane is the glass of the window. Window panes connect to the sash; and in some windows, the panes can connect to muntins. In either case, window panes can be single, double, or triple for extra efficiency.
  • The window sash is a component of the windows that moves and holds panes of glass together. The sash fits inside of the window frame that is attached to the house. Sashes can vary based on the type of window. For example, double hung windows will have a lower and upper sash that moves down and up. On the other hand, a slider window has only one sash that glides from right to left and vice versa.
  • Muntins are the grids of the window. Muntins can be functional and help hold the glass in place, dividing the pane into sections. Or muntins can be purely decorative and simply snap into place over the pane.

A Deeper Look at the Anatomy of a Window

In addition to the components mentioned above, windows can include a number of other parts. Some of the most common terms you may hear and parts of a window are:

  • Stiles are the major vertical supports of the frame of the window sash. Stiles are positioned on the sides of the window. 
  • Glazing compound is a putty that helps keep the panes in place. Glazing is a term used to refer to the glass in the window frame. As we previously mentioned, glazing or panes can be double, single, or triple thicknesses with spaces of air in between.
  • Apron refers to the horizontal board situated underneath the stool or windowsill. Aprons are decorative elements or trim that gives a modern design and style.
  • Head casing and side casing explains the vertical and horizontal molding that surrounds the entire window. The head casing and side casing covers the space between the wall and the window. It can be installed on the exterior or interior of the home. In addition to function, casings offer a stylish finished appeal.
  • The latch is a locking device that also helps seal the window unit closed. The latch allows the weather stripping to efficiently keep cool air in during the summer and block out cold air in the winter.
  • Weather strip is a resilient piece of material designed to cover the joint between the window frame and sash to reduce leakage of air while preventing water from entering the structure.
  • The operator is a part of awning windows and casement windows that allows the user to close and open the unit.
  • The balance is a mechanical device utilized in double hung and single hung windows. Normally spring loaded, the balance works to counterbalance the weight of the sash during closing and opening.
  • Extension arm or scissor arm is attached to the window unit at the stiles or at the rails. This part of the window can be contracted or extended by cranking the operator handle to close and open the window.
  • Weep holes are small individual openings in the window designed to allow condensation or water to safely escape.
  • Spacers are located at the bottom and top of the window frame. They work to hold at least two or more panes of glass to assist with insulation.

Contact Frank Lowe for Premium Fenestration Components & Products

For more than 65 years, Frank Lowe has been a leader in the fenestration and glass & glazing industry. We are a customer-focused and flexible custom manufacturer who offers decades of experience as well as key components and solutions for outdoor and indoor windows, doors, skylights, and virtually any other opening designed to emit light or provide passage from one space to another. We pride ourselves in being the premier one-stop-shop for custom fenestration components and fenestration products. 

Contact Frank Lowe for your custom fenestration needs.

About the Author Randy Cohen

Since 2002, Randy Cohen has served as the Senior Vice President of Frank Lowe — leading Sales and Marketing as well as a variety of Administrative operations. Randy has 25 years of experience with a background in sales & marketing, production and business management, serving both government agencies and private industry. He holds a B.A from Syracuse University and a Masters and Professional Diploma from Fordham University. Randy uses his unique set of experiences to help businesses and entities across all sectors explore, pursue, and create better solutions.

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