Glazing bars, astragals, muntin bars, false muntins, mullions, grilles, and just plain muntins. These are all names you might hear in reference to the thin strip of wood, metal or vinyl separating and supporting the separate panes of glass in a window.
Historically, muntins became popular in the 19th century because it was easier and cheaper to manufacture small panes of glass. So muntins were invented to construct larger windows. In modern days, that is no longer a problem, although muntins are still used quite often to create a more traditional and historic appeal.
In many cases, it's actually more economical to produce large panes of plate glass and then put "false" muntins on the outside of the glass or sandwiched between two panes (double-glazed). This creates that signature gridded look.
Manufacturing small panes of glass and traditional wood muntins for new wood windows certainly increases the price of the window. Still, the insertion of vinyl (PVC) windows to the market has made grid windows more affordable for the average home. A large number of window manufacturers will offer windows with muntin hardware.
Muntins can also be bought aftermarket and added to windows, although window brand and size may be a factor. You can even find muntins that snap into place for easy removal and cleaning.
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