Sliding windows, also called sliders, gliding windows and horizontal sliding windows, are characterized by two sashes with a vertical divider (as opposed to a horizontal divider like single hung and double hung windows). When open, one sash slides past the other, like a sliding glass patio door.
Sliding windows offer the most glass area of any operable window and are available in various configurations including two sashes of equal sizes or two sliders on the sides of a picture window. Typical sliding windows with two sashes are available with either one sliding sash or two sliding sashes. Sliding windows are one of the most popular choice for replacement windows. Another advantage of sliding windows is that is very easy to replace a broken sash or pane of glass.
Many sliding windows allow you to easily swing the window inward for cleaning. Which both sashes swung inward the entire window opening is open offering maximum ventilation usually found only in casement windows. Not all sliding windows have this capability so if this is something you are interested in verify the window you are interested has this functionality.
Sliding windows generally have minimal hardware which is often somewhat concealed giving sliding widows a very streamlined look. With their clean lines and minimal hardware, sliding windows are perfect for contemporary architecture. Sliding windows are also available with different grille configurations to fit just about any architectural style. Sliding windows are a popular choice for egress windows because many of them meet the egress code size and other code requirements.
Sliding windows are available in a variety of construction materials including vinyl, wood and aluminum. Double pane and triple pane glazing is also available as are energy efficient glass coatings such Low-E with Argon or Krypton gas between the panes. Many sliding windows and gliding windows are Energy Star qualified.
Adjustment and maintenance
Over time homes shift and settle and window frames can get out of square, preventing most windows from opening and closing properly. An advantage of sliding windows is that they are adjustable (some lower-end windows may not be adjustable) to compensate for the shifting of your home and change in the window frame. Sliding windows use small wheels under the window that slide in the bottom track of the frame and glide or roll open. Simple adjustments to these wheels allow home owners to keep their windows operating like new even as their home shifts and settles. Applying silicon spray to the wheels occasionally is also recommended to keep the wheels rolling smoothly and without squeaks.
Sliding windows are one of the easiest windows to clean. Many are easily removed for cleaning. Since the weight of sliding windows rides on the bottom of the frame, it is relatively simple to release the sash from the frame because you don’t have to support the window while you operate the release mechanism. Some sliders swing inward on hinges for cleaning so you never have to support the weight of the window.
Vinyl sliding windows are probably the most common but the material a window is made of should be consistent with the look of the home and other design elements and level of energy efficiency desired. For instance, for a home with lots of woodwork and decorate molding and wood design elements wood sliding windows would be the best choice.
Sliding windows are available in a variety of price points. The cost depends largely on the size of the window, the manufacturer, the construction material, glazing and other energy efficient treatments.
Sliding windows are available in all the standard window sizes and many manufactures also offer custom sizes.
Sliding windows are best for
- Contemporary homes – but grille options make them compatible with almost any architecture
- Easy cleaning and maintenance desired
- Maximum glass area
- Maximum ventilation wanted