Window Basics – Part 3 (By Chad Vankoughnett)

How To Measure Your Windows For Replacement

When replacing your windows, it is very important to get accurate measurements of the opening so that the new windows will fit in the existing hole (unless you are wanting to do a considerable amount of renovation work to make the hole bigger). Windows are a large investment, and are usually made to order, so if you aren’t confident that you can get the measurements accurately, it is far better to have a professional measure your opening.

Let’s assume you are confident that you can get the job done right. There are several ways to measure windows – from the inside, the outside, the rough opening, etc. We are going to assume that you are replacing windows that already exist in the home. In that case, we will give you two options for measurements. The first is from the inside, the second from the outside. Ideally, we would like to receive both measurements unless we will be doing the installation.

When measuring from the inside, use a tape measure to determine the width of the window from the INSIDE of the window sill. Measure the opening at the top, the middle, and the bottom, and write down the SMALLEST measurement you get. Remember, if your window is too large, it won’t fit in the opening. Do the same with the height, measuring the middle and along each side, and write down the smallest number.

When measuring from the outside, you will want to measure the dimensions from the OUTSIDE of the brick moulding. That is the trim that goes around the outside of the window. Again, measure in three places, and provide the smallest number. You will also need to provide us with the jamb width. Windows come standard at 4 ½” to 6 ½” depending the wall thickness. This is standard because the wall frame is usually built from either 2×4 or 2×6 lumber. Then add the drywall which is ½” and the sheathing on the exterior, which is also ½”. If you have an older home, or if you have done renovations on the wall, this number might be different. Simply measure the distance from the outside of the sheathing to the inside of the drywall in the window opening. This can be a bit tricky if the window is still in place, so don’t be afraid to call for help in determining this number.

That’s all there is to it. Take your time, measure everything a couple of times to be certain, and be as accurate as you can. As stated earlier, if you are uncertain at all about getting a correct measurement, please give us a call. We would be happy to have someone come to your home and do the measurements for you.

– Chad Vankoughnett

Window Basics – Part 2 (By Chad Vankoughnett)

What Does That Mean?

In this segment on windows, we would like to take some time to examine different configurations of windows and some terms for different parts of the window. Hopefully this will help you communicate your specific desires and needs with your window specialist.


Let’s start with the basic parts of the window. Every exterior window has some basic components in common. They are:

Interior Window

Frame – the structural component of the window, around which the window is built. This can be made of any of a number of materials, including wood, vinyl, PVC, or metal.

Pane – the glass portion of the window

Jam – the inside edge of the frame where it abuts the pane

Sill – the bottom jam of the window, on the outside of the installation

Stool – the bottom jam of the window, on the inside of the installation

Casing – the trim around the window on the inside of the installation

Nail Fin – this is a strip with pre-drilled nail holes attached to the outside of a window that sits under the Brick Mould, used to fasten the window to the wall in a way that won’t be visible on a finished installation

Brickmould – the trim around the window on the outside of the installation, often integrated into the construction of the window, but not always

In addition to these common components, windows can also have a wide variety of other features. Two of the more common terms used with windows are the Grille, which is the latticework in a window that creates several panes in one installation, and Lites, which is the word used to describe each pane of glass separated by a grille. Grilles can be structural, each holding a single pane of glass (as seen in many older window configurations), or ornamental, usually sandwiched between or fastened on top of full panes of glass to give the illusion of multiple panes. When a grille is present, each section of glass it delineates is referred to as a lite. It is common to discuss how many lites a window may contain, which really just refers to how many sections of glass you want a particular window to display.

Exterior Window


There are a number of different window configurations to consider when purchasing new windows for your home. What you choose will be determined by where on the house the window is located, the main purpose of the window, the need for ventilation, exterior factors like trees against the house, appearance, and of course, preference. In the diagram below there are several different configurations. These comprise the basic window configurations available from most manufacturers. Other configurations are possible, but are generally custom built for a particular application.

Window Types

Hopefully this will help you to be able to make an informed decision about your windows and to be able to carry on an educated conversation with your window specialist. In our next segment, we will discuss the importance of taking accurate measurements when determining the size of your windows, and give you the direction you need to take those measurements with confidence.

– Chad Vankoughnett

Window Basics – Part 1 (By Chad Vankoughnett)

It’s More Than Just Glass

New windows on an older home can be a great idea. Not only will they increase the value of the home, they provide better insulation, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and let’s face it…they look great. Replacing the windows on your home can be a big investment, not only in terms of money, but in time as well. With all the choices and styles out there, it can be pretty intimidating trying to select just the right windows for your home. I want to help make that easier for you. In this post, I want to help you understand the basic construction of residential windows. I won’t use a lot of technical jargon, but I will help define what some things mean and hopefully give you a small foundation as you begin researching this topic.
The first thing you need to know is that glass is a terrible insulator. Heat and cold move right through untreated glass, meaning that windows, especially in our climate, need to be designed and built specifically to counteract that problem. The insulation abilities of windows is measured with a different scale than the rest of your building envelope. Walls, floor, and roof insulation is measured as an R-value. You will commonly hear people talk about R-12 (the common insulation in a 2×4 wall), R-20, R-45, and the like. The more insulation, or rather, the more efficient insulation you have, the higher the R-value, and the easier it is to maintain a temperature inside the house. Windows are more commonly gauged by their U-factor. A U-factor of 0.30 is roughly equivalent to R-3.3, and is considered a pretty good insulation factor for double pane windows. The lower the U-factor, the better the insulating ability of the window, although unfortunately it also means a higher cost. A high efficiency triple pane window can reach a U-factor of 0.15, which equates roughly with an R-value of 6.7.

Windows are produced in single, double, triple, and even quadruple pane configurations. The configuration you choose for your home will depend on several factors, including cost, availability, cost, and probably cost. When we talk about multi-paned windows, we mean that there are that multiple sheets of glass separated by either a vacuum or a gas such as argon or krypton. In our area of the world, single pane windows are pretty rare (read “almost non-existent”) because of their very poor insulating ability, but double and triple pane windows are common. Double pane windows are usually filled with argon, an inert gas found in our atmosphere (you breath in about 2% argon all the time). Argon is much denser than air, and temperature has a hard time moving through this gas. Triple pane windows are almost exclusively filled with krypton, as it functions much better than argon in the smaller space between the glass panes. Krypton is around 3 times as dense as argon, making it even better at insulating your home. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to push for krypton filled double pane windows, though, as the cost savings for the extra insulation are more than offset by the extra cost for the gas.

Windows can also come with a special coating that reduces the heat transfer through the glass. This low-emissivity coating, commonly called Low-E, helps keep the heat out of your house in the summer, and the cold where it belongs in the winter. Low-E coatings are common, and a good investment in your windows, as it helps make your home much more comfortable in extreme temperatures, and reduces heating and cooling costs as well.

Windows are produced using several different materials for the frame, including wood, aluminum, vinyl, and PVC. These materials vary in cost and appearance, and there are some differences in the longevity and performance of various materials. Having said that, it really does come down to a matter of preference, as a well-constructed window will last a lifetime if properly cared for regardless of the materials used to build it. Talk to a professional about which windows will be right for your home.

In our next blog segment, we will take a look at common window configurations along with the various parts of a window, followed by a segment on taking proper measurements of your window in order to get an accurate quote. As always, if you have any questions or are interested in having a conversation about the windows in your home, be sure to call one of our window specialists here at J&H Builder’s Warehouse. Our expert advice, exceptional service, and professional installation team can make replacing your windows a breeze. One that you can see blowing through your yard, but never have to feel.

– Chad Vankoughnett