A house that lacks ample sunlight or interesting features can seem a little plain and suffocating. If you and your family have been feeling a little sunshine-deprived or out of touch with the outdoors, there may be a solution. Bay windows are a configuration of three double-hung or casement windows that protrude from a structure, creating a little niche or nook that expands your view of the outdoors and adds more space to the interior. The feature is composed of a large center window and two smaller side windows that are all framed together. The windows jut out from the wall, giving a dynamic feel to the architecture.
Bay Window Types
There are two main types of bay windows: box and angled. Box-style bay windows protrude at a 90 degree angle, creating a boxy look. Angled bay windows usually stick out at 30 to 45 degree slant from the wall, and are a common feature of Victorian homes. If you choose the angled style, you can opt to make yours a full bay window, which adds square footage to your home. If you’re looking to expand a breakfast nook or add a window seat in a bedroom, a full bay window is a beautiful addition and a great way to get more space. However, if you just want a little more sunlight and a spot for your kitchen herb garden, a box bay window may be a better choice for you.
How Much Will Bay Windows Cost?
The price tag of this project will depend on the type and size of bay windows you want. Here’s a rundown of the materials and their costs:
- Box bay windows tend to be the most affordable, since they’re generally smaller and act as a shelf rather than an expansion of square footage. Expect to pay in the ballpark of $500 to $900 range for sizes ranging from 3×3 feet to 4×4 feet.
- Full bay windows are going to be more expensive due to their size. Expect to pay around $800 to $1200 for a 3×6-foot bay window.
- The type of window you want will also have an impact on cost. Vinyl tends to be the standard, and the cost estimates above reflect that. If you would like to upgrade to primed wood for a more authentic look, you’ll be digging a little deeper into your pockets and will also be paying for maintenance every few years to prevent rot. You also have the option of clad windows, which are have a low-maintenance vinyl exterior side and a gorgeous wood interior side.
- Many bay windows come pre-assembled and ready to install, but if you need to place a custom order, that will cost you 15 to 20 percent more and take longer to arrive.
Before you add up the numbers, you’ll need to take installation costs into account. You’ll want to have a contractor check out the wall where you want to install the bay windows to ensure that it does not need reinforcing and can support the size of the window you’ve chosen. The contractor will then need to remove a section of the wall so that the bay window frame can be put in place. Labor will most likely cost you around $200 on the low end and $400 on the high end.
Overall, this project will most likely cost you anywhere from $750 to $2000, or more if you would like to add special features.
Other Things to Consider
- Bow windows are another design option that are similar to bay windows, but are made up of four separate units instead of three. They form a graceful curve rather than an angular protrusion. Bow windows are often considered the more contemporary choice, so if your home is up-to-date with the latest design trends, you may want to consider this option.
- Since a large bay window will bring a lot more sunlight into your home and doesn’t necessarily work well with curtains from a design standpoint, consider your energy efficiency options. This will add to the cost, but a low-emissive film or a layer of gas between the panes may help save you money on your monthly energy bill, and will keep your home more comfortable.
- A bay window isn’t just a minor home improvement; it’s an exterior architectural feature, and as such, you will need to consider roofing. Some bay windows are flat on top and don’t require roofing, but bay windows with slanted tops will require some extra materials and work to get the look right.