What are Sliding Windows?

What are Sliding Windows?

Nothing says "summer" like the view through a big sliding window. One of the most popular window styles in the U.S., sliding windows offer great ventilation and natural light. Learn more about this style before deciding if it's the right choice for your home.

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What are Sliding Windows?

Sliding windows have one or more sashes that move left and right on tracks. When installed properly, sliding windows glide smoothly along their tracks for easy opening and closing that doesn't require any lifting.

  • Sliding Windows - slide horizontally
  • Hung Windows - slide vertically
  • Casement & Awning windows - open by crank or push

Most sliding windows are available in double or triple sash configurations. A double slider has two sashes, one operable and one fixed. A triple slider has two operable sashes and one fixed sash between the two moving sashes. Sliding windows vary in size, but most are large, and they tend to be wider than they are tall. Some sliding windows extend almost from floor to ceiling, blurring the line between sliding window and sliding door. Common places to install sliding windows include:

  • Living rooms, especially overlooking a backyard or patio.
  • Above kitchen sinks or counters.
  • Laundry rooms and similar places where space is limited.
  • Upper rooms overlooking a balcony.
  • Bedrooms (if you like waking up to sunshine). 

Pros and Cons of Sliding Windows

Like any window, sliding windows have their advantages, as well as some potential drawbacks. Consider the pros and cons to decide if they are the best replacement windows for your home. 

Pro: Perfect Breeze

Sliding windows offer great ventilation, especially models with two sliding sashes. They're great for letting fresh air and a cooling breeze into your home, which makes them popular in warmer climates. 

Pro: Easy to Open

Because they open and close horizontally instead of vertically, sliding windows are easy to use. You don't have to turn a crank handle or lift against gravity to open them, so they're simple and easy for anyone to open, including children. 

Pro: Great Natural Lighting

Sliding windows often fit into a large window space, which means they offer excellent natural light, Installing one on a south-facing wall can flood your home with light, and also provide an excellent view. 

Pro: Never in the Way

Certain windows, especially awning, casement and hopper windows, open either outward or inward, potentially causing a hazard in high-traffic areas. This is never an issue with sliding windows. 

Con: Energy Efficiency

Sliding windows are neither at the top nor the bottom of the pack when it comes to energy efficiency. Sliding windows are less efficient than casement windows or awning windows, but about on-par with single-hung windows

Con: Difficult to Clean

The bottom sliding tracks have a tendency to fill with dirt and debris, which makes sliding windows time-consuming to clean. Buildup can also prevent a tight seal, making them less efficient. 

Con: Limited Style Options

Sliding windows tend to come in a narrower range of styles and colors than some other types of windows, giving homeowners fewer options to choose from. 

Who Sells Sliding Windows?

Just because sliding windows aren't the most varied windows on the market, that doesn't mean you don't have options. Sliding windows are made by some of today's leading window brands, including: 

The best way to decide if sliding windows are right for you home is to talk with window professional who can help you make the best call. In replacement projects, most homeowners choose to replace the existing window with the same window style. By choosing the same window style, you save the cost of reframing the window opening to accommodate a different window size or shape. 

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