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What are Sliding Windows?

Sometimes, windows are styled to be a main feature of the home. There are some designs that stand out and become a big part of the overall style of the house itself. But then there are windows that remain simple and elegant so that what shines is all the sunlight coming into your home. Slider windows allow the design of your home to shine on its own.

What is a Sliding Window, Anyway?

Sliding windows, also known as slider windows, are basically double-hung windows turned on their side instead of standing straight up and down. Slider windows can be opened on either the right or the left. In standard styles, these windows are wide and rectangular in shape, with a center bar running between the two sides. This creates a big view of the world outside and lets in a lot of light. It’s a very simple design with straight, clean lines. Many homeowners like the simple elegance of the design.

Looks and affordability are the main reasons people choose slider windows for their home. They’re a perfect choice if you want to catch a lot of sunlight and keep your home bright inside. These windows are also easy to open and close so it’s very easy to ventilate interior spaces with these windows.

The design of these windows isn’t necessarily more or less energy efficient than other types of windows. You can always opt for energy efficiency options when you have sliding windows installed, however. If you pay a little more to get double glazing and high-quality glass, you will increase the energy efficiency of your windows. However, any type of window you choose can be upgraded in the same way to increase energy efficiency.

History of the Slider Window

The sliding window dates to the 1700s. These windows were invented in Holland. They were originally composed of two interlocking wooden frames that could slide open. The basic design hasn’t changed much in modern times, except for the addition of low-friction rollers. This creates a gliding window motion that’s extremely easy to operate.

In the UK, slider windows are called Yorkshire sash windows. Sliding windows are also called horizontal sliding sash windows in other parts of the world. They’re known as gliding windows or glider windows in the U.S.

Sliding windows have been paired with all sorts of different architectural styles. These windows are especially common in kitchens because they provide such easy ventilation. You’ll also see them often in basement window designs. The rectangular shape of sliding windows makes them perfect for this part of the house. You can use sliding windows in some rooms of the house or get them all over the house to create a cohesive look.

How to Open a Sliding Window

A woman opening up a sliding windows with glass panels.

Depending on the design you choose, your sliding window may have one moveable pane of glass with one fixed pane or two moveable panes. Some designs are made with three panes: a fixed middle pane of glass and two sliding side panes.

Sliding windows are designed to glide, so you can literally open them with the touch of a finger. They are made to have locks on them and sometimes they are designed to have double locks. This allows you to lock the window in place even when it’s open.

Installation and Repair

Sliding windows are not hard to replace or repair compared to other types of windows. If you like to DIY, you can probably replace these windows yourself without a lot of trouble. All you need is a few basic tools to install these windows. Slider windows are also very affordable, so buying a replacement window is possible.

If you do hire a professional, they can get the job done relatively quickly in most cases. A standard basement slider window can be installed for $10 to $30 on average. Regular slider windows will cost $50 to $250 per window installed. The windows themselves range in price for standard sizes from $50 to $500, on average.

There aren’t a lot of parts to a sliding window. The rollers and tracks can be replaced if needed, which is a fairly straightforward repair you can do on your own. You can also remove the rollers to clean them and replace them, which can solve problems like sticking windows. The mechanics are simple enough for even a casual DIYer to perform some repairs on sliding windows.

Many people ask if sliding windows can be installed upside-down or reversed. Since the design is so simple, sliding windows can possibly be installed upside-down but it’s always best to use them the way they’re designed.

If you want sliding windows that are vertical instead of horizontal, just go with standard double-hung windows. These windows function just like sliding windows that are oriented vertically, with an upper and lower sash, instead of horizontally. Double-hung windows are one of the more common types of windows. Sliding windows are basically the same thing, just pointing in a different direction.

Living with Slider Windows

A set of sliding windows opening up to the garden.

There’s a big advantage to choosing slider windows for your home: they give you almost unlimited design options. Sliding windows are available in any frame material available, including vinyl, wood, aluminum, and other metals. They are available in any color and just about any size you might want.

Sliding windows let in a lot of natural light and you have a ton of design options, but there is one big disadvantage to this style of the window: cleaning the glass. You will have to go outside to clean the outside glass of the window, which may involve getting up on a ladder and going through a whole procedure. It’s also difficult to clean the middle part of sliding windows and it’s not so easy to clean the sliding rails, either.

You also need to lubricate the sliding rails every so often. It’s a good idea to do this about once a year.

Sliding windows are affordable, easy to repair and they let in a lot of light. You may decide that they’re the perfect choice for your home.