Most homeowners spend little time thinking about windowpanes. Simply put, a windowpane is the piece of glass inserted into a window frame. While often taken for granted, windowpanes do serve important functions. They provide architectural interest, improved air circulation, protection from the elements and views to the outside. Those faced with window repairs or considering a replacement window purchase should familiarize themselves with the different types of windowpanes.
For years, single-pane windows were the only option for homeowners. Unfortunately, they may be hard to find these days because of stricter energy standards for windows. However, many older homes still have inexpensive single-pane windows. Single-pane windows may be sufficient for homes in moderate climates, but lack of insulation makes them a poor choice in regions with temperature extremes. They do make sense for structures such as garages, tool sheds and storage buildings. Choose from single hung, fixed-glass and casement styles when shopping for single-pane windows.
Double-pane windows have become the norm in the home building industry, overtaking their single-pane counterparts. Double-pane windows, also called dual-pane, feature two windowpanes sealed together in a frame. The tightly sealed construction forms a void between the panes, providing superior weather and noise insulation. According to the Weather Master website, double-pane windows were introduced by the Libbey-Owens-Ford Company in 1935, under the trademarked Thermopane name. Modern double-pane technology offers attractive benefits to homeowners, such as providing energy savings and increasing a home’s resale value.
Anyone familiar with historic homes will instantly recognize a divided windowpane. Authentic divided lights consist of separate glass panes secured inside a frame with wood muntins, resulting in a windowpane grid. Divided windowpanes, used to coordinate with a home’s original architecture, help maintain a period look. Homeowners seriously interested in preservation can purchase custom, divided-pane replicas at great expense. However, many gravitate toward more budget-friendly options. Window manufacturers offer double-pane windows that feature snap-in grilles, permanent grilles or grilles sandwiched between the two panes of glass. All three mimic the look of true divided-light windowpanes.
Energy efficient windowpanes go a step further than standard double-pane windows. The small space between the two windowpanes contains a fill of argon or krypton gas to enhance energy efficiency, noise reduction and insulating properties. The addition of low-E coating reduces heat transfer and further improves thermal insulation.
Protective windowpanes provide safeguards against injury and outside threats. Tempered glass panes protect occupants from broken glass. Also known as safety glass, tempered windowpanes shatter into small rounded pieces instead of dangerous jagged sections when broken. Impact resistant windows prevent storm damage common from hurricane-force winds. Reinforced laminate and glass layers improve the structural stability of the house and protect the interior from storm damage.
- Door and Window: Single-Pane Windows
- Door and Window: Top Single-Pane Window Styles
- Weather Master: Glass
- Northwest Home Improvement Company: The Benefit of Dual-Pane Windows
- Service Magic: Pros, Cons, and Costs Double-Paned Windows
- “Old House Journal”; The Window Decision; Wendy L. Phipps; Nov.-Dec. 1999
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images