A very important part of every house is the fenestration, which means the selection, size, and arrangement of the types of house windows. Windows do much for the exterior appearance of a house and can make a room livable or intolerable, depending on where they are placed and how they operate.
There are three general types of windows: those that slide up and down, those that slide sidewise, and those, called casements, that are hinged at the side and swing out or in.
The ancient and honorable double-hung windows that slide up and down have many things in their favor. They are weather tight, if properly installed, they operate easily, and they are not expensive. The ones that are fitted with weights and cords that run over ball-bearing pulleys are the most satisfactory.
So-called sash balances of various kinds are on the market, which seem to work rather well, especially when they are new; these work on the principle of winding and unwinding a spring. Be sure the windows are sufficiently counterbalanced in some way so that they operate freely and easily.
The types of house windows that slide horizontally are at the moment more in favor, perhaps because these new aluminum windows lend themselves particularly well to the modern house. If they move on nylon rollers they seem to be rather satisfactory; but they are not as windproof or dustproof as the double-hung wood windows.
The fact that the aluminum does not require painting partially offsets the slight additional cost. If you consider the repeated paintings that wood windows will require, the aluminum will be cheaper in the long run.
Many people feel that the metal windows go particularly well with modern type houses and fear that the wood looks out-of-date. This is largely a matter of opinion.
In a very cold country the wood is less liable to collect frost on the inside, as the metal is a very good conductor of heat, and will conduct heat rapidly to the outdoors on a cold night and may collect considerable frost on the inside from moisture condensed from the warmer air of the room,
Much depends on the taste of the home owner, either of these two types of house windows will last as long as other parts of the building. If you like one kind, use it. The size and placement of the windows is more important than the material of the frame.
Glass blocks can be used to let in light and for decorative purposes, but they do not help with the ventilation of a room, which must be provided in some way for every room.
If the bathroom window can be fitted with a piece of glass that is translucent, but has a surface texture that does not transmit an image, it will save a lot of curtaining, which is often in the way in a bathroom. This glass is known as rolled glass, hammered glass, or obscure glass, and is not too expensive in the simpler patterns.
Windows that swing in or out have a few advantages, but they tend to be in the way. Those that swing out are easier to make weatherproof, and are usually less in the way than those that swing in. When you hinge a window at the side or at the top and can open it wide, you getthe full size of the opening for fresh air, but when you open a sliding window you get only half the opening for air circulation.
If a window is mostly for ventilation, then the casement (hinged) type will be more effective. But casement windows are not noted for their tight fit and ability to exclude dust, water, or cold. Although weather stripping often is helpful in making them tighter, it can also make them more difficult to operate.
Well-chosen types of house windows will greatly enhance the beauty of your home.
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