It’s a perfect case of mistaken identity when you look at this new window with updated grids. It may look like a traditional double hung window, but look again. This window has a single crank at the bottom and can be fully opened. Now there is an ideal alternative to the colonial double hung replacement window. The dress up disguise is known to the fashionable window connoisseur as a “faux meeting rail”.
So many homeowners think that a double hung window has to be replaced with a double hung.
That’s where today’s windows offer you options and alternatives that are better for you and still maintain the architectural integrity of your home. The faux meeting rails for replacement windows are just another option you have in choosing just the right look for your home windows.
When is a Double Hung better as a Picture Window?
A stationary window has no operating parts. And in some areas of your home you don’t need the window to move up and down. With a picture window or casement you can save money and get a higher pressure rating on the window. With a powerful Northeast storm the wind and rain can play havoc on the windows on one side of your house. You can look for a window with a higher pressure rating in the most vulnerable points of contact.
The pressure rating is known as Design Pressure or DP rating. According to the North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Skylights, “it describes a product’s ability to withstand uniform loads caused by either wind, or in the case of skylights, snow” and is limited strictly to structural loading performance.
Structural wind load determines the amount of wind pressure a window can withstand without breaking, distorting or losing its glaze. The higher the number, the better the resistance. A window with a DP rating of 40 can maintain its structural integrity for 10 seconds with wind speeds up to 155 miles per hour. Windows with a DP rating of 50 have been tested up to 173 miles per hour.
Level 1: 74-95 mph
Level 2: 96-110 mph
Level 3: 111-130 mph
Level 4: 131-155 mph
Level 5: 156+ mph
Windows with a rating of 40 can make it through a level 4 hurricane, while windows with a DP rating of 50 can most likely survive a level 5 hurricane. Read more about DP ratings and Performance Grade.
Does the DP rating really make a difference?
With picture windows, also known as fixed windows, you get the highest DP rating because the window does not open. Casement windows have the next highest rating because the sash is on the outside where wind and rain can beat against it and the window still opens and closes with an interior crank. Hard winds push the window firmly against its frame so water and air leakage are unlikely.
Double hung windows have the lowest DP rating of the three window styles because high winds can push water around the window tracks and inside the meeting rails between the two sashes. There are more points of entry on the double hung, therefore it has a lower rating.
Homes built alongside water or in areas where they are subject to intense elements of wind and water, like open areas that provide little natural or man made protection, are the homes most concerned with DP ratings. Homes within an inland neighborhood, with natural barriers and man made ones like other homes and buildings, are less concerned with the DP rating, so whether it makes a difference depends on where your home is located.
Get the traditional design and the highest rating
While fixed and casement windows rate high for wind and rain protection, they may not always be the best design choice for a home. Take a traditional cottage home for example. The clean lines of casement windows are often too contemporary for cottage style homes, so the faux meeting rail is a better option as it provides the protection of a higher DP rated casement window and the look of a double hung. Additionally, picture windows with faux meeting rails blend in well alongside double hungs, so if a fixed window is needed, homeowners won’t lose the uniformity of the design.
Faux meeting rails are really a neat option for homeowners considering replacement windows who want the function of casement windows with the look of double hungs. Depending on your manufacturer, they may be a special order option, as with Renewal by Andersen windows. If you don’t see them offered as an option, be sure to ask your window design consultant.