Sliding windows are a type of window that opens horizontally. You move one section of the window to the left or the right and you have an exposed opening. Think of them as sash windows set on the side. You get the same opening size, but it’s horizontal. The sections slide through built-in tracks designed for smooth operation and simplicity.
When you live in a home with short walls, sash or casement windows can take up most of the space. This isn’t always aesthetically pleasing and can make the room seem short. Sliding windows are often used in manufactured homes for this reason because they make the room seem taller than it is. The windows take up more of the wall horizontally, but they don’t extend down very far on the wall. You get a seemingly taller room overall with the same sized openings that you would have had.
Casement windows tend to take up most of the wall that they’re mounted on. This means that your couch, your TV stand and all your other furniture shows through the windows if you position it in front of them. Horizontal sliding windows are wider, but shorter, and are often mounted higher so your furniture can sit under or in line in line with the windows. You can put your couch, table, and anything else exactly where you want it without worrying about the windows.
Sliding windows rely on simple mechanics to open and close, making them easier to operate and less likely to break.
Maintaining the windows is as simple as lubricating the slides once and awhile and vacuuming the dirt out before it can accumulate too much.
Since sliding windows are so simple in design they tend to outlast other types of windows. They don’t break often and they don’t suffer from most of the common issues that you’ll see in other windows. Worn out hardware isn’t common.
Casement and awning windows can be a real problem to use around walkways and paths around your home because they open outward. They can create a potential hazard for the people walking around outside your home. Sliding windows don’t present this problem because the panes simply move from one side to the other and maintain that flat footprint that you’re used to.
Some sliding windows have only one section that’s movable, while other windows come with both sections that can be moved. The windows with two movable sections are more flexible because you can open either side of the window, or in some instances both sides of the window partially for improved ventilation.
Sliding windows are available in all the standard window frames and come with the insulation treatments of most standard windows. That means you can obtain them with single, double, triple or even quadruple panes of glass, though the thicker windows are more difficult to slide back and forth. Horizontally sliding windows can also be obtained with low-E treatments and gas fillers for enhanced performance depending on your climate.
Sliding windows in general are more difficult to weatherproof than casement or awning windows. This is because you have to seal around the slides themselves which can interfere with the function of the windows if not done properly. Hinged windows tend to be more energy efficient than sash or sliding windows because they close tight against the frame when not in use forming a solid air-resistant barrier.
If you have short walls, or you simply want your home to be easy to decorate without worrying about furniture being in front of your windows horizontally sliding windows can be a good option to choose. They function simply, but they are a bit more difficult to weatherproof, which should be a serious consideration for anyone in a cold environment.