What is a Pane of Window Glass?

What is a Pane of Glass?

All modern buildings have at least a few windows. They provide light, ventilation, and insulation, and they can make your home or business more attractive and welcoming. Windows may seem like simple elements of construction, but they have many components and they've seen many changes overtime. In this post we're focusing on the glass in a window. 

Specifically, we'll answer the question, What is a pane of glass? Depending on the age, your windows may have a single pane or multiple panes. Keep reading to learn what this means for the windows in your home or business.

What is a Pane of Glass?

A pane of glass, also called a windowpane, is a sheet of glass that’s part of a window. Originally, windows did not have glass and when it was finally introduced only small panes could be made. Individual panes of glass were connected by muntins and placed in a window sash to cover the entire opening. Today, glass is made in large sheets and the look of muntins is imitated with internal and external decorative grids. 

Single-Pane Glass Windows

Modern windows are made with one to four panes of glass. Single-pane windows are less common now because multi-pane windows offer better energy savings. In fact, in many places single-pane windows won't meet modern energy code requirements for residential or commercial buildings. Single-pane windows are more commonly used in a garage or shed. 

Multi-Pane Glass Windows

Multi-pane is a good descriptor for old windows that were made from small individual panes of glass like we mentioned earlier but today multi-panes refer to double-, triple-, and quadruple-pane windows. These windows are made with large individual panes of glass. Multi-pane units are stacked together with spacers between each pane of glass. More glass provides more layers of efficiency and increases the price. 

Depending on the climate zone where you live a double-pane window may provide better value than a triple- or quad-pane window. 

A Brief History of Glass in Windows

Before people started using glass in windows, they used paper, animal skins, thin slices of wood or marble, and other materials. Wood shutters that could close in cold weather were common as well. About 2,000 years ago, the Romans began using glass in windows, but it wasn’t the clear glass we’re used to today. It was usually translucent, and impurities often made it look brown or added dark areas.

For centuries, people made glass by blowing it by hand into a large disk or cylinder before cutting it into sheets or squares. This gave windowpanes a slight curve, and it kept people from being able to construct windows with large panes of glass. The size of the cylinder or disk was limited by the strength and lung capacity of the glassblower.

Only wealthy people and places like churches could afford glass windows, so most people kept using solutions like shutters or paper. In the early 17th century, glass became more widespread. As the technology improved, many homes and businesses started using glass windows. Around 1900, glass makers started developing machines that could produce huge cylinders up to 40 feet tall and 30 inches in diameter. The size of the cylinder also meant that window panes didn’t have noticeable curves. After about 1920, all new panes of glass were made with this method.

How Many Panes of Glass Do Modern Windows Have?

High-performance windows can have as few as two-panes of glass (per sash). Having at last two panes in a glass unit provides a space that can be filled with an invisible, non-toxic, insulating gas like argon. Multiple panes of glass can also improve sound reduction from outside noises. 

Double-paned, triple-paned, and quadruple-paned windows are more expensive than single-paned versions, but they can increase the value of your home, reduce your energy bills, and make you and your family members more comfortable.

Many different types of windows and panes of glass are available. You should check with an expert who can help you decide what’s best for your needs.

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