Window Hardware: Keeping your windows functional
Keeping your windows functional
Are windows all about wood, metal and glass? Well, these certainly make up almost the entire visible area of a building’s fenestration, but there are a few other elements that are critical to the functioning of any door or window. Grouped under the term ‘hardware’, these small but significant components require some attention on your part from time to time. The following overview of window hardware should get you started on the right track.
What qualifies for window hardware?
Every bit of gear that allows a door or window to be opened, shut, locked, or simply stay put, will qualify for hardware. These parts essentially allow a door or window to be used as it was designed to be. Broadly, window and door hardware include hinges, handles, locks, latches, stays, stoppers, and so on. Each of these sub-categories contains a variety of hardware types that you can choose from based on the purpose it’ll serve.
An identifying mark of sorts for a casement window, a hinge helps the window shutter swing with respect to the frame. Hinges have been majorly explored through the centuries as a design element. As such, you can find everything from decorative antique brass hinges, to modern stainless steel concealed hinges, to everything in between. Hinges are also demarcated based on the size of the casement window, its material, and the angle through which it is supposed to swing.
Handles or lifts are the appendages that allow you to pull, push or slide a window open or shut. Sash windows are operated by means of lifts at the bottom of the window. Historically, they have also been opened and closed via pulley and cord mechanisms. For casement windows, the options are unlimited, and can take on a plethora of ergonomic or decorative shapes. They can also be combined with the functionality of a fastener, such as in the case of wedge fasteners.
Latches and fasteners
Casement window locks most commonly belong to the mortise style, wherein a chamfered metal piece fits into a groove cut in the window frame, or into a separate hook attachment. These windows can also be fastened by means of bolts or ring handles. Sash windows have to be fastened in the vertical direction, and as such, are usually fitted with quadrant arm fasteners that swing into place under a hook, or unsprung fasteners wherein a threaded metal is rotated into position and tightened by means of a nut.
Stays and stops
A variety of window and door hardware is dedicated to holding them in the partly open position. Casement stays for instance use pre-drilled bars to allow you to adjust the window in a position of your choice. Sash stops can take the shape of tension springs, vintage bead adjustors or spring bolts. Modern sash windows often have jambs with inbuilt stops.
Looking after your window hardware
Climatic factors and general wear and tear will take a toll on all window parts. As such, they will need a little maintenance from time to time. Good practices include cleaning all exposed window or door hardware, restoring any damaged or weathered finishes, inspecting hinges and locks for lubrication, and replacing any damaged parts. While replacing old window parts, care should be taken to not damage the body of the window in the process. For aesthetic reasons, matching the finish of the newly installed hardware to its older counterparts is also an important requirement. All window parts replacement scenarios will have varying requirements and priorities. As such, it is often advisable to consult a professional before going ahead with your specific window hardware repair or replacement project.