Vinyl Replacement Window Glossary

Argon –
This is a gas that is forced into the space between the two panes in a double paned window. Its purpose is to increase the energy efficiency of the window. Argon decreases the amount of convection between the panes of glass, which is beneficial in regulating home temperature, most especially in climates where temperatures reach extreme heat / cold. Read more on Argon from our Discussion Board.

Balance System –
This is the mechanism in a single or double pane window that provides force to the bottom half of the window so it can be opened and closed easily. Older windows were constructed with a weight on a line hidden in the cavity of the adjacent wall. Modern window systems use constant force spiral springs or very small block and tackle arrangements.

Box Stores –
This is the term used to describe large home improvement material vendors, such as Lowes, Home Depot and to some extent Sears. More on Box Stores.

Brand –
Often a window sold under a brand, i.e. “Acme Window”, can be manufactured by a totally different company, or companies. More on Window Brands.

Capping –
The process of finishing off the exterior portion of the newly installed window by applying aluminum or vinyl sheeting cut and formed to fit over the exterior trim. It is intended to improve the window’s appearance but to also provide a weather-proof seal. Read more on Capping.

Condensation –
This is the formation of moisture and in cold climates includes frost on the inside of a window. Learn more about Condensation.

Contract –
This is the agreement a homeowner will make with the company installing new windows. It will define exactly what the company will do, price, service, and warranty. Read more on Contracts.

Contractor License –
For any type of home improvement work, the company conducting the project will need to have this form of license. The specific type varies from state to state. It is always a good idea to ask for a copy of this license. Read more on Contractor Licenses.

The ENERGY STAR Windows Program helps consumers and businesses find energy efficient products, including replacement windows.

Fibrex –
A material made of copolymers (epoxy) and wood by-products. It is manufactured by Andersen and sold through Renewal by Andersen.

Foam Filled Frame –
This involves filling the cavity in the frame of a vinyl replacement window with insulating foam. There continues to be some debate on the impact on energy efficiency with this method as well as the rigidity this may cause to a window frame. Click here to read more on Foam Filled Frames.

Glazing –
The glass portion of a window or door. Common types of glazing used in building applications include clear and tinted float glass, tempered glass, laminated glass, and a variety of coated glasses. “Glazing” also refers to the actual process of installing the glass in a sash, frame or door panel.

Heat Gain –
The amount of heat gained from both direct sunlight and absorbed heat. On many windows there is an effort to reduce heat gain, particularly from sun light. Read more on the properties of Solar Heat Gain

Heat Lamp –
This is a device a salesperson will use to demonstrate the ability of a window to stop heat transfer. A thermometer will be placed on one side of the window, and then the heat lamp will be applied to the other. Read more on Heat Lamps.

Heat Mirror –
It is a coated film suspended between the two panes of glass in an insulated unit. It is not the same as low-emissivity coating widely used in the industry today. Read more on Heat Mirror.

Installation –
The process of removing old windows and fitting new ones. See more on Window Installation.

Insulation –
When old windows are removed and new ones are installed, generally there will be areas that will have cavities that will need to be insulated. This is especially true if the windows were especially outdated.

Krypton –
Is a gas that is forced in between the panes in a double paned window. It is an alternative to Argon, but is a bit more expensive. Click here to read more on Krypton.

Low E –
This designates low emissivity glass which means the pane of glass has had a film applied that will block long wave infra red energy, but allow short wave to enter. Here’s more on Low E.

R Value –
This measures a material’s resistance to the ability of heat to flow through it. A higher number here is preferred. See more on R Value.

Spacer –
This is a very important part of a double or triple pane window. It is the material that separates but also binds together the panes of glass. More on Spacers.

Spiral Balance –
Construction inside a window that helps the top half of a double hung window stay up, and make it easier to open and close. A spiral balance uses a metal rod that that has spiral grooves in it that works against a gear on the sash; sort of like a bolt and not. Read more on Spiral Balance.

Triple Pane –
This is a window that is constructed with three panes of glass. Old windows have a single pane, more modern windows have two panes and now you can have a window with three panes of glass improving energy efficiency. Click here read more on Triple Pane Windows.

U Rating –
Is the measure of how much energy a material conducts. The lower the U-Value, the greater the insulating effect. Read more on U Rating.

Wrapping –
This is the process of blending the new window into the exterior wall of the home. It involves roll form aluminum stock and bending it to form of the window. More on Wrapping here.