Sliding Windows: Function, Vertical Lines, and Flair

January 26, 2009

From drive-thru windows to sliding windows on trucks, this window style keeps turning up. Sliding windows can even be doors with only a slight change of hardware. When a complete opening isn't necessary or surrounding area limits inward and outward opening, sliding windows offer the most versatility. Rectangles that are wider than they are tall are quite a bit more common in home design than their more vertically oriented brothers. Take, for example, a window tucked in above a shower. You want light and you want airflow, though perhaps only enough to clear out the steam. A sliding window provides these and the opportunity to use the windowsill for various shower accouterments, without sacrificing an ounce of privacy.

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Unlike their vertically oriented cousins, single- and double-hung windows, sliding windows require no counterbalancing or locking to stay open, which minimizes bulky framing and allows them to fit in trickier spots. While larger sliding windows may use some counterweights to facilitate sliding their heavy panes, this hardware is more of a luxury than a necessity. The framing also has the stylish advantage of being vertically oriented, which gives your home a taller, stately look.

Another advantage comes when sliding windows are placed on either side of a larger, fixed window, like a picture window. The sliding sashes move inward, covering the area of the fixed window. This allows for more airflow--twice as much, actually--than if the picture window had single- or double-hung windows framing it. In this situation, sliding windows outclass casement windows. These windows cost about as much as typical single-hung windows, yet they look nicer and perform better as replacements.

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