What Are Divided Window Lites?

For the past few years, homeowners across North Texas have installed windows without divided window lites. The lack of window lites, grids, or grilles has gained popularity as window sizes have ballooned and taken up more of the surface area of your home’s exterior. If you ask yourself, “what are divided window lites?” you’re in the right place. We will dive into what they are, who’s selecting them, how much they impact the cost of your replacement window job, and more.

At Window Depot of Dallas, we mainly install vinyl replacement windows for North Texas homeowners. While most clients opt to install new windows without any divided window lites, some opt for window grids.


What are divided window lites?

Back when windows were made from a single pane of glass, metal caning was used to create decorative window patterns. Individual pieces of glass would be cut and fused into an opening to achieve a grid, diamond, or other decorative window patterns. These particular pieces of glass were called lites and, as a whole, were called divided window lites. You can select window lites for any window type from bay or bow to casement-style windows.

window lite patterns


Types of divided window lites

As technology progressed, so did the choice of divided lites in windows.

  • True divided lites refer to a modern window comprising individual glass units secured within a window frame. Divided lites are the most expensive type of window lite because they require individual pieces of glass to be cut and installed into the window frame. The upside to this window lite style is that you can replace a broken piece of glass without replacing the entire window. One downside is the upkeep and maintenance required to keep these windows clean.
  • Internal divided lites are popular today because they sit inside an energy-efficient piece of glass. Internal grids deliver a divided lite look without the expense or maintenance nightmare. Because the lites are internal, you can easily clean the window but must replace the entire sash if the glass breaks. Internal grids are often referred to as blinds between the glass or BBG. These grids are less defined than external grids because they need to be narrow enough to fit between the glass. Also, you’ll lose the outer contour and shading you get with authentic divided lites, if you opt for internal window lites.
  • Simulated divided lites mimic the look of true divided lites, but they don’t have material between the glass. In most cases, the internal and external grids are glued to the window frame. This application is less expensive than true divided lites but more than internal lites.


Are there different names for divided window lites?

Absolutely. The most common alternatives are:

  • Grids
  • Grilles
  • Muttons
  • Bars

Do all window manufacturers offer window lites?

Most window manufacturers offer a version of window lites. Some may offer the full spectrum of simulated divided lites, true divided lites, blinds between the glass, or even an exterior-only option. Some brands call them grilles while others call them grids. We recommend asking your Window Depot rep about the available lite options for your replacement windows.


Are window lites available in colors?

grid profiles

Depending on the window manufacturer, you may be able to have the grids match your paint selections. If you choose a bronze or black exterior frame with a white interior, double-check with your local window replacement company to ensure your grids will also be two-toned.

Your finish options may differ for true divided lites, simulated divided lites, and blinds between the glass.

What do you call a window with no lites or grids?

We refer to windows without structural grids, one lite or no lite. It may seem counterintuitive, but one lite refers to only one pane of glass, which can only happen without a grid. No-lite might be used to confer the lack of grids.

How much are divided window lites?

Decorative window grids can add between $50 – $100 + to each window. The price depends on the type, design, profile, and finish. Single-color internal grids are usually the least expensive, while decorative true divided lites in two colors are the most costly.

simulated divided lite


Where can you buy window lites or grids?

For windows without grids, you can buy aftermarket options or add them yourself. For additional resources, check out these popular links:

In closing

Though divided window lites offer a certain charm and nostalgia to home windows, the recent trend is to remove all divided lites to have an unobstructed view out of the windows. This minimalist approach can provide a sense of peace and serenity in the home. If you’re considering removing the divided lites from your home windows, we would love to help you choose the right windows for your specific needs. Live in DFW? We specialize in helping homeowners just like you find the perfect solution for their homes. Call us at 214-399-9592 to talk windows.