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What are Sliding Windows?

Expert Overview

  1. Sliding windows open horizontally by sliding along the top and bottom of the window track.
  2. Sliding windows provide beautiful, unobstructed views of your surroundings.
  3. Sliding windows are easy to operate and work well in areas where the window is not as easily accessible or space is limited.

A sliding window is one of the most common window styles available today and works well in many homes. Understanding what exactly a sliding window is, how it operates, and the pros and cons can help you choose if this window style is a good fit for your home.

What is a "Sliding Window"?

A sliding window is a window that opens by sliding horizontally along a top and bottom track in the window frame. It is somewhat similar to a double-hung window, just turned on its side. Sliding windows are available in a few different configurations to choose from, based on what would be best for your home.

A two panel or two-lite sliding window has one fixed panel of glass, and the other side is a operable sash that slides either left or right to open.

A three panel or three-lite sliding window has three panels of glass within one window frame. The middle panel is usually fixed, while both outer sashes move left or right to open the window.

Sliding windows are almost always wider than they are taller, making them a good option for areas where you have a wide window opening. Sliding windows provide more of an unobstructed view of your surroundings, making them a great choice for homes that have expansive landscapes.

Sliding windows are also easy to operate, because they can easily be opened with just the push of a finger. This means they are also a good choice for areas where the window is not as easily accessible or where space may be limited.

How do sliding windows work?

To operate a sliding window, simply unlock the window, and push the window sash(es) to either the left or the right in the window track. Push the sash(es) back to their starting positions to close the window.

To clean a sliding window, you must remove the sash from the frame to clean both sides. A sliding window is not as easy to clean as other styles that tilt in, however, removing sliding window sashes can be done with little difficulty.

Pros and cons of sliding windows


  • Easy to operate. Opening and closing a sliding window is very simple, making it easy to open your home to ventilation and enjoy nice weather and fresh air.
  • Low maintenance. Sliding windows are often built with fewer parts than other conventional window styles, making them low maintenance.
  • Durability. Sliding windows do not use pulleys or springs which can wear over time and affect the operation of the window.
  • Unobstructed views. Sliding windows provide plenty of natural light and expansive views of your surroundings.


  • Cleaning. You must remove the sashes to clean the outside, unlike other window styles that tilt in for easy cleaning.
  • Half opening. Not all sashes on a sliding window can be opened, unlike double-hung or casement windows.
  • Water in sill. Water can sometimes pool in the sill of a sliding window, which can lead to future problems. Be sure to purchase sliding windows that have proper drainage holes to prevent this problem.

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