French Windows

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French Window
Block Glass Windows
Other Names
French Replacement Windows
A pair of casement windows which open in the middle.

French windows are an elegant window alternative which include two casement windows that open either inward or outward, similar to the operation of French doors.


[edit] French Windows

French windows come as pairs of casement windows which open in the middle. They are placed in an exterior wall and are an appropriate replacement window option for both contemporary or traditional home designs. Both sides of a French window open fully, leaving a clear and unobstructed view.

[edit] Operation

The two sashes in a replacement French Window operate like that of a French Door. The Master sash can be opened and closed at will while the second sash, the Slave sash, has a floating mullion that opens when the Master sash is open. The French window has two bolts which lock the window in place.

Homeowners may choose inswing or outswing replacement French windows. Outswing French windows are popular in North America while European homes generally choose to install inswing French windows which are the traditional French window of Europe.

[edit] Reasons for an Outswing French Window

The decision about which direction the windows will swing is dependent upon other architectural elements of the interior and exterior of the house as well as on the windows' frames. In some cases, inswing windows may interfere with window treatments or interior trim. In addition, if the windows are placed above a sink, desk or other indoor unit, a window which swings in may disturb the day-to-day functioning of the room, necessitating an outswing replacement French window. Window manufacturers generally offer custom-made outswing French windows and there is a higher cost associated with custom-made inswing windows.

[edit] Reasons for an Inswing French Window

On the other hand, replacement outswing windows may not operate properly if the window opening is recessed or if the walls are deep. In some cases, an outswing French replacement window may interfere with a walkway or patio. Homeowners who plan to use screens for their replacement French windows may find that, for an inswing French window, placing the screen on the outside of the house detracts from the exterior appearance of the house.

[edit] Placement

French windows are an attractive window option for many areas of the house including attics, living rooms, dens, dining rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Homeowners can install a single replacement French window or design a room with a number of French windows in a row for a particularly wide opening. French windows also offer an attractive look when they flank a French door.

[edit] Benefits

Many homeowners choose to install replacement French windows in their home because French windows offer a stylish look to the house both inside and out. When open, the French windows draw the outdoors into the house and, when closed, they provide the homeowner with an expansive view of the surrounding area. French windows are available in a wide variety of framing materials and colors and are suitable to different types of home construction including wood-frame, brick and stone.

[edit] Sizes and Shapes

Replacement French windows are designed for large spaces. French windows can be long and wide, with the option to place two, three or four replacement French windows side-by-side for a particularly wide space. Replacement French windows can be full-length windows, from a foot or more off of the floor to a foot or more from the ceiling. Other French window options include windows that measure 24 inches and higher.

[edit] Considerations

Replacement French windows are a more pricey window option which cover a large surface area of a room so a homeowner will want to ensure that the French window offers the best value for the money. One of the most important ways that the homeowner can ensure that the replacement French window will serve the home in the most efficient manner possible is to carefully research different French window manufacturers to ensure that the final decision results in a cost-effective, energy-saving French window.

[edit] Framing Materials

The large width involved in a replacement French window necessitates a durable and weather-resistant window. Homeowners should research the options to make sure that the replacement French window is manufactured from a sturdy framing material. Framing materials for replacement French windows include aluminum, wood, vinyl and composite folding window frames. Each of these materials offers a different degree of resilience and insulation.

[edit] Energy-Efficient Window Framing Materials

Homeowners can guarantee that their money for a replacement French window will be spent wisely when they buy a window with a low U-Factor. The U-Factor is an industry standard which evaluates the window frame's thermal transmittance. A low U-Factor indicates a well-insulated window. Framing materials with low U-Factors include aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass and wood frames with aluminum cladding.

Good insulated replacement French windows are more costly, but the added expense of a properly insulated frame can be partially offset by government rebates and other programs which assist homeowners who are using energy-efficient materials for home renovations. In addition, the lower energy costs which result from energy efficient windows compensate for the additional costs of purchasing properly-insulated replacement French windows.

[edit] Wood

A wood-frame replacement French window can rot or warp if not painted annually. However French windows with aluminum cladding offer a weather-resistant, energy-efficient French window alternative. The aluminum cladding is specially treated to meet standards for good quality thermal insulation for all climates. Many of these windows are Energy Star windows, windows which meet the guidelines for energy efficiency as set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

[edit] Aluminum

Replacement French windows manufactured with a good grade of aluminum offer a variety of colors and a more economical French window. Aluminum conducts cold which, in cold climates, can result in a frame that produces moisture inside the house so homeowners who are interested in an aluminum window should make sure that the aluminum choice is an energy efficient grade of aluminum.

[edit] Vinyl

Vinyl replacement French windows are another economical window alternative. Homeowners with vinyl windows report that they find easy maintenance and a sturdy window. Vinyl window manufacturers have a number of energy efficient, weather-resistant French window options for replacement French windows.

[edit] Glazing Options

In addition to the framing materials, the glazing alternatives which are available for replacement French windows can make the difference between a well-insulated or a poorly-insulated window. Glazing alternatives are available for replacement French windows of any size.

[edit] Energy Efficient Glazing Choices

Quality glazing presents a low heat/cold transference, slowing the rate at which heat and cold passes through the window's glass. French windows with superior glazing allow a home to preserve a comfortable temperature while minimalizing energy costs. Homeowners have several glazing insulating options for replacement French windows.

[edit] Multi-Pane Glazing

Double and triple-pane glazing offer a way to minimize heat loss while maximizing solar gain. The substantial glass surface of a replacement French window makes multi-pane glazing a good energy-saving addition which can present a French replacement window that will serve well in all climates.

[edit] Insulating Gas

Some window manufacturers pump insulating gas, specifically argon or krypton gas, into the gaps between the panes of a multi-pane window. The panes are safely sealed into the window's sashes to prevent gas leakage. The gas further insulates a multi-pane window.

[edit] Low E Coating

A Low-E (low-emissivity) coating is an additional insulating element which, when added, makes replacement French windows an energy efficient window solution. The Low-E coating is a metallic-oxide coating which is coated on the window to further control the transfer of the sun's heat. The coating is invisible and reduces energy loss by 30% - 50%.

[edit] Accessories

The appearance of a replacement French window is enhanced by the hardware and accessories that accompany the window. Some of the accessories are standard with a replacement French window while others are optional.

[edit] Screens

Screens for French windows are placed on the inside of an outswing French window and on the outside of an inswing French window. Some homeowners choose the window's opening swing based on where the screen will look best. Screens are removeable, allowing for easy cleaning. Standard-size screens are available for standard-size French windows and the manufacturer will custom make screens for custom-size French replacement windows.

[edit] Hardware

French windows require a variety of additional hardware to operate the window including handles, cranks and locks. Many manufacturers include standard hard plastic hardware with each replacement French window. Homeowners can upgrade to brass, bronze or silver hardware which are available in different shades.

[edit] Grilles

Grilles are available for replacement French windows in different shades, patterns, sizes and styles. Window grilles for French windows include grids, rectangles, mixtures of shapes and other options. Grilles can be factory-installed between the panes of a multi-pane French window or ordered as clip-on accessories.

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