When Choosing Simulated Divided Lites or Grilles

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for Direct from the Designers

Windows give you a lot to think about. Not only do you have different types to consider, but there are also a variety of material, glazing, and insulating gas options. Once you get beyond the basics of their construction, you can start thinking about aesthetic finishes for your windows. Whether or not they have divided lites—and what those lite grille patterns look like—will have a huge effect on the overall impression windows give your home. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right ones!

Divided lites are associated with traditional homes because they were necessary back in the day. When it wasn’t possible to craft a single piece of clear glass large enough for a window, craftsmen had to put windows together with multiple small pieces of glass and grids of wood to hold them in place. As you can imagine, older homes had more smaller lites and fewer larger lites became popular as glass manufacturing improved. Now, divided lites are often purely decorative—they’re employed to add architectural appeal, but the windows actually have large panes with grilles applied to mimic the look. This is a much more efficient solution because it reduces the number of seals around the edges of the glass, and it’s also more cost effective, too! If you’re interested in outfitting your home with stylish windows with divided lites, here are the main types available today.

Pella Lifestyle Series Wood Casement Windows

Pella® Lifestyle Series Wood Casement and Double-Hung Windows let you choose between simulated divided lites (SDLs) with or without spacer bars. The grilles can also be permanently fixed to the glass or the inside grid can be removable for cleaning, so make sure to discuss the options with the pros if you have specific preferences.

Simulated Divided LitesSimulated Divided Lites

Rather than grilles that hold multiple panes in place, simulated divided lites apply grilles over a continuous piece of glass. The grilles are typically permanently bonded to both sides, so you don’t have to worry about them falling off, but they aren’t always. Some manufacturers have removable options to simplify window cleaning, allowing you to wipe the entire surface rather than each lite one at a time.

Modern dual-pane windows have a gap for insulating gases, and that means simulated divided lites leave a visible gap between the interior and exterior, if you look closely. Most people wouldn’t even notice, but it is a consideration if you’re going for traditional accuracy. If you opt for triple-pane windows, the gap would be even greater—expect a grille affixed only to the exterior in this case, and another installed between the panes to be seen from inside. In any case, these simulated divided lites will leave an impression from both sides!

Pella Reserve Traditional Wood Double Hung Windows

Want an authentic lite look? These Pella® Reserve™ Traditional Wood Double-Hung Windows have Integral Light Technology® (ILT) grilles to create the appearance of individual window panes. In addition to the muntins on both sides, there are non-glare foam spacers between the glass that cast realistic shadows as though each lite were truly separate from the rest.

Simulated Divided Lites with Spacers Simulated Divided Lites with Spacers

Ideal for renovating historical homes and building new construction with the appeal of old-fashioned craftsmanship, simulated divided lites with spacers create the most authentic look. True divided lites slot pieces of glass in wood grids that have exposure on both sides—to the interior and exterior of the house—so you can clearly see the solid divide between the individual panes. Considering how tedious and inefficient individual panes are by modern standards, window manufacturers came up with an alternative.

In addition to the interior and exterior simulated divided lite grilles, these windows create the look of depth by shadowing the grilles with a spacer bar in-between the panes. That takes care of the gap you can see with regular simulated divided lites!

Pella Lifestyle Series Wood Picture Windows

Looking for striking grilles for a transitional design? Modern Tudor-style Pella® Lifestyle Series Wood Picture Windows with black grilles between the glass add tons of definition inside and out. The grilles are permanently sealed in the glass—that means completely flat surfaces inside and out for easy cleaning!

Grilles Between the GlassGrilles Between the Glass

If you’re more interested in the general vibe of divided lites and not too hung up on recreating the genuine appearance, grilles between the glass will do the job. These grids are permanently sealed between the panes to give you the lite pattern of your choice with smooth glass surfaces on both sides. These windows are easy to clean, of course, and are also perfectly suited for updated traditional and transitional homes—they provide visual interest in a sleeker package that aligns with modern aesthetics!

Whatever sort of divided lites you have in mind for your windows, check out the options available from Pella®! They offer all major window types in vinyl, fiberglass, and wood, and you can finish them with a wide variety of grille patterns—including your own custom pattern, if you want something unique to match niche architecture. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your needs!

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