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Frames, Holdin’ It All Together

Frames are the piece of window hardware that hold it all together. They are important to both the strength and energy efficiency of the window. Historically, window frames have been made of wood or aluminum. More recent innovations include vinyl, fiberglass, and composite frames. See the Window Frames section of our CalFinder Home Remodeling Library for detailed information on each type of frame.

In window construction, the frame borders and holds the window glass in place. The linear parts of the frame that commonly run horizontally and vertically across the window glass to create the grid patterns are called muntins. These muntins are usually affixed to a larger glass pane, which is held in place solely by the frame edges, making them essentially an aesthetic feature. In vintage windows, however, they may actually hold and brace several small panes, which in turn comprise the entire window.

The window frame is also equipped with a nailing flange that allows the window to be attached to the exterior wall of the home. In older, typically wooden window frames there may be stops, or small pieces of trim or molding that are affixed to the wall framing, which the window frame then butts against to prevent it falling in or out of the opening.

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