Frequently Asked Questions
What is a sash?
A window sash is the portion inside a single framing section, including those framing pieces and the glass attached to them. It is not the same as a full window frame, which is the frame around the entire window opening. For example, a double hung window has two sashes, but only one frame.
What is a double hung window?
Double hung windows are the most common type of window; they have two sashes, both of which move on tracks along the sides of the window frame. Double hung windows with divided light or simulated divided light are extremely popular. With Renewal by Andersen® double hung windows, you can tilt the sashes in to wash the outside of the glass easily. They also lock on the top edge of the lower sash.
What is a casement window?
Casement windows have a single sash and are opened using a crank on the interior. The crank controls how far the window rotates open on a side hinge. They are great for noise reduction.
What is a sliding or gliding window?
A gliding or sliding window consists of two sashes that move side to side on tracks along the bottom and top of the window frame. They are very easy to open and close and are extremely space-efficient.
What is a picture window?
A picture window is one large window that does not move. It often frames a particularly nice view (hence the name “picture” window). Many people like to put a casement or gliding window on either side of a picture window for a combination of the large view and the option of opening the window.
What is an awning window?
An awning window is similar to a casement window in that it swings open; instead of rotating to the side; however, an awning window opens up and out along a top hinge. Awning windows are noted for being very safe and easy to operate.
What is a bay window?
A bay window is a combination of windows: one large picture window sits in the middle while smaller windows flank either side at an angle. The side windows can be casements or double hung windows. This is a beautiful window that offers the possibility of a window seat.
What is a bow window?
A bow window is a combination of windows: four, five, or six identical windows that form a curve out from the wall. Each window is a casement or double hung window. This window, a majestic centerpiece, can accommodate a beautiful window seat.
What is the difference between a bay and a bow window?
Bay and bow windows are more alike than they are different, which is why they are so often listed together. Both are combination windows that extend out from their walls, both have the option of window seats, and both are beautiful additions to your home. The key difference is that a bay window consists of three windows: one picture window in the center and two casement or double hung windows on either side. A bow window consists of four, five, or six windows, all of which are casements or double hung windows. Instead of extending at sharp angles, a bow window is a gentle curve.
What do I do about my odd-sized window openings?
Normally if you have an odd-sized window opening, the company will tell you they can’t replace it, or they’ll try to do it even though their window doesn’t fit. You’ll be left with an ugly, sloppily installed window that is drafty—or a window that the installer shoved into the opening and won’t work right.
That’s because most windows come from a huge factory line. They’re one-size fits all. If they don’t fit the opening, they have to try to make them fit.
Renewal by Andersen® makes windows to custom fit your home. First they send a technician to accurately measure the window opening. The specifications the technician gathers are forwarded to Andersen, who crafts the window to perfectly fit your home. After it arrives and is installed it will look amazing, stay airtight and open and close smoothly.
Glass: Answers to glass and grille questions
What is the difference between divided light and plain old-fashioned light?
Divided light means your window has several smaller panes of glass that are separated by divisions in the window, as opposed to having one solid pane of glass. Today, divided light is simulated with grilles that snap in place on the inside of windows, with grilles placed in between the two pieces of glass in a double-paned window, or with both.
What is Visible Transmittance?
Visible Transmittance (VT) is a measurement of how much visible light (the spectrum of light we can see) comes through a piece of glass. VT is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. Obscure, privacy, and tinted glasses have lower VT than normal glass.
What is a fixed light window? What is a fixed or stationary panel?
Fixed light windows or fixed/stationary panels refer to a section of a window or patio door that does not move, open, or close. For example, picture windows are fixed light windows because they do not open or close. Patio doors and sliding windows often have fixed or stationary panels. These panels do not move. Instead, the other section of the window or door glides over the stationary panel. You can also use stationary or fixed panels alongside a regular patio door to create stunning glass walls.
What is obscure or privacy glass?
Obscure or privacy glass is any kind of glass designed to alter the view through it, whether it be for decoration, light reduction, or privacy. Renewal by Andersen® offers a wide range of privacy glass.
What is glazing?
Glazing refers to the panes of glass or plastic in a window, door, or skylight. A double glazed window for example, has two panes of glass. Double-glazed windows are often called double-paned windows.
What is Tempered Safety Glass and do I need it?
Tempered Safety Glass is a type of glass that has been repeatedly heated and cooled. This makes the glass much stronger than ordinary glass. Also, if Tempered Safety Glass is broken, it crystallizes into small, harmless shards that won’t cut or hurt curious little hands or pets.
You don’t need Tempered Safety Glass unless you’re dealing with an extremely large continuous glass surface such as a sliding door, in which case the stress of its own weight and the likelihood of something hitting it mean safety glass is a better option.
How does tinted glass work?
Tinted glass has been mixed with certain minerals to create a darker, less transparent material. Tinting always reduces both visual light and thermal radiation transmittance. Tinted glass combined with Low-E glass, such as in Renewal by Andersen® High-Performance, Low-E4 Sun Glass, provides amazing energy savings.
Window Problems: Fog, rot, drafts, and other window ailments
What’s the best solution to rotting wood in or around my windows?
Rotting wood is a frequent occurrence in wood windows. Even vinyl-clad wood windows often suffer from rot damage as water and moisture seeps in between the wood frame and outer vinyl layer.
However, just because this is a common problem with wood windows, don’t be fooled. Wood root is a serious issue that can lead to many more serious issues in your home. Not only does rot weaken the frame of your windows, it can also lead to mold growing in the frame and in the walls of your home, causing a serious health risk to you and your family.
Of course, once rot has set in, the absolute best thing you can do to protect your home and your family is to replace the windows. Wood rot cannot be gotten rid of. It’s a problem that will lower the value of your home, even if it’s only a small amount, because no matter what you do, the windows will eventually have to be replaced.
At Renewal by Andersen®, when we replace your old rotting windows with Andersen FIBREX™ windows, guaranteed never to rot, we will also repair any rot or mold damage in the surrounding wall areas that could be hazardous to your home. And, we’ll repair the damage at no extra charge to you. It’s just one of the ways that Renewal by Andersen® ensures you 100% guaranteed professional and quality installation.
What is Air Leakage?
Air leakage (or air infiltration) refers to the amount of air that leaks into or out of a building by means of cracks in the walls, windows and doors. It’s important to make certain that professional installers accurately measure and install your windows in order to minimize air leakage, which can cause drafts, over-heated homes or over-cooled homes, and higher energy bills.
Why does condensation collect on my windows?
First, know that condensation and fogged panes are two different things. Fogged panes happen when moisture gets in between the two panes of glass. If you can clean the moisture, it is condensation, not fog.
Condensation is not necessarily a window problem. It occurs any time warm, moist air comes into contact with a cooler surface. Condensation can cause paint to peel or flake, wood to rot, and mold to grow. Mold can be a serious hazard to health, especially for people with allergies.
On the outside of the window, condensation is just dew—just like the dew that gathers on grass. The window merely provides a place for dew to form. This is not a problem.
Condensation on the inside of a window is a sign that your house has excess humidity. Often this happens in homes during the winter, as the warm, moist inside air comes into contact with colder windows.
Excess humidity can come from a variety of sources, including cooking, humidifiers, and taking baths and showers. To reduce condensation, make sure your house is well ventilated, and avoid using a humidifier during the winter if you can. However, if you need a humidifier for health reasons, do not discontinue using it.
The only time condensation is indicative of a window problem is when you have metal windows, such as aluminum windows. The metal transfers cold into your house, and large amounts of condensation gather around the metal frame inside the window.
I have fog in my windows. How did it get there?
The fog that gets in windows is not what most people think it is; it’s not the actual water vapor that gets between glass panes in your window. Fogging is the solid residue, usually hard minerals, which the water vapor carries with it. When the sun evaporates the water, the minerals are left on your window.
Fogging happens when the seal between the two panes on a double-paned window fail. This can happen in a variety of ways.
One way is when the object that keeps the two panes apart, a spacer, comes loose. Spacers have traditionally been made of materials like aluminum or plastic, which tend to shift around, transfer too much heat into the home, warp, or in plastic’s case, and completely melt.
Another way is when the window expands and contracts too much under temperature changes. The window frame pulls away from the glass and the seal fails. This is especially a problem with vinyl windows.
Are fogged windows a problem?
Besides ruining the view of your window, fogged panes also signal that the insulation value of your window has been compromised. The effectiveness of double-paned windows comes from the pocket of air in between the two pieces of glass. Air or gasses like argon have a higher insulating value than glass alone. Heat cannot pass through it as easily.
However, once the seal is broken on a window, the argon or air inside escapes. The insulating value of your double-pane decreases, and your energy bills go up.
Also, if you have one window that is fogged, any other windows of the same brand or that were installed at the same time are at risk. Seal failure is a result of poor installation or design. If one window fogged up, the rest probably will too.
How can I get the fog out of my windows?
Unfortunately, the fog in your windows is there to stay. You can’t just take off one pane of glass and wipe it down.
However, beware. Some companies claim to be able to “vacuum” the fog out of your windows. They drill a hole in your window and suck the fog out.
Common sense says this will not work. For one thing, that “fog” is actually the mineral residue left behind when the water evaporates. There’s nothing to “suck” out. Even if the fog could be sucked out, it would do nothing to address the actual problem—which is that the seals on your double-paned windows have failed. Once those seals have failed, the fog is there to stay. Even if you managed to clean it out, the fog would come back because the seal has failed.
The only way to get rid of the fog for good is to get new windows.
How do I keep the windows from getting stuck or becoming hard to move?
The first and most important thing you can do to keep your windows opening and closing smoothly is to get FIBREX™ windows from Renewal by Andersen®. Wood, vinyl, and aluminum windows can become swollen or rusty, making them hard to open and close. FIBREX™ resists warping, swelling, rotting, and rusting.
Plus, with professional installation your windows will be square, level, and plumb. You can open and close your windows easily. Sloppy window installation leads to windows that are at an angle, so you have trouble operating them.
However, maintenance is required from time to time. Just like a car, the parts of your window need to be cleaned and lubricated occasionally. See our cleaning section to discover how to properly lubricate your windows.
What can I do about drafty windows?
Drafts come through your windows for a number of reasons. Your window might not have a tight seal, the glass might not be insulating well enough, or the sashes might not be shutting properly.
You can attempt to thwart drafty windows with a few measures:
Inspect the caulking on the outside of the window. If the caulking has thinned or cracked, air and moisture can get through your window into your house. Re-caulk your window if needed.
Check the lock on the window. A good lock pulls the two sashes tightly together, creating an airtight seal. If the lock is faulty or worn out, it may be leaving your windows open a tiny bit, letting in air. A new lock may help to keep drafts out.
- Curtains and blinds:
Keep your blinds and curtains closed, even in the winter. Especially keep them tight around the edges of your window. Contrary to popular belief, blinds and curtains do not keep heat or cold out. Once the air passes through the window, it’s in your house. However, this may keep drafts and heat from blowing directly into your house and on you, so you’ll be more comfortable. The temperature in your house will still be affected.
Any local hardware store should sell the materials you need to do this. Purchase a sheet of heat shrinking plastic. Cut it to the size of your windows. Use a roll of double-sided tape to stick the plastic to the windows. Now use a hair drier to heat the plastic, which will shrink, creating a tight seal on your window.
- Crooked frames:
Look at the bottom of your window where the sash meets the frame. Does the window close level with the frame? If not, then your house has probably settled. The window frame, too, has settled, and is no longer in alignment with the sash. The sash cannot close all the way, leaving a gap for air to seep in. There is no fix to this problem aside from replacing the window.
All of these ideas are, at best, temporary measures. If your window is drafty, it will become drafty again—costing you money and comfort. The best solution is to buy new, energy-efficient, professionally installed FIBREX™ windows from Renewal by Andersen®.
What is thermal expansion?
Thermal expansion is any change in the volume of a material when it is subjected to changing temperatures. Vinyl is extremely vulnerable to thermal expansion, while FIBREX™ and wood are not. Excessive thermal expansion can lead to warping or bowing of the window frame, resulting in drafty and fogged windows.
Window Materials: Info about window materials, advantages and drawbacks
What is FIBREX™?
FIBREX™ is a wood/vinyl composite material made exclusively by Andersen. Because it combines the strength and classic look of wood with the rot-resistant, maintenance-free qualities of vinyl, FIBREX™ offers the features and benefits of the two most popular types of window materials on the market. For more information about FIBREX™, click here.
What’s wrong with wood windows?
Wood is classic. It looks good. It’s strong. It’s a great insulator. However, wood rots. When water gets on wood, the growth of fungi begins. If you’ve seen a rotting log in the woods, you know what it looks like. Over time, the windows tend to become fogged and drafty, and sometimes they just fall apart. While wood windows usually come with a sealant or primer to protect the wood from rotting, this wears down over time. Wood windows require regular maintenance, and often it’s just an uphill battle against rot. Some exceptional wood windows are long lasting; however, these are usually very expensive—far more expensive than FIBREX™. And yet FIBREX™ has the look of wood and resists rot.
I had wood windows when I was growing up, and they lasted for decades. Why do you say wood rots?
Although some may believe that craftsmanship and product quality have fallen over the years, the reason why wood windows aren’t as good as they once were is simple: back then, wood windows were made from better trees. For decades in the 1900’s, most wood came from old-growth forests. These are some of the world’s oldest forests, containing some of the highest quality lumber. In terms of strength, rot-resistance, and insulation, this wood is superior—which is why those windows lasted longer than today’s wood windows. Sadly, most of these forests are now lost due to logging. The few old growth forests that remain are for the most part protected. Wood nowadays is harvested from trees planted 20-30 years ago. These trees haven’t had much time to grow, especially compared to old growth forests. The wood is usually poor when it comes to strength, rot-resistance, and insulation. However, FIBREX™ is made from recycled wood from Andersen®’s own plants. Andersen® makes FIBREX™ windows without cutting down any trees. And with its revolutionary mix of vinyl and wood, FIBREX™ performs as well as wood in every area, and surpasses it in many ways.
What about vinyl windows?
Vinyl windows are made of Polyvinylchloride, which is a plastic material used for window framing and 60% of the equation for FIBREX™. It is inexpensive and durable. However, by itself vinyl windows are subject to thermal expansion, deterioration from ultraviolet light exposure, warping, bowing, and discoloration. To counter this, many vinyl windows come reinforced with metal bars or extra vinyl. This adds some strength to the window; however, reinforced vinyl window frames are very bulky, taking up large amounts of glass and ruining your view. In FIBREX™, however, the vinyl PVC bonds to wood fibers. The wood gives the vinyl strength, keeping it from warping or peeling away. And the vinyl protects the wood from moisture and rotting. Plus, since FIBREX™ is so strong, you get narrow window frames, plenty of glass, and an amazing view.
What about aluminum windows?
Today, aluminum windows are mainly used in new construction to save money on building costs. Few window companies will sell you aluminum windows for one reason: while it may be strong, aluminum is terrible when it comes to energy-efficiency. Aluminum is an amazing conductor of heat—that’s the reason you use aluminum foil to cook. But you don’t want your windows to let in so much heat during summer and make your home colder in the winter. This can cause your energy bills to skyrocket and lower the comfort level of your entire house.