An Intro to Window Grilles

 - by rosannewang

In the renovation and construction industry, windows are a popular request. There are endless ways to customize a window, from frames to the type of glass used; the possibilities are countless. One extremely welcomed route is adding window grills to your windows for an element of design and a touch of creativity.


window grilles pictureWhat are window grilles? What is the definition of a “grille”? A grille is most commonly known as a distinctive styling component that is often used to add character to a structure. At the same time, they protect the window and structure in many ways. Since the beginning of exterior home décor, designers have been searching for ways to incorporate creative elements with the architectural frame of the home. Window grills can be used for jail cells, ensuring that the prisoner is unable to climb through and escape. At the same time, grills made with the same material can be combined with the exterior appearance of the building, enhancing the aesthetic aspect.

The most condensed grill-work, otherwise known as “yetts”, is predominantly found in Scotland, where castles and buildings sustaining power used it as a defence mechanism. The earliest use of yetts (or grills embroidered on buildings) dates back to the 14th century. The first known use of grilles appears in 1377 in the Edinburgh Castle, where they were referred to as a “fabricated iron gate” and was mainly used for security reasons for David’s Tower. This tower is known for the first ever yett to appear in a structural sense, but other yetts were also emerging around roughly the same time. According to the Exchequer Rolls, Craigsmillar, a construction similar to the Edinburgh Castle, was built in 1374 and had invested in the idea of yetts as well. Doune Castle is another adequate example; the original double-leaf yett is present to this day. By the 15th century, “grilles” had become a regularly added feature within Scottish towers and castles.

The yett was a more popular choice in comparison to the portcullis, which involved more cumbersome and less practical components. In addition, the yett was cheaper and more efficient to attach. Some castles had the time and patience to install a combination of both forms of protection, giving the structure a unique and refreshing look. The Doune Castle in the 14th century is a superb example. Its gateway had a portcullis in the middle supplemented by a yett, and a second yett at the far bailey of the passage. The yetts contained two leaves, with a wicket gate as a part of an insertion within one of those leaves. In usual cases, the yett would be placed behind a wooden door, providing additional security and preservation for the castle, in case the outer door be harmed or burned.

The widespread of yett-usage (or grilles in this case) began in the early 1500′s. The preserved and national incorporation of grilles soon became well-known in all of Europe, and gradually throughout the world.

Presently, yetts can be found in the corners of every nation. And the purpose for these helpers have not altered very drastically. They are often used for reasons that are similar in history–security with a hint of decorative fusion. People love the feel character and style in the exterior portion of their homes.



Traditionally in Europe, as previously mentioned, yetts are made to protect and bring ease to a particular establishment or household. In order to ensure that factor, our ancestors charmingly made the yetts using a “through and through” construction, which used both horizontal and vertical bars, providing incredible sturdiness and protection. There were two ways of integrating this “through and through” technique; one of them suggesting the one used in a handful of places in Europe at the time: the historic Scottish technique, which used a weaving technique that involved an alternative, interchanging, method that was almost impossible to dismantle. The other way was found on iron-grated doors in England, and was constructed in a slightly different manner. For the English style gate, the vertical bars simply all passed in front of the horizontal ones. They then proceeded to fix them in place, and the spaces were infilled with oak, making the gate absolutely solid and unmovable. Which technique would you have used?



In today’s society, we have upgraded the old “oak technique” to secure the grilles in place. Today, many residents view window grilles as their safe keepers and guardians, which is utterly understandable. Grilles have been universally known for their secured installations with safety companies to disable all chances of a thief or a burglar, with the benefit that they prevent the occurrences of accidents as well. Why would anyone turn down a chance to purchase grilles for their cozy and comfortable home?

Evidently, we no longer live in the 15th century, and most of us do not own large estates with sublime security systems. News reports of burglaries and thefts are countless these days, and window grilles may provide you with the much delayed longing and need to feel safe and worry less in your home. Why would you carry on your life feeling on-edge and anxious? Personally, feeling afraid in your own home sounds terribly ironic and hugely unnecessary.

Window grilles create aesthetic pleasure and ease added to a home, enhancing the beauty of the exterior impression. What are some materials that modern constructors use to build these helpful warriors? There are many designs used to furnish window grilles, and they consist of steel, aluminum or iron. Again, this ties in with the sturdiness and security factor. Metal is very difficult to break and destroy; it is also an alternative that requires minimum cost and fitting.

As much as people tend to believe that steel is a very dull, unattractive, rough and easy to rust material, it surprisingly proves to be a decent and trustworthy option. Considering its toughness and strength, these window grilles are fairly unbreakable.  With proper conditioning, we assure you that steel window grilles will not rust while providing exquisite architecture to the window structure. However, steel is a rather costly suggestion compared to other materials on the market.

Aluminum window grilles are often classified as the lightest type of grilles. They have low density, which provides easy movement, and aluminum is a combination of a light-weight metal and a heavy weight metal. Does this frighten you? Do not fret! Less weight, in case, means less pressure applied to the window structure when the grilles are attached. A small downside is the fact that aluminum grilles might not work ideally on concrete, but perform fantastically on houses that are partially made of wood.

Iron is known for its stability and power. It is perhaps the most powerful type of grilles than any other. In addition, this material eliminates all flimsiness and creates a strong and enforced weight to your home. If you are concerned with its grotesque outer appearance, search for professional companies with experience that can improve its outfit and shape the material into a fitting piece that comfortably mends with your windows. Another factor to consider is the ease at which the iron will rust. If the area is immensely moist and humid, the iron tends to rust rapidly. The cost also can increase considering most of it may come from the repairing and repainting, instead of other options where only an initial price is paid for installation.

Prior to any heated decisions, make sure that you know an adequate amount of details about companies. The offers of the companies may vary drastically, so keep your eyes peeled and heart calm.



Décor plays a massive role in adding unique features to any type of architecture, and window grilles are no exception. Many designers lean towards flower-like embroideries around the window, using typical material such as iron or steel. This is a very affordable and marvelous way to ensure that your home emanates a feel of creativity and style, in your own, personal fashion. Popular colours to consider include burgundy red, black, dark brown, white, gold, and a soft merge of different colours. Wish to portray as much positive singularity as possible? Not a problem. Fabricate the simplest of design bases, and deliver them to your construction company, who would be more than happy to help you in taking your blueprints to transform them into actuality.

Not only are grilles ideal decorative components, they provide exceptional support systems as well. Many grilles have been designed and furnished to specifically provide a base for ornamentation factors, like flower pots, for example, along the windowsill. It is fairly simple to combine both parts, if you have the right knowledge of the size of the pot, and the technical limits of the grille design. It is essential to pick the right grille with a suitable curvature to fit with the pots. Make sure that the pots will not fall out of the grille, since the entire purpose of the grille would be defeated. Consult a professional for more expert suggestions best suited for your home.

Hopefully this article has aided you in understanding a bit more of window grilles and its origin. Thanks for reading!

Rosanne Wang, Exterior Designer, Toronto