Window Basics

Consumer Education to Help You Make Better Buying Decisions

Each employee at Windows & Doors By Brownell believes that educating the customer so they may make an effective buying decision is essential. Our salespeople spend time with each customer to make sure they understand their options and which products are best for their individual situation.

This section of our website is an extension of that commitment to education. Here you will learn some window basics and gain knowledge of what to look for if you think you may replace your windows or doors.

Anatomy of a Window



There are three components to the frame: the header across the top, the jambs down each side, and the sill across the bottom. Marvin® frames are built strong with a variety of high-quality wood species.


The glass in a window is called glazing. Marvin’s broad range of glazing options can meet both high-performance and refined aesthetic requirements.

3. LITE:

Each area of glass is called a lite, and Marvin offers divided lite patterns for whatever look you wish to create.


Marvin uses only the highest quality locks, handles, hinges, lifts and pulls, in a wide variety of durable finishes.

5. SASH:

The sash, operating or stationary, is comprised of horizontal rails, vertical stiles and glazing. Marvin’s large solid sashes offer precise fit and ease of operation.

Other Important Terms:

– Head Jamb:  The upper portion of the window, represents the top of the entire window
– Jamb:  Supports the outer edges of the window
– Check Rail: Where the top and bottom sash meet
– Bottom Sash:  The entire lower assembly of panes, typically moves
– Sill: The lower portion of the window, typically protrudes out from the wall
– Glazing: Refers to the layers of glass or process used to apply material to the glass surface
– Sash Lock: Hardware that locks the sashes in place
– Top Sash: The entire upper assembly of panes, in a double hung slides up and down
– Exterior Casing: The entire outer portion of the window, hold the sashes in place

Benefits of Window/Door Replacement

Old, difficult to operate windows can become a hassle for many homeowners. They can also be hard to open, problematic to clean or require frequent painting and maintenance. Drafty, inefficient windows can make rooms uncomfortable and difficult to heat.

By replacing their windows homeowners can eliminate many of these issues and enjoy additional benefits including:

  • Increased Energy Efficiency
  • Decrease in Drafts
  • Reduction in Heating Costs
  • Elimination or Reduction of Maintenance
  • Smoother Operation
  • Easier Cleaning
  • Improved Aesthetics
  • Increase in Home Value
  • Reduction in Noise Transference from the Outside In
  • Decreased Fading of Upholstery and Carpets due to Greater UV Protection

Tips for Shopping for Windows/Doors

There are a vast number of window and door products on the market. Ranging from inexpensive vinyl windows to custom made wood windows. The following are a few items to compare and consider when shopping for the right windows and doors for your home:

  • Materials used to construct the window.

    Did the manufacturer use nails or staples? What material is the frame made of; wood, vinyl, Fiberglass? Make sure the window you choose is of sound construction and will stand the test of time.

  • It’s all in the details.

    Is the window square? Does every corner and angle line up properly? Are nail heads or staples visible? Check closely and make sure you are getting the level of quality you want.

  • Who’s going to install your new windows or doors?

    Does the retailer offer professional installation services? Will you go through a third party contractor? Are you going to do it yourself? Make sure your installer is reputable, experienced and insured.

  • The warranty.

    Be sure the manufacturer you choose is willing to stand behind their product. Have they been in business for a while…will they be around when your warranty expires? Who is going to service your windows if repairs are needed in the future?

The following are industry standards you can compare when shopping for windows or doors:

NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) rates windows in four areas of energy performance. Make sure you see their label (or ask about it). You are looking for a low U-factor, low solar heat gain coefficient, low air leakage and high visible light transmittance.

Energy Star is only given to products that reduce energy use. Check for their backing to make sure you are getting an energy efficient product for the region you live in.

Design Pressure (DP) Performance rating will tell you how much pressure a window or door is designed to withstand when closed and locked. A higher DP rating is better, so look for one at least DP30.

Still Have Questions? We Can Help!