Windows & Doors Terms Every Homeowner Should Know | Golden Windows

You need to replace your windows or doors. They are old, don’t operate as well and – what’s worse – they’re inefficient. When setting out to research new windows and doors, you may come up against a few unfamiliar terms. What’s the difference between awning windows and hung windows? What exactly are terrace doors? And what do technical terms such as “Low-e”, “U-value” and “Solar Heat Gain Coefficient” mean?

The wide world of windows and doors can seem intimidating at first glance. These basic features of a home contain incredibly sophisticated technology and a range of styling options, so it’s understandable that you might find yourself lost in the terminology a little.

To help you navigate your windows and doors research, we are offering this short glossary of terms. In this post, you will find an alphabetical list of terms pertinent to your search for the best new windows and doors. Containing entries on types of windows, types of doors, styling options and technical glass terms, we hope you can use this as a reference point when perusing our site or reading our blog.


Architectural and Picture Windows

Picture windows are often large, striking windows offering unobstructed views of your surrounding property. Architectural windows are available in unlimited range of shapes and sizes to match the style of your home. 

Your choices in architectural windows are limited only by your imagination. You can mix and match with other styles or install your unique piece on its own to add a dramatic look to your home. Golden Windows can customize an unlimited range of sizes and shapes, including half rounds, quarter rounds, gothic, ellipticals, segmental, arch, ovals, extended shapes, geometric shapes, and many more.

Once we have developed the general shape and size together, you can choose from a wide variety of standard grilles and window designs, or further customize your window by having one specially designed for you.


Argon Gas

Argon gas is known as an “inert gas fill” – a low conductivity, colourless, odourless and harmless gas that’s used instead of air inside a window’s glass units. National Resources Canada’s EnerGuide lists argon inert gas fills as a “keyway to make your home more energy-efficient.” The reason for this is that inert gas fills like argon are denser than air, and so they improve thermal insulation by reducing heat transfer.

All windows from Golden Windows come with four different Low-e options to choose from (more on Low-e below,) each with argon gas. It is just one of the ways Golden Windows offers fantastic, energy-efficient products.


Awning Windows

An awning window's defining feature is that it is hinged at the top, allowing the sash to swing outward from the bottom. Like a casement window, it operates by cranking a handle.

Awning windows are a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens, where easy ventilation and abundant natural light are needed. You will also commonly find awning windows coupled with larger windows or on the tops of doors, where they help add ventilation and create a stylish look.

Because they swing outward, they are a great choice for rainy locations, since they provide airflow without the risk of water getting in the home. Just bear in mind that, because of their protrusion, they require space in front to swing out.

Bay and Bow Windows

One of the top trending window styles we offer, Bay and Bow windows make big, bold and beautiful statements. They are large, multi-panelled windows that add lots of natural light and physical depth to a room. Bay windows are typically (though not always) created with a large picture window in the center and two smaller casement windows on either side. The side windows extrude from the exterior wall at 30° or 45°angles towards the middle window, creating a boxed look.

Bow windows are simply semi-circular bay windows. Because they add space to a room, bay and bow windows present an excellent opportunity to add shelving space, plants or even a reading nook.


Casement Windows

Casement windows are a classic style, designed with hinges on the side that allow the sash to open completely. They are versatile windows, fitting neatly into most rooms in the home. They are a great choice for bedrooms because they open fully, providing plenty of fresh air and natural light.

Check out the GoldenClad® and GoldenWood® windows on our website or visit one of our showrooms.


Entry Systems

Simply put, an entry system is your front door. That includes the panel, as well as the sidelite with glass and grille. A quality entry system, like the ones we manufacture at Golden Windows, should be safe, energy-efficient and attractive, with an effective drainage system and without unsightly door sweeps.

A focal feature of your home’s curb appeal, as well as a functional contributor to your home’s safety and efficiency, the entry system is the unsung hero of the home. If you’re looking to replace your entry system, make sure you find a good one – start your search with Golden Windows.  



Window grilles are the horizontal and/or vertical bars on a window. They add decoration, separating the larger sheets of glass on a pane into smaller sections. Grilles can either be in between the glass panes, as in Grilles Between Glass (GBG,) or adhered to the interior and exterior surfaces, known as in Simulated Divided Lite grilles (SDL.) The former allows for easier maintenance while the latter gives your windows a more traditional look.

As for grille patterns, Golden Windows offers numerous classic styles, like Colonial, Muskoka, Victorian and 2" Horizontal, or you can custom create a pattern to suit your taste. Because Golden Windows is a window designer, window manufacturer and installer, you’ll have a say every step of the process.


Hung Windows

There are two types of hung windows: single and double. On single hung windows, the bottom window panel moves in an up-and-down direction, while the upper sash remains stationary. On double-hung windows, both the lower sash and the upper sash to move up and down, tilting inwards for cleaning.

Classic in look, these windows are also practical. Because they are non-protrusive, they’re a fantastic choice for rooms that back on to a tight space.



Contrary to what some might think at first glance, “Low-E” doesn’t mean “low energy” (although Low-E products do aid in energy efficiency.) Low-E, in fact, means “low emissivity” or “low thermal emissivity.”

Low-E glass emits low levels of radiant thermal energy, limiting the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light coming through the glass, without limiting the amount of light. What that means in everyday terms is that Low-E glass, which we offer in all our windows, conserves your home’s energy expenditure without minimizing the amount of natural light you enjoy.

A critical tool in keeping your home bright, beautiful and energy-efficient, Golden Windows is proud to offer Low-E glass in all of our windows and doors.


An important consideration for manufacturers looking to create high-quality products, R-value measures an insulating material’s resistance to the conductive flow of heat. It’s measured in square feet per hour in degrees Fahrenheit per British thermal unit (sq. ft. x h x °F/Btu). The higher the number, the more efficient the product is at resisting heat transfer.

Energy performance standards (standards set by NRCan to qualify for ENERGY STAR® certification) do not actually include R-values, but the measurement can be helpful when comparing certain products.


Slider Windows

Sliding windows are energy-efficient alternatives to traditional casement and awning windows in your home. Horizontal in design, they come with sashes that slide back and forth rather than up and down. In the past, slider windows were prone to creakiness and friction, especially after years of use, but modern versions of the slider window use low friction brass rolling sliders, which allow for smoother operation. 

They are simple, elegant, and easy to use and maintain, making them a popular choice among homeowners. At Golden Windows, we offer a Single Slider Window, which has a single operating sash, and a Double Slider Window, which allows both sashes to operate and has the added feature of allowing the sash to pivot towards the interior for easy cleaning and maintenance.

For more information on how to get bright, energy-efficient slider windows in your home, check out the window installation services page on our website.


Sliding Patio Doors

A breezy, bright, and accessible addition to your home, sliding doors need no introduction. They are the quintessential, modern patio door, offering ample natural light, a great view of the outdoors and an easy way to allow for fresh ventilation. And, when done right, they are secure, energy-efficient, and customizable as well.

At Golden Windows, we offer the GoldenClad® Sliding Patio Doors, which provide the warmth and elegance of traditional wood doors on the interior of your home with the added luxury and protection of colour-matched aluminum cladding on the exterior. We also offer the GoldenWood® Sliding Patio Doors, available in both a Traditional (wide French Rails) and a Contemporary (Narrow Rail) design.


Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

As with Low-E and R-Value above, this is a technical term used to measure the efficiency of glass. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, or SHGC, measures the amount of solar radiation that can pass through a window, and indicates how well the product blocks heat caused by sunlight. It is calculated by comparing the amount of solar heat that hits the window with the amount that gets through to the inside.

SHGC is measured on a scale of 0 to 1, with values typically ranging from 0.25 to 0.80. A lower number indicates less solar heat transmitted and therefore better shading ability. At Golden Windows, you can find the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient number for each of our glass options by clicking on the Performance tab of a specific window and reading the Thermal Performance chart.


Terrace Doors

A more timeless appearance than sliding patio doors, terrace doors (sometimes called garden doors or French doors) swing open on hinges either inward or outward. They are wide and sturdy, often with large panes of glass that allow for natural light.

The perfect choice for a rustic or classic home, a cottage or log cabin, Golden Windows terrace doors are available in both GoldenClad® and GoldenWood®. The former is designed with an extruded aluminum clad exterior frame allowing for a choice of exterior colours. The latter is designed with a wood frame and brickmould, which allows for your choice of stains or paint colours.



Another technical measurement of glass efficiency, U-Value (or U-factor) evaluates the rate of heat transfer from warm to cold areas. It can either be expressed in watts per square metre Kelvin or in British thermal units per house per square foot Fahrenheit.

In either case, the lower the number, the better. You can find the U-Values for each of our products in the Performance Information page of our website, where we also list the ENERGY STAR Zones each product qualifies for.


Visible Transmittance (VT)

Another standard for windows and doors laid out by the Canadian Standards Association, Visible Transmittance, or VT, has to do with the amount of light that passes through a material.

A relatively high VT value for a window means that you get lots of visible, natural light in your home; when coupled with a relatively low SHGC (see above) it also means that the light isn’t transmitting as much solar heat. Homeowners want to try to find something in the sweet spot: high VT and low SHGC.

There are other terms you might encounter in your journey to find the perfect new windows and doors, but the above glossary should prove a convenient handbook. If you have questions or would like further recommendations, reach out to Golden Windows for support.


Common Mistakes People Make with their Window Replacements | Golden Windows

Windows are a significant investment, but there are plenty of common missteps people make when buying new ones. Learn how to avoid these and get the right windows for you.

8/15/2022 3:23:02 PM

View Post