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Your Choices for Replacing Window Glass

Glass is the most important decision when choosing new windows because replacing window glass can mean a significant improvement in energy efficiency at home. Glass panes also make up about 80-90% of the window itself, so it also has an effect on the architecture and aesthetic appeal.

There are several different types of window glass options available, and as with any window purchase, varying reasons for purchasing each type. American Exteriors takes a look at four basic options.

Single Pane

At some point you’ve likely seen an old historic home that has windows with one pane of glass in the frame. In fact, many people still live in homes with the original single pane windows, but because single panes are the least energy efficient type of window, they are rare and just about obsolete.  Single panes provide no insulation and literally suck energy dollars from the home.

Even in historic homes, it is possible to retain the aesthetic appearance of an older style window frame with newer, multi-paned professional grade windows.

Double Pane

Double pane windows are the most common type of window glass used today. The windows feature two panes of glass separated by air space, which provides insulation during warm and cold weather. Sometimes, in an effort to make them more energy efficient, non-toxic gases are infused in the space between the panes.

Double pane windows offer several advantages, including a price advantage, solid protection from outside sound and elements, and significantly more energy efficiency over single panes.

Triple Pane

Many companies now offer triple pane windows for the ultimate in energy efficiency.  The third pane of glass goes even further to provide additional thermal performance. Although better performance results in lower heating and cooling costs, the price of triple-pane windows can be prohibitive for newer homeowners, and the extra weight can mean different window hardware is required.

With revised energy efficiency ratings from the government that must be in place by 2015, manufacturers may increase the use of triple pane windows in an effort to increase energy efficiency even further.


One of the newest innovations in window glass is the development of self-cleaning windows.  Self-cleaning windows are glazed with a transparent coating of titanium dioxide, using UV rays to break down dirt particles. Sun-clean glass not only makes it easier than ever to keep windows looking their best, but the coating is also durable and won’t wear off, providing long lasting value.

The choices when replacing window glass affect home energy efficiency, appearance, and ease of use and maintenance. For more information on replacement windows, join the conversation with American Exteriors on Facebook.