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From teaching to manufacturing - a beginners guide to reading window and door quotes

Before working at Aluminium Plus I had no idea how to read a window and door quote. Being an teacher meant that I had NO idea how to read a quote from my own company - even though I technically owned half of the company (my husband owning the other half), I didn't actually know how to read a quote. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dumb... as a primary school science teacher I could teach 30 kids at a time about how gravity works with a chaotic science experiment, but reading quotes for products from Aluminium Plus was something I didn't know how to do.

Once I stepped away from teaching and came to work for Aluminium Plus full time it was a bit of a learning curve, but I have truly enjoyed the new challenges it brings. I thought I'd share some of the things I have learned about sliding window and patio door quotes.

Measurements are taken as HEIGHT x WIDTH

Before working at Aluminium Plus I thought that taking measurements for a window or door was like playing a game of Battleship or reading an axis I used to teach the 8 year olds at school - X axis (width) is read first, Y axis (height) is read second.

Since working at Aluminium Plus though I've learned that the

industry standard is to read the height first, then the width.

I even had to write myself a little cheat sheet that I keep next to my computer just to remind me.

This is particularly important because when customers come in with measurements or they give measurement over the phone quite often the measurements will look like this:


Without double checking if 1200 is the height or the width, the window may accidentally have the measurements the wrong way around and be built with the wrong configuration.

Measurements are taken in Millimetres

It may seem simple enough for anyone who is in the building industry but as a primary school teacher who used to teach children how to measure by using their 30cm ruler, this was something I needed to get used to.

We're not in primary school anymore!

Now that I've had a bit of practice using mm to measure is second nature, but of course not all clients know this. When you've got a fast talking person on the phone whose demanding a price of a window that's 96x72 and your mind is trying to absorb the information and do the mental gymnastics to try and listen to what they want and think about what metric system it's trying to use... what can I say, it's enough to make your eye twitch! Also, for any future clients, never measure in inches either. That will get you nowhere.

Sliding direction are taken from the OUTSIDE/EXTERIOR of the home

Before working at Aluminium Plus I always assumed that a window or door's sliding direction would be taken from the inside of the home, because that's where you'd actually be using it. Functionality of your window or door is all viewed from the interior - what view you'd have when your window or door is open, what furniture is in the room, what the space will look like... all need to be thought about the inside space.

Since working here though I've learned that a sliding direction is taken from the outside of the home. This is the window and door industry standard.

Assuming that it is viewed from the inside is generally a very bad assumption. Unless you want to buy windows or patio doors that are all backwards, it's really important to verify that sliding direction is in-fact taken from the exterior of the home.

What do the X's and O's mean?!

When receiving their quotes some people may see an O or an X after the measurements of either their sliding window or door. Before working at Aluminium Plus I used to think that the X meant that this was the fixed panel. My thinking behind this theory was that I thought the X looked like a cross, meaning that this was the panel that didn't move. Unfortunately I was wrong again!

X = Sliding glass panel O = Fixed glass panel

This is the industry standard writing which is the sliding and which is the fixed panel.

Once again - this is taken from the exterior/outside view of the window.

If the window on the inside slides from right to left, from the outside it slides left to right - making the window an XO.

I agree it’s confusing! I CONSTANTLY gets my rights and lefts, so much so that I have a R tattooed on my right hand and an L tattooed on my left. To then have to think about inside vs outside views and switching the directions has definitely done my head in more than once... but of course if it's not triple checked and is done incorrectly I'd be responsible for everybody's windows or patio doors being manufactured backwards.

*Pic of hands just to prove I wasn't lying about the L and R tattoos... not that they've really helped me out much!

Some other codes I've learned to use while quoting

OX - sliding right to left (from the outside)

XO - sliding left to right (from the outside)

XOX - sliding, fixed, sliding

OXX - fixed, sliding, sliding (for stacker door)

O - fixed window

V - awning window

/ - if a glass panel is on top or on the bottom of something else


O/V - fixed panel on top of an awning window

XOX/OOO - sliding fixed sliding over fixed fixed fixed

I hope this helps!

Mel Spehr


Aluminium Plus

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