You Need a New Sash, Not a New Window

You need a new sash, not a new window: This statement is the justification of why Fenster Components exists. This is why we got into the window business in the first place. 

The practicality of sash replacement is a superior method to window repair with all the benefits of a full replacement window.

We’ve created a whole new approach to window replacement that is, by far, less expensive, less mess and less hassle than the traditional idea of window replacement. Just so we’re on the same page, let’s dig into what the “act” of window replacement really is and how the Fenster process is better.

Traditional Wood Window Replacement

This process has to start with an apples-to-apples comparison of what is being replaced. I’ll be talking specifically about an aluminum-clad casement wood window in a typical mid-range custom home. For this example, let’s look at a home $300,000-700,000 in value with roughly 40 windows in it, and let’s assume a white plastic vinyl insert window is not an option for this home. 

Traditional window replacement would require the entire frame of the window to be cut out from the wall. This can have a significant effect on the surrounding surfaces. Interior trim has to be removed, damaging drywall and paint. Exterior trim will also have to be removed, and if you have brick, stone or stucco, the window frame literally has to be cut out of the opening. 

And all exterior treatment has the potential to create water infiltration issues when sealing the new window unit. So, now you have an entirely new frame that has to be secured into the opening, flashed and sealed properly. 

My argument to this process is, ultimately: Can you fully get proper attachment and watertight seal with a replacement window long after the home was built originally?

Fenster Sash Replacement

Our process removes the entire frame seal question from the equation. 

The frame is never removed or altered in any way. The surrounding surfaces are not disturbed in any way. The sash panel is simply removed from the existing frame. 

For operating sashes, the sash is pulled from its hinges and operating hardware. The original hardware is then transferred to the new replacement sash and the sash is reset in the frame just as the original was. 

For stationary sashes, there are two common mounting methods. Some windows have exposed screws through the interior jamb or through the edge of the sash itself. The sash is simply removed by backing out these screws. The second method is to have brackets hidden behind the interior trim around the sash called the screen stop.

Why Replace Just the Sash and Not the Whole Window?

Let’s first examine what is wrong with the windows and why you want to replace them. 

Now, if you’re someone who just wants new stuff for the sake of having new stuff, then you can stop reading. For those of you a little more practical or without an endless budget, this is an important read. Ask yourself these questions before you rip out your entire window.

  1. Is there anything wrong with the frame? The answer is probably no, and there probably never will be. Then why tear it out?
  2. Poor seal? The weatherstripping can be replaced and even upgraded without tearing out the entire frame.
  3. Foggy glass? This is specific to the sash itself. Replacing just the sash solves this issue without a full tear-out.
  4. Rotten wood? An aluminum-clad window traditionally has an all-metal frame with a cladded wood sash. If the frame has no potential to rot, but the sash does, why not replace only the part of the window that needs to be replaced?
  5. Poor efficiency? Upgrading efficiency is probably the most common reason for replacement. Here’s what I’ll say to that. The materials, construction and assembly techniques for clad wood windows have changed little-to-none over the past 40 years.

By design, an aluminum-clad window frame of today looks no different than a frame from the 80s. The technology is in the glass, and nothing else. The bells and whistles like trendy hardware, blinds in the glass, roll-up screens and fancy colors are all great, but do nothing to improve efficiency: It’s about the glass. There’s the reason to tear them all out, right? Wrong. Fenster sashes come with the same Energy Star approved glass units that any major window manufacturer can offer you. 

Ready to get started? Great! Check out our sash replacement line and gather all the details you need about ordering a sash window replacement for your home here. Then contact us today!

5 Benefits of Using a Sash Replacement

sash replacement benefits

Wooden sash windows will eventually age and any damage will need to be addressed — but most homeowners don’t have the time or money to deal with a major project like full window replacements. And nor should they have to! 

Most of the time, homeowners can use sash replacements rather than deal with an entire home window replacement project. But deciding which road to take can be tricky for many homeowners. 

In order to make that decision, it’s important to gain enough knowledge to confidently decide what is best for you and your home. To help you with that, we’ve made this list of sash replacement benefits. 

1. Economic

The cost of window replacement is dependent on the extent of parts that actually need to be replaced. Each part of the window replaced adds to the cost when, in fact, not all parts actually need replacing. On top of that, the labor costs of replacing windows can be difficult to swallow. 

Alternatively, sash window replacements are 30% of the cost of full window replacements with all of the benefits and less of the headache. This makes sash replacement an attractive and feasible option for many homeowners. And because they’re quicker and easier to install, this saves even more on cost. 

While wood window sash replacements are more expensive than vinyl window sash replacements, going with a sash replacement is still far more economical than an entire window replacement — plus the wood window sash will last longer than vinyl. 

Check out Fenster’s QuickSash wood sash replacements here. To learn more about window replacement costs, check out this blog

2. Long-Term Solution

Because the sash part of the window is separate from the frame of the house and the window panes, it can easily be removed and replaced while keeping the other parts intact. 

As most damage occurs within the frame as opposed to cracked glass, the window glass itself doesn’t need to be replaced. With sash windows, replacing the sash is just as good as a full window replacement and lasts just as long. 

Also, a sash replacement can bring the window up to current technology standards without the cost and hassle of ripping out and replacing the entire window. And because sash window parts are individually removable, each part can be fixed mostly independently of the remainder of the window, meaning it’ll be easier and more cost-effective to keep the window maintained over time. 

3. Maintain the Look of Your House

Homeowners want to make sure the look of their house is maintained and this is particularly important for homes built in the last few decades. They want the character to be consistent, and one of the most important factors in that is the windows. 

Having to replace one or two windows that are worn down or damaged could upset the look and character of the entire house, leaving homeowners wondering if all their windows need to be replaced.

They don’t! Fenster’s QuickSash double-hung sash replacement is designed to fit almost any painted or clad-wood tilt-in window, regardless of age or style. This even includes Caradco window sash replacement. 

Casement windows are no problem either. We also offer replica casement sashes of almost all casement windows for both older and newer homes. There really is no reason why the look of your house can’t be maintained!

4. Easier Installation

Sash window replacement can be installed in two days or less with an expert like Fenster, while a window replacement project is a major undertaking and can disrupt your daily life in a drastic way. No homeowner wants that. Check out the Fenster website to see if you’re in an available installation area.

Window sash replacement is straightforward. This means whether homeowners decided to do it themselves or decide to hire installation professionals, it’s a quick, clean and simple job. 

If homeowners want to tackle this themselves, taking measurements is the first step and is quite simple. The most important thing to remember is to measure twice, order once! For more information about how to measure for sash window replacements, check out this blog. To learn more about the four-step process of removing a sash window, check this out

5. Think About the Mess

This may seem obvious given the ease of installation and how economical sash replacement is, but it (almost) goes without saying that the mess of sash replacement is virtually non-existent when compared to a full window replacement project! We felt this was something to highlight on its own because feeling as though your home is turned upside-down with renovations is difficult to face. 

Especially when you live in a colder climate and have to have holes in the side of your home overnight while the windows are replaced.

Get Started Today

There are just some things that homeowners don’t want to face, and windows are one of them. We understand! That’s why we’ve made it easier for homeowners to make decisions about the upkeep of their homes and windows. 

Ready to get started? Great! Check out our sash replacement line and gather all the details you need about ordering a sash window replacement for your home here. Then contact us today!

What Does a Casement Window Look Like

If someone asked what type of windows you have throughout your home, would you be able to tell them?

casement windows look

Not all window designs are the same, and one of the most mistaken types of windows is the casement window design. 

It’s been around for centuries and is featured in many classic home and building designs. Casement windows can add to the value of your home and help to circulate air in your space more efficiently than other window designs. 

There are a few benefits to using casement windows in your home, so let’s take a look at what these windows look like, along with some of the reasons why so many homes feature this classic design. 

What Does a Casement Window Design Feature? 

Casement windows include a couple of features that make their design stand out from other common window designs. 

Casement window sash: A window’s sash is made up of both the glass and the window frame around the glass. The sash on a casement window swings out and is often operated by a crank handle. (Unlike the sash on a double-hung window, which is the part that you slide up and down.) 

Rails and stiles: The rails are the top and bottom sections of your window’s sash, and stiles make up the sides. The hinge is typically mounted on the rail of a casement window, and rail components will feature a groove where the hinge fits in: the hinge pocket. The shape and length of your window’s rails and stiles determines the “profile” of the window.

Casement window operation: Generally speaking, casement windows swing out like a door and are opened by turning the window’s crank handle. Awning, hopper and transom windows all have similar styles of operation and are often considered casement windows since they swing out from a hinge in a similar fashion. 

Some casement windows are fixed or stationary and don’t open at all. They’re often found in multi-window designs, to help maximize views of the outdoors.  

What Are the Benefits of a Casement Window Design? 

The type of windows you choose for your home often comes down to a matter of style and what makes sense for your design. 

One of the main factors behind your window purchase might be cost and installation. You’ll often find that casement windows are more expensive upfront compared to, say, cheaper vinyl windows.

But there’s a reason casement windows have been on-trend for more than a few decades: Because they’re an especially sustainable and long-term option for homeowners looking for a new window design. They come with a few benefits that make them an appealing selection for your home’s style. 

  • They’re a great solution for indoor air quality in the home. Many casement window models are designed to open completely, so you’ll have plenty of fresh air to ventilate your space. 
  • Casement windows also seal more completely than other window designs, since it’s secured in three places to the window frame once it’s locked into place.
  • Cleaning and inspecting a casement window is often easier on homeowners since it opens wider than other designs.  
  • Operating the casement window crank is usually easier on older or disabled homeowners, unlike double-hung windows which can get stuck or are too heavy to open. 

Casement windows could be considered some of the most cost efficient designs available. For many casement window units, the frame will stand up to years of wear and tear because it’s made of aluminum or clad in some kind of durable metal. Usually, it’s just the wooden sash on a casement window that needs replacement, which is a far more budget-friendly project than an entire window replacement. 

Choosing Smarter Window Solutions

Casement windows offer homeowners a few benefits and solutions for their window design. From ease of operation to better indoor air quality, casement windows can improve the comfort and energy efficiency in your home, and have a classic design that won’t go unnoticed.

Have concerns or questions about your home’s casement windows? QuikSash Clad and Wood Casement Sashes from Fenster offer homeowners a solution for casement window replacement. All of Fenster’s sashes are designed to outperform your window’s original counterparts, because the sashes are engineered for durability and energy-efficiency, and include low-E glass and weatherstripping.

Learn more about casement windows, casement window parts and casement window replacement when you visit our guide here

Ready to order a new casement sash to optimize your existing window design? Fill out our online order form here. 

Most Popular Chicagoland Wood Windows

Fenster Components is excited to announce our expansion into the Chicagoland area with our innovative approach to window replacement. Expensive, whole window tear-out replacement is no longer necessary with our sash replacement system. We offer replacement sash for Chicago’s most popular brands like Caradco, Norco, Pozzi, Rockwell and more!

How Does It Work?

Homeowners now have the option to just replace the sash, which is the operating panel of the window (glass and frame), without having to tear out the entire frame of the window from the wall. This avoids costly damage to the surrounding surfaces of your walls and solves all of your window issues for less than half the cost. Why tear out your Caradco, Norco, Pozzi or Rockwell windows when Fenster can just replace the foggy or rotten sash for a fraction of the cost?

The engineers at Fenster have taken the original templates of many popular brands of windows long since gone out of business — including Caradco, Norco, Pozzi and Rockwell — and adapted those sash profiles into a fully functional, nearly exact replica of the original brand’s window sash. In many cases, Fenster has taken steps to actually improve the design for better longevity. The testimonials we are most proud of are from customers who say, “Fenster sashes are better than the original!”

Let’s walk through some of the most popular brands we see in Chicago to better understand our process and expertise.

Caradco

Originally out of Rantoul, IL, Caradco is one of the oldest window companies in America and Fenster’s biggest selling brand. Caradco was purchased by the Jeld-Wen company in 1996, and they then sold the brand through 2011 when the nameplate was discontinued.

As of 2018, Jeld-Wen no longer produces any replacement parts for Caradco windows and now refers its Caradco customers to Fenster for help. Fenster has several Caradco models available like the C-200 series, the Carclad/Heritage I and II, all the way through the latest Traditional Casement model made through the early 2000s. Our Quiksash double-hung kits are also a great fit for the Classic or Guardian Series double-hung windows.

Norco

Fenster’s second most popular brand was originally out of Medford, WI and also purchased by Jeld-Wen in the mid-’90s. Much like Caradco, Norco is also no longer available from Jeld-Wen.

Norco is the brand of sash Fenster has made the most improvements to. For many years, across several models, Norco used an exterior side, plastic glazing bead around the glass, which was infamous for allowing water to leak in around the glass. The Fenster version of a Norco has the glazing bead switched to the interior, allowing for a flat, seamless seal on the exterior side around the glass.

Fenster has Norco replica sash for the primed and clad Siteline, Teton and D-series casements. Our Quicksash double-hung kits fit Norco double-hung windows as well.

Pozzi

The third installment of the Jeld-Wen buy-out of the ’90s. Pozzi was originally out of Bend, OR and was a sizable company with nationwide distribution. While Fenster produces replica sash for many regional brands, Pozzi was a brand we find at all corners of the country.

We want to mention Wenco in this section as well, as Jeld-Wen also bought Wenco, and we have found a significant similarity between Pozzi and Wenco sash models. Fenster has the staple of the Pozzi casement models, the builder’s series casement in both clad or primed wood produced from the early ’80s through the late ’90s.

Starting in the mid-’90s, a new Pozzi model came into the market that was precisely like the Wenco and also a Jeld-Wen builder’s casement. Fenster has two models of Pozzi that fit everything Pozzi, Wenco and Jeld-Wen.

What Fenster can’t do for Pozzi owners, however, is a double-hung. The very popular Pozzi/Wenco easy-tilt, double-hung sold through the ’90s and 2000s used a static jambliner and tilt latches on the sashes. The Fenster Quiksash kit will not work for this design.

Rockwell

Rockwell was made in Knox, IN and was a sister company to Barber and Ross out of Virginia that closed in 2010.  Rockwell was a direct-to-builder distributor and offered a deeply discounted price point to larger custom builders who bought in high volume.

Needless to say, Chicago is lousy is Rockwells! Unfortunately for many homeowners, Rockwell had significant quality issues in their Knox plant resulting in a poorly made window. We make a (improved) Rockwell replica as well.

Most significantly for a Rockwell, the Fenster version has deleted the rubber glazing boot around the glass that was infamous for leaking water in around the glass. The Fenster version uses a more modern wet glazing system for a watertight seal around the glass. Just like the casement version, the Fenster Quiksash double-hung kit is a great fit for Rockwell double-hung windows.

 

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more information on replacing and repairing wood windows. Or click here to learn hints and tips, as well as contact us for more information.

FAQ’s about painting wood windows

I started my career with an Indianapolis home builder as a service manager. As a division leader, I was responsible for managing “out of warranty” issues in my territory. The builder at the time was an originator of the “track built” concept in central Indiana but favored the more upscale style of construction. They were still using wood windows well into the late ’90s before vinyl took over. With a one year warranty at the time, that meant I fielded my fair share of rotten window complaints.

What’s great about a new home is everything is new! What builders fail to do is instill the notion that a new home still requires maintenance. I was put in some tough situations at points. What do you say to a homeowner in an eight-year-old house with rotted windows without a lick of paint or caulk on them? Should they have lasted longer? Maybe. Did you take care of them? No.

I will always be a fan of wood windows. Sorry vinyl guys, but your stuff is junk. You know what the best thing about vinyl is: they’re cheap! Buy 1, get 20 free! Wow, that screams quality. Wood windows add value, warmth, beauty and design functionality to a home but admittedly come with a price. Wood windows require significant maintenance for long-lasting life. What was once a common sense, Saturday afternoon project for our grandparents has become an oversight in our modern-day lives. Whether you’re a DIY’er or hiring it out, here are some tips to keeping your wood windows looking great for years.

  1. Wood windows need to be painted every five years. I recommend a high-quality acrylic latex paint in a satin finish. Even if your trim is a flat sheen, the satin adds an enamel finish that holds up better under UV rays and weather than flat paint does.
  2. Paint and caulking should be inspected and touched up every year.
  3. Cleaning your wood windows is just as important as painting them to keep them looking beautiful. Wash sills and trim just as you would the glass.
  4. Wood windows are very component-based. Several parts make up the frame. Check for gaps or separations between frame components and seal with exterior grade acrylic latex caulking. Tip: Don’t use silicone caulking on wood windows: The paint will not stick to it.
  5. Check the perimeter of the frame and trim where it meets the siding, brick, etc. for gaps as well. Not only is this a good entry point for water, but for air leaks as well.
  6. Check the corner joints of the sash, specifically at the bottom where the glass meets the wood frame. A gap or separation at this location is the beginning of a sash failure resulting in rotten sash frames or failed glass seals. Caulk any separations at wood joints. A dab of caulking can also be added to the corner joint of the glass and wood to help wick water away from the corner joint.
  7. On an all wood, painted window, I recommend removing the bottom weatherstrip seal from the sash. This is specifically for a casement window. Here’s the thought behind this: A casement window has no slope to the sill by design. The seal around the sash is not a thermal barrier. It is a storm shield meant to reduce the amount of wind-driven rain and debris from getting in around the sash. But, it is not weather tight. Water can still get trapped between the sill and the bottom of the sash causing the sill or sash to rot. By removing the bottom seal, this allows water to run out and air to circulate under the sash.
  8. Do not caulk a sash shut. This can actually do more damage by blocking moisture in around the sash and can be very dangerous in case of an emergency.
  9. Do not paint the vinyl tracks or the edges of the sashes on double-hung windows. The vinyl track creates a natural friction against the wood surface of the sash to provide a seal while allowing the sash to slide freely. Painting either the sash edge or the track will prevent the sashes from sliding.
  10. I recommend removing screens on double-hung windows annually to clean debris away from the sill that may have built up or become trapped. Debris in the corners of the sill can lead to moisture build-up and eventually wood rot.

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more information on replacing and repairing wood windows. Or click here to learn hints and tips, as well as contact us for more information.

Repair vs. Replace: Chicago Suburb Wood Windows

Since the early 90s, the Chicago suburbs have exploded with the expansion of new upscale neighborhoods, and aluminum-clad casement windows were the standard for this new construction. During this period, there were a plethora of mid-scale wood window companies supplying Chicago homebuilders with a continuous supply of moderately priced window products to keep up with demand.

The Problem

Fast forward 25 years and the Chicago suburbs now face two big problems.

  1. Poor Quality: To keep up with demand and keep prices low (oh, but they still have to make money, right?), corners were cut. Poor design, faulty components and sloppy construction added up to failing windows. I’ve commented many times — and it’s my personal opinion — that some windows were almost designed to fail on purpose. In the 90s, a wood window had a 1-year warranty. The glass may have been covered for up to 10 years. I’ve actually sat through service training of a major manufacturer and their training literature really said, ‘The window should only last 10 years. ‘ 10 years? Who can replace windows every 10 years?
  2. Housing Crash: The ultimate downfall to the boom of the wood window industry came in 2008 with the housing market crash. Most of these mid-level, regional manufacturers had all their eggs in the new construction basket. Unlike Pella and Andersen that had a stronghold on the remodeling market, most of these mid-level brands folded between 2008 and 2010 because their new construction customers went under too. Manufacturers like Caradco, Pozzi, Norco and Rockwell are no longer around to service or warrant their aging windows.

The Solution

So you live in the Chicago suburbs, you own a $300,000-700,000 home and your aluminum clad windows are fogged up, rotten and falling apart. What do you do? Replace them right? What other option do you have?

How about saving 60% or more? Fenster replacement sashes are the answer to your problem.

For this size of home, the average count is about 40 windows. A whole-house replacement will run $80,000-$90,000 for a comparable clad wood window from the only guys that are left: Pella, Marvin, Renewal by Andersen, a private contactor using Jeld-wen or Weathershield.

Fenster can replace just the sashes in the same size house for $25,000-$30,000!

Breaking It Down

Let’s break it down. What does sash replacement look like in Chicago area homes:

Why sash replacement works for a long term solution:

In most cases, the frame of the window and sash are made very differently. The frames are built of a heavy gauge aluminum that most likely will never go bad. Worst case, they fade in the sun a bit. Otherwise, what could go wrong with the frame? The sash is very different. The sash is a wood frame with a thinner metal skin over it. The design flaws I eluded to earlier lead to water leaking into the frame between the glass and the metal skin causing the wood frame to rot out. With the sash being separate from the frame, the sash can be removed leaving the frame intact without a full tear-out.

Why sash replacement solves all of your problems:

Well, your window problems at least. First, ask yourself: why are you considering window replacement? Foggy glass? Rotted wood? Poor seal? Broken hardware? Sash replacement is a direct solution to each of these issues without the need of full replacement. There’s nothing wrong with the frame right? Why tear all of that out and pay for new when you don’t need it!

Why sash replacement is a better idea:

Wood window replacement is a major remodeling project. The vinyl guys just stick a smaller plastic window inside your existing window, fill the gaps and call that done! That doesn’t work in your style and price range of home in the Chicago suburbs. Wood windows need a full tear-out to replace them. That spells a major mess! The project could take days, even weeks if there are problems and cause a major disruption in your family’s home.

Fenster crews can replace 40 sashes in 2 days or less with no mess, no inconvenience to your daily life, but with all of the same benefits of a new window for 30%  the cost and none of the hassle.

Click here to learn more about Fenster’s products. Or click here to read more about when to repair and when to replace your windows.

Understanding Wood Window Parts

One of the biggest hurdles we have to overcome in our sales process is getting on the same page with customers when it comes to terminology. We certainly don’t expect any retail customer to be a window expert. That’s our job!

Unfortunately, there’s just no way around the technical side of what we do. Hey, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it! We admit the process can be tedious. Finding equal ground between what the customer can understand and what we need to know has, at times, been frustrating on both ends. We sweat the details, so the customer doesn’t have to.

We have no return policy for replacement sashes because our sales approach is simple: We won’t sell you a window unless we know its exactly what you need. We always have – and continue to – improve the buying experience for our customers. The incredible lack of talent for window repair has forced us to remain an online retailer. As our notoriety and reputation grow across the country, we continue to provide our customers with more useful and user-friendly content to make their buying experience as pleasant as possible.

Understanding the terms we use is no exception.

It’s fundamentally important to understand wood window parts and the terminology we use in sales conversations to build buyer’s confidence in not only our products but the people you are buying them from. We have put together a glossary of terms, along with some commentary, to help you better understand wood window parts and how we talk about them.

Sash

A sash is the glass and the frame holding the glass. The frame is not the sash by itself, nor is the glass. The “complete” sash is both the glass and the frame around it together. The sash is the operational panel. For example, on a casement window, the sash is what you crank out. On a double-hung window, the sash is what you slide up and down to open it.

Stile and Rail

These are parts of the sash. The stiles are the sides of the sash, and the rails are the top and bottom of the sash. Sashes can be constructed different ways. Most of the time, the stiles are shaped differently than the rails. We call the shape of a stile or rail: the “profile.” On casement windows, the stiles typically have a square or rounded edge, while the rails have a groove cut into the edge where the hinge is mounted. We call this the hinge pocket.

Some casement windows are built with the same profile all the way around. Some models will have matching stiles and rails where the profile is the same on all four sides. Double-hung sashes are built in much the same way with one exception: Double-hung sashes have a different rail called a meeting rail. Also referred to as a parting rail or check rail, these are the rails that “meet” in the middle when the window is closed.

Casement

A casement style window is on a hinge like a door and opens and closes by a crank handle. In terms of construction, other windows such as awning, hopper and transom windows are also considered “casement style” since they are made the same way. Casement windows can also be operable (also called “vented”) or stationary. Whether an operable or stationary model, a casement window is still built in the same manner. The exception is a direct set picture window or transom where there is no removable sash, but the glass panel is glued directly into the frame.

Double-Hung

A double-hung window is a matched set of upper and lower sashes that slide up and down on a track with the help of spring balances. Wood windows are typically “double-hung” meaning both upper and lower sashes are operable. Vinyl windows are usually “single-hung,” meaning the upper sash is fixed, and only the lower sash is operable.

Slider/Glider

A slider window is similar in operation to a double-hung, but slides from side to side rather than up and down.

Double Pane Glass

Double pane glass is an encapsulated unit where two panes of glass are glued together, separated by a spacer bar. The spacer bar creates the overall thickness of the unit and forms the insulating air space. Double pane glass does not contain any gas and does not create a vacuum. The air space is merely dead air. One pane of glass can not be separated from the other to repair internal fog. Most of the time, the entire glass unit can be removed from the sash frame and replaced.

LowE Glass

LowE glass is the standard for modern times. LowE, or low emissivity, is a coating applied to the surface of the glass. It protects against UV rays and provides better insulating properties over just clear glass.

Argon Gas

Argon can be added to double pane glass units to replace the dead air inside the unit. While Argon does increase performance slightly, Argon is often added to help control sound.

High-Performance LowE Glass

High-performance lowE is a Fenster term to identify our better quality lowE product. Our standard lowE is a hard-coat, lowE product that is very typical of the window industry as a whole. Our HP-LowE is a soft-coat, lowE that is supplied in higher-end windows and commercial applications. Our HP-LowE is not recommended for small quantity orders.

Customers will not see the added benefits for a handful of windows. Fenster offers the HP product for customers upgrading their entire home, or at least the south or west, sunny sides of the house to get the most benefit of the upgrade.

Tempered Glass

Tempered safety glass is a building code requirement, not an upgrade, as many folks would think. Per universal building code standards, there are three common situations where tempered glass is required.

1.  Over or behind a tub or shower enclosure.

2.  In a stairwell.

3.  When windows are less than 18″ from the floor.

In some cases, the actual size of window will require tempered glass, but for our purposes, Fenster does not make a window large enough to meet this requirement. Check your local building codes for specific requirements in your area. Tempered glass is always labeled in one corner of the glass unit with an etched marking.

Grills/Grids

There are three types of grills that Fenster offers.

1.  GBGs (grills between the glass). Just as the name implies, GBGs are metal grills in between the panes of glass.

2.  SDLs (simulated divided lite) are surface applied grills glued to both the interior and exterior to mimic the look of traditional true divided lite panes of glass.

3.  Wood grill inserts are a wood-framed grill attached to the interior of the window by clips or pins.

Weatherstrip

Weatherstripping is the perimeter seal of a sash, also called the storm shield. The storm shield can be in fin or bulb form to reduce the amount of wind-driven rain, air and debris from around the sash.  The storm shield is not designed to be a thermal seal. The weatherstripping around the jamb of the window is typically in bulb form. This seal is the thermal seal blocking air from entering around the sash.

Cladding

Cladding is the metal or vinyl skin on the exterior side of any sash that is not painted on the exterior.

Jambliners

Jambliners or balance kits are a very common repair item for double-hung windows. Jambliners consist of the vinyl tracks the sashes slide up and down on and the balances or springs that provide tension on the sashes to hold them in an open position. The biggest thing to know about jambliners is they are not brand specific; instead, they are very universal across the window industry.

The industry as a whole adopted set standards for jambliners throughout the ’80s and ’90s to simplify the supply chain. Regardless of the brand (generally speaking, of course), if you have a wood window with compression fit jambliners that allow the sashes to tilt in by simply applying pressure to the tracks and pulling the sash in toward you, then the following is true:

1. White and beige were the only standard colors.

2.  There are two track shapes to fit the edge shape of the sash, square plough or “Vee” plough.

3.  A universal sizing chart was established for new construction windows where nearly every manufacturer made their windows to fit this sizing chart.

Hardware

By definition, hardware should be self-explanatory.  Basically, hardware would refer to any window component that is not wood, glass, cladding or weatherstripping. We included this on the list to make an important point. Much like jambliners, hardware is not brand specific unless you have Pella, Andersen or Marvin, which are brands we don’t represent. For everyone else, the industry-standard was TRUTH brand hardware.

Caradco is our biggest selling brand, so we get a ton of requests for “Caradco” hardware. There’s no such thing. Caradco used TRUTH, just like 99% of all other window manufacturers. When shopping for replacement hardware, your search should be based on matching the part and identifying that part by its function, and not searching for your specific brand of window. The reverse of this is also true.  We, nor anyone else for that matter, can tell you what part you need based on your brand of window.

 

We hope this glossary is helpful to you as you decide to repair or replace your wood windows. If you have any questions, please click here to contact us.

How to Repair Hail Damaged Windows

I want to start this post on my soapbox for a minute. I am celebrating 20 years in the window and home improvement business this year: This isn’t my first rodeo. I think after 20 years we might have something figured out. To this day, I can’t help but get a little offended when someone says what I’ve given 20 years of my life to doesn’t work. Who says such things, you ask? A contractor manipulating the system; that’s who!

It’s funny, after all these years, how the same dilemma is seen entirely different depending on who’s writing the check. The bulk of our sales are direct-to-consumer retail. To a homeowner that has rotted wood sashes or fogged glass, we’re the greatest idea ever!

We save folks thousands of dollars by replacing just their failed sash instead of tearing out the whole window. Now take that same solution and apply it to hail damage when the insurance company is expected to provide all new windows. “It doesn’t work! Fake news! Oh, you can’t do that. Nope. You need $100,000 of all new windows”, says the contractor.

But they are wrong; it can be done.

After all, what’s the difference between rotted wood and dents in the metal? Nothing. A new sash solves either problem.

Hail damaged windows are repaired easily by removing and replacing the damaged sash by a Fenster factory-trained technician. See, most of the time, clad windows are built with a wood frame sash covered in a thin metal skin. Casement windows are most susceptible to hail damage because the sash sits out even with the frame and makes up most of the surface you see from the outside. The frames, however, are usually built of a much heavier gauge metal to retain their shape and strength. Typically, the frame is designed with minimal surface, or edge, exposed to the elements. I won’t say never but rarely do I see any significant hail damage to the frame edge. It’s the sash with the thinner skin and more surface area that gets the brunt of the hail damage.

Before I go further, I want to dispel a common myth we hear. We get folks looking for “cladding” all the time. The thought here is ‘since just the cladding is damaged, we’ll just replace the cladding.’ Gee, I can’t imagine where homeowners get the impression that their insurance company is trying to shortchange them.

I’ll make it simple: This can’t be done.

Yes, someone is going to read this that was a Pella service tech once upon a time and say Pella sold them replacement cladding. However, Pella did that for like 30 seconds and regretted it 29 seconds later!  They never did it again, and no other company, to my knowledge, has ever sold JUST replacement cladding. Here’s why;

  1. Supply chain. If the brand is still in business and the model of window is still in production, then, maybe. But in most cases, the biggest hurdle to this idea of just replacing cladding is getting the cladding in the first place.
  2. Sash construction. Depending on how the sash is constructed, the cladding may not even come off. You have two scenarios here.  One: you’re going to have so much labor in dismantling the sash and replacing the cladding that you’ll exceed the price of a whole new sash. Or two: you’ll damage or destroy the sash trying to get the cladding off. (And then have to replace the sash anyway.)
  3. Experience. I’ve built and repaired windows for 20 years, and I’m telling you this doesn’t work. I’ve also spent the last several years looking for window repair professionals across the country. The talent isn’t out there to pull this off.

Ah, but there’s got to be a better way, you say?! Yes, replace the whole sash!

We at Fenster Components design and build after-market replacement sashes for hail-damaged windows. Our sashes are your best solution for hail damage. I know you’re going to ask, “Why won’t you sell just the cladding?” Great question. Now you’re digging into why Fenster is so special.

What makes us the true innovator is in engineering.

See, when a brand goes out of business or discontinues a model, all of those components disappear with it. While there are very few patents on window design, the supply chain is controlled by the manufacturers. I’ve mentioned in other posts about how all windows are kinda built all the same, which is true to a point. Where you really get into the technical details is where one brand’s component is not interchangeable with another’s, although they look very similar. This is the genius of Fenster Components.

While we can’t get the original brand’s parts, we can get parts that look very similar and adapt the design to fit those components we now call our own. In summary, what I’m saying is, we can’t sell just cladding because the original cladding doesn’t exist. We can, however, build a new sash that looks just like the old one with our parts!

Back on my soapbox real quick to wrap this up: This movement of change in the industry has to start with the insurance companies. Right now, we’re an afterthought: A second opinion after some storm chaser has turned in a six-figure window bid. Once we bid, we’re a great idea to the insurance carrier, but the contractor has convinced the homeowner we’re a sham and that the insurance company is screwing them, and for no other purpose than not to lose his over-inflated replacement bid.

Trust the experts. Trust the experience of 20 years of innovation and ingenuity. After all, 20 years and 50,000+ sashes built and sold says we must be working for someone!

10 Reasons Why Casement Windows Are Better

Styles of windows are really about personal preference…if you even get the opportunity to make a choice. What I mean is, the windows in an existing house were probably selected based on the architecture or building trends in the region. For instance, a double-hung window is traditionally seen in colonial style homes, turn of the century construction and prairie style farmhouses. Awning or hopper windows are seen more in contemporary homes. Sliders or gliders (same difference) are seen almost exclusively in the western half of the country. My personal favorite, casements, are typically reserved for higher-end, luxury homes.

Yes, I think casement windows are the best choice for all homes, but probably not for the reasons you think. This reasons talked about below explain why I don’t like making double-hung windows and why I’d rather be making casement windows. Casement windows are definitely our biggest sellers, and here are a few reasons why.

1. Ease of Design

Casement sashes, for the most part, are all built the same way. Regardless of the brand, the design principles are generic. The reason why Fenster sashes are the same but, at the same time, different from the original is because of the available components.

In all of our re-designs, I started with the original template for the sash frame and adapted the original design to our proprietary cladding shapes. This results in an after-market casement sash that retains the same fit and function of the original but built using our own components.

2. Ease of Assembly

Double-hung windows are a pain to build; they have too many different parts. Casement windows have at most 2 different parts: the sides are the same and the top and bottom are the same. And some models are even easier because they have the same part all the way around.

I have re-designed the joinery in most of the models we produce to be stronger, seal better and make assembly more efficient.

3. Ease of Identification

Double-hung windows are tough because they all look similar. Double-hung windows typically don’t have the labels or badging you would find on casement windows. However, that’s not to say casement windows are always labeled. The difference is casement windows typically have specific design elements that we use to identify them.

It’s very common for a customer to give us numbers they see printed on or between the panes of glass as a model number. Rarely do these mean anything but glass production tags. 42095 is not a model number: It means that glass was made on April 20, 1995. We identify windows by appearance.  Exterior views, along with edge profiles, typically will show us everything we need to identify the model. That’s assuming, of course, it’s a model we’ve seen before!

4. Ease of Repair

I’m being a little selective here, but I want to make this point. I’m not saying double-hung windows can’t be repaired, but if I had to pick best selling products and their specific application, I would say an aluminum clad casement window is our biggest seller.

Most aluminum clad casement windows from the ’80s and ’90s were built using a wood sash with metal cladding over it and a solid metal frame unit in the wall. Well, conceivably the metal frame will never go bad. The sash, however, could have any number of failure issues. It makes far more sense to just replace the sash than tear out the whole frame that won’t ever go bad.

5. Daylight

Casement windows offer a larger daylight opening than double-hung windows. By their design, casement windows offer larger openings unobstructed by sash dividers that break up your view.

6. Efficiency

Casement windows, again, by their design, seal better than double-hung windows. Now I’m speaking from our perspective of the wood window industry of the last 40 years. The vinyl guys may want to argue this point, but I’m comparing wood casement windows to wood double-hung windows with compression jambliners.

Casement windows have a smoother operation and better locking mechanisms to draw the sash in tight for a better seal. Compression, tilt-in double-hung windows, by their design, can only seal so tight. Otherwise, they would be relatively in-operable and wouldn’t slide well.

7. Design

Casement windows offer a wider variety of size and configuration choices than double-hung windows. To recap the daylight point, double-hung windows are typically used for smaller openings.

To make matters worse, when a vinyl guy wants to stick a smaller window in an already small opening and call that “replaced,” well, now your window just got 30% even smaller. Casement windows are built for larger openings and can be configured with transoms, radius tops and special shapes for infinite design capabilities.

8. Style

This is really in that realm of personal preference, but I think casement windows just look better on a house for most of the previous reasons.

9. Failure Rate

Oaky, let’s take this thing is a different direction. I like casement windows because they fall apart more often. A casement sash sits proud of the frame subjecting it to a higher rate of failure due to weather or hail damage. Additionally, I see countless design flaws that actually contribute to the failure of the sash over time.

It’s almost like the window companies wanted the window to fail. Hum? The good news is, we fixed a lot of the issues that made the originals fail! I’ve built in countless design and joinery improvements to Fenster sashes to make them better than the original.

10. Price Point

It’s no secret casement windows are more expensive. It’s no secret casement windows are on fancy custom homes. It’s no secret casement windows are my favorite to sell! Let me make this point: This whole idea, this movement if you will, to promote sash replacement is a win-win for everyone…well almost everyone.

I don’t spend a second arguing with the guy that says he can get a window for a $100 bucks at Lowes. He sure can! Not the window that fits the house he’s working on, however. I am working to position Fenster Components to compete directly with “wood window” replacement companies to offer homeowners a different option. I bid on whole house projects regularly, whether it be for hail damage claims or efficiency upgrades.

Fenster is consistently a 50%-60% savings on a whole house sash replacement vs. a whole house tear out. It’s a no brainer.

Fenster replacement casement windows can save you tens of thousands of dollars, weeks of dirt and destruction, a general upheaval of your daily life and still solve practically any reason you have to tear out all of your windows.

If you want to talk about repairing or replacing your original wood windows, we want to help. Click here to read about all of our different product offerings or click here for hints & tips, as well as to contact us.

Top 5 Best Brands by Fenster

New for 2020, Fenster Components is consolidating our online retail catalog to bring a more interactive and user-friendly buying experience. Our newly updated website is due to roll out for the start of spring with easier-to-navigate pages,  info tabs, an FAQ chat option and how-to videos. In addition to these new website innovations, we are reducing our online catalog to our top 5 best selling brands to streamline our production, shorten lead times and remove the controversial three sash minimum order requirement.

Let’s take a minute to highlight the brands and models we will have available for 2020.

Caradco

Our best selling models to date, thank you, Jeld-Wen! As of 2018, JELD-WEN has ceased all production and supply of any Caradco branded windows, making Fenster Components your sole manufacturer of an after-market replacement sash. We are incredibly grateful for their customer referrals.

The original carclad/heritage I model, which we label as a CC-101, remains our top-selling casement model. Produced from roughly 1980-2000, both the painted wood and metal clad versions are available as a fully assembled replacement sash.

The carclad/heritage II model, which we call a CC-102, was a short run with a bit of overlap to the heritage I running roughly 1999-2005. The CC-102 is extremely similar to the CC-101 in sizing and appearance except for the frame thickness which is thinner. We are starting to see more requests for the latest model of Caradco produced by JELD-WEN: the traditional casement. This was produced from 2005-2011 until JELD-WEN officially retired the Caradco brand. Other Caradco models we have replicated are the older C-200 series casement and the Vista slider.

Norco

We have replicated three of the most popular casement models known to exist. A very popular model was the primed Siteline casement from the ’80s and early ’90s. Signature to the Norco Siteline was differently sized sides from the top and bottom with a plastic bead trim around the glass on the outside.

Overlapping the Siteline was the very popular cladded Norco Teton model. The Teton also had the exterior side plastic bead that directly contributed to the failure of the unit. The Fenster model, NC-200, has deleted the plastic bead and replaced it with a flat-faced 2″ wide cladding.

Similar to the Teton, but manufactured later, is the D-series, which was produced late into the 2000s before the brand was officially retired. Fenster supplies a replacement for either model with the same model NC-200. The only difference between the two Norco models is the original Teton had mitered corner joints while the D-series had square corner joints.

Pozzi

Fenster offers three popular Pozzi casement models from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. There are several versions sold at different price points that were produced by Pozzi over the years, which makes the identification process very difficult, along with some vagueness of model names. We’ve found the best way to simplify this is not be all things Pozzi. We stick to the three models we are confident in and identify them based on what we know.

Malta

Malta is another challenging brand to identify. Luckily, they’re easier to make than they are to identify.

Malta changed ownership several times throughout the ’90s and early 2000s until they finally closed in 2012. Several casement versions are known to exist, with the possibility of others yet to be identified. While it seems with every change of ownership came a redesign, what we have found is that many of the later models were manufactured similarly.

Fenster makes one model of cladded replacement sash that is known to fit two aluminum clad and two vinyl clad casement models from Malta. Of course, you can expect some differences in appearance across the four models when they are compared to Fenster’s single replacement model.

MW

Fenster addresses the MW complexity much like the Pozzi. There are several models, known and unknown, to exist over the four decades of window manufacturing that Fenster covers. And again, there is some confusion of how and what MW labeled their models.

We know about the existence of the Freedom clad 400, 600 and 800, but no one can seem to tell us the difference between each model. So again, we stick to what we know.

Our model MW-100 is a painted wood casement from the ’80s and ’90s, often referred to as the MW “dual”. It was a painted wood casement with a flat vinyl bead on the exterior around the glass, and it is very easy to identify by appearance. We’ve had good success with these working properly.

Our clad casement model MW-200 is an aluminum-clad model made to replace the very popular vinyl clad casement also from the ’80s and ’90s. This model also had an exterior side glass bead and is easy to identify using the specs and example photos in our catalog.

For more details on all of these models, click here to visit our website catalog.