People outside of North America may consider lots of things out of the ordinary. This applies even to the windows that homeowners install in their private residences here. Some fancy their construction or design, others find them rather displeasing due to their inconvenience and odd appearance. Let us try to set aside emotion and look into the most popular windows that people in the United States and Canada choose to install.
A special feature of American windows
The first thing we pay attention to in American windows is the way they open, which is very different from what we’re used to. In Europe, for instance, the leaves open either inward or outward, while in the United States and Canada they move up and down in a guillotine fashion. Such windows are called American, although, to be fair, such designs are also common in Canada, England, and Australia.
Incidentally, guillotines or sliders (another name for American windows) came to the United States from England in the latter half of the XIX century, and they did not appear like a single sheet of glass and consisted of lots of small squares, as the technology of the time did not allow producing glass sheets of large size.
The difference in design imposes a certain imprint upon the style of windows, which are somewhat different from the usual trends for residents of other parts of the world. Now let’s get into styles.
Single-sashed windows in retro style are in trends in North America right now. In other words, constructions of the mid-19th century, consisting of several squares of glass, became popular again. For this purpose, special frame bars (inter-glass or decorative) are used.
In the first case, the bar is mounted directly in the glazing unit, which increases the reliability of the construction. However, decorative bars glued to the glazing unit appear to be more popular, as they do not play any functional role and visually reshape the window to look “vintage”.
Such windows also open in a standard way – up/down, having a vertical-sliding system. And most often, they open inward, moving it in parallel to the plane of the facade to the roof. The possibility of equipping the opening system inside the structure is limited: the ceilings must be too high or the window height must be very low.
Double-sashed window structures
Typical North American homes with no claim to retro style have double-sashed windows with solid glass. They come in two types: Single-hung and Double-hung.
Single-hung windows consist of two sashes, of which only one is movable. And it moves vertically. Its upper half is often made blank, while the lower half is movable.
Double-hung windows also consist of two sashes, but both halves are movable. They can move up or down. Both systems open independently of each other. In terms of functionality, these are the most user-friendly designs, but they also have a higher price. Sashes in sliders move on special rails; to support the sashes today, they use springs, as opposed to the counterweights used before.
Other styles and designs
Apart from those reviewed above, they use a variety of other designs, not just traditionally American, but European as well. But let’s consider North American styles anyway.
Strange as it may seem but the use of blank structures that do not open to either side is quite common in North America. They are typically installed in rooms that do not require ventilation or extra airing, and only need daylight and view
They function much like folding doors, that is, open to the side and can have two or more sashes. If there is more than one sash, they cover each other as they move. These windows give you the advantage of saving the space you need when you open them.
They work similarly to our PVC windows, which are set in the “vent window” mode. Only the opening angle is much larger. They are opened with a handle and lock when the maximum angle is reached. That is, these are not the tilt-and-turn windows that residents of the European continent are used to, but a purely pivot-hung type.
In terms of technology, they are like pivoted window structures, only they open inward. They are mostly used in commercial and administration buildings but are also mounted in private buildings.
The differences in the style of North American windows compared to European windows are quite significant, although, to be fair, trends overlap and today you can often find designs typical of one part of the world in homes located on another continent.