- Arched Windows
- Awning Windows
- Bay Windows
- Casement Windows
- Double Hung Windows
- Egress Windows
- Garden Windows
- Glass Block Windows
- Hopper Windows
- Jalousie Windows
- Picture Windows
- Round Windows
- Single Hung Windows
- Skylight Windows
- Sliding Windows
- Storm Windows
- Transom Windows
What are the Different Types of Windows?
Finding the perfect windows for your home isn’t as easy as it seems. There are so many different types of windows and options available today that it can be pretty overwhelming to try to pick out the right one for your needs. Windows can be square, rectangular, octagonal and even triangular and that’s just the shape. Some windows open to the side, some slide up and others tip up like a canopy. Each of these diverse types of windows offer something special to a home, and only a homeowner that understands their options can make an informed decision to choose the right windows.
Choosing Windows Based on Cost
If you’re trying to pick out the most affordable type of window, you’ll want to choose single hung over double hung. Single hung windows are more affordable overall, and most people are used to them since they’re the more common window choice. Typically, single hung windows are about 20% more affordable than double hung windows.
Choosing Windows Based on Utility
Double hung windows are the better option from a utility and maintenance standpoint. They are more versatile and easier to clean. You can get to each sash easily and clean both the outside and inside of the window comfortably from inside your home. You can also tilt the windows to allow a breeze in more effectively than you can with single hung windows.
The Different Types of Windows
No matter what your region, price range, or aesthetic taste, there are plenty of styles of windows for your home. Here’s what to expect from the different types of windows.
Maybe you’ve always wanted an arched gothic-style window, or maybe you need a replacement for a home window with an unusual shape. This is where specialty windows save the day. Most window brands offer customizations to suit your exact design needs—and you still have the choice of various sizes, woods, stains, and energy efficiency options.
Double Hung versus Single Hung
Double hung windows and single hung windows are two of the most common types of windows that you’ll see on any home today. The major difference between single hung and double hung windows is how the different window sections move. In single hung windows, the bottom window panel or lower sash moves up and down, and the upper sash remains stationary. This means that when you open the window, the upper sash is covered on the inside. In a double hung window, both the upper and lower sash can be lowered and raised. Each one can be tilted as well.
Bay or Bow Windows
If you’re looking for a window that extends out of your home, you’ll want to choose a bow or bay window. Each of these windows protrudes from an exterior wall and creates a small shelf in the home—the larger the window, the larger the shelf.
Either type of window adds an architectural accent to a home. Bay windows are usually a better fit for modern homes, and bow windows are often better suited for older Victorian style homes. Bay windows rely on flat windows set into an angled frame that is built out of the home. This usually consists of a center window, from which two side windows are angled at 30 to 40 degrees. Bow windows, on the other hand, rely on custom curved windows that create a circular arc along the outside of the home.
Both bay and bow windows are nice accents on a home, but it’s important to consider the cost before making a decision, since bay windows are much more affordable than bow windows. Bay windows also provide more shelf space within the home than bow windows, and many people even create a window seat with their bay windows. In the end, it simply comes down to personal style, preference, and budget.
If you want to add more natural light to your home but have limited options with your exterior walls, a skylight is an excellent option. It’s essentially a window for your roof, and it installs similarly to a roof vent.
Most skylights remain closed and simple serve the purpose of increasing sunlight into a home, as well as offering a beautiful view of the night sky. Still, some skylights open and close, which helps with ventilation; these are especially useful in an attic or attic-renovated bathroom.
A skylight must be installed by a professional. It’s an expensive choice for a window type, but if you want a way to add natural sunlight into your home from your roof, a skylight is your best option.
Glass Block Windows
Glass block windows are most often considered accents and added to a section of the home to increase light flow. Most commonly, glass block windows are frosted or adorned with a patterned design, which provides simultaneous light and privacy. This makes them ideal for use in bathrooms, basements, and other private spaces. However, if you need a sturdy window that won’t open or close but you’d also prefer a view, glass block lights come in a clear view option as well. Because glass block windows are immobile, they’ll be expensive and difficult to replace if you change your mind about them, so consider these a more permanent remodel.
Garden windows are essentially mini bay windows that are meant for plants. They’ve earned their name because they act like little tiny greenhouses that protrude from the inside of your home. Garden windows can hold many different plants, and many will even accommodate shelves so that you can add several plants per window. Both you and your plants will benefit from the increase in sunlight at home.
Round, half round, elliptical, or oval—the round window category encompasses many different shapes that add architectural interest to your home. In particular, round windows give your space a nod to historical decor, such as Victorian or Gothic era structures.
Many round windows make perfect companions for glass doors or larger, square windows. They can also be decked out with decorative grilles and stained glass to transform them into a show-stopping design focal point. However, adding these kinds of features will make your window replacement more expensive. Still, round windows provide a unique look, imbuing historical homes with period-era accuracy, or instilling newer homes with one-of-a-kind charm.
Hinged or Casement Windows
Both casement windows and awning windows are built with a hinge in their construction. Instead of sliding open like double or single hung windows, they swing out to the side or up to open. This allows the window to be constructed of solid glass and offers a less obstructed view overall.
Hinged windows are known for being excellent insulators because they do not have the separate pieces and breaks between the pieces that other options have. This helps them keep your home warmer and also keeps the weather out more effectively.
Casement windows are known for being particularly effective at ventilating a space, and awning windows are ideal for climates with a lot of rain, thanks to the way the window creates a water-resistant awning when opened.
When you have a space that you want to fill and standard-sized windows aren’t meeting your needs, you can go with a custom window instead. Custom windows are crafted from dimensions that you or a professional measures in your home. These dimensions could be from an existing frame in your home or from an older custom window that you’re replacing, or they could be for a new section that you want to fill with a window. Custom windows can be as large as you want them to be, and they offer you the freedom to pick and choose exactly how your home looks.
Egress windows are designed for safety more than anything else. They are the windows that provide an escape route when an emergency such as a fire, for example, prevents you from exiting through a door.
Egress windows are typically installed in the basement of your home. You should have at least one egress window available in each living space of your home that doesn’t already have a reliable exit. Separate bedrooms in the basement should each have their own egress window to help keep everyone in your home safe. There are special requirements for fully functioning egress windows and it’s important to meet them to comply with local fire codes.
Storm windows are exterior windows that install right in the same frame as your current windows. Rather than replace your windows, they simply add another layer of protection. They are flat panels with no breaks, and this makes them highly effective at preventing drafts and heat loss. Most homeowners rely on storm windows when winter rolls around for the additional protection against the elements. Compared to new quality windows, storm windows are very affordable. They are simple to install as well. The only real downside to storm windows is that they have to be put up and taken down throughout the year, and they limit the use of the original windows once installed, which means no ventilation.
Transom windows are decorative accents that help break up space or add a unique design focal point. They’re the windows that you see installed above doors in upscale homes, or even above other windows in some instances. They’re typically a semicircle shape, but they can be square or rectangular as well.
These windows are usually for decoration only and are mostly designed to let in light without opening or closing. Still, some transom windows open just like awning windows do, with the bottom tipping out and up to form a slightly slanted roof and let air into the home. Whether you want to decorate your home or add another source of ventilation into it, transom windows will work for your needs and they’re relatively affordable compared to full-sized windows.
Jalousie windows are the unique windows that you’ll find on many older homes around the world. They are split into many different slats of metal or glass. The windows open like a set of blinds. Simply crank the lever and the slats tilt to the side, which creates a series of gaps for air to flow through. They were common years ago because of their easy maintenance and affordability. Today, jalousie windows are still used in some homes in warmer climates, but they don’t provide enough insulation to justify use on homes in cooler climates.
Whether the view outside your home is a lush green backyard or a mountain range, the best way to fully enjoy your view is with picture windows. Picture windows are large windows that don’t have any breaks or visible frames, resulting in an unobstructed view.
They are known as picture windows because they seem to turn the view outside your home into a picture for you to admire. The downside to picture windows is that they don’t open, and they can’t be used for ventilation or emergency escape. They are, however, one of the best options available for simply admiring nature and letting more light into your home.
If you’ve ever operated a sliding glass door, you should be able to visualize a sliding window quite well. It has two sections that are usually made from single windows, and one of the sections slides horizontally overtop of the other to open or close. This means that only half the space of a sliding window can be utilized for ventilation purposes. Sliding windows are typically used in homes with short walls because they don’t take up as much vertical space.
Sliding windows can make the walls seem taller, while still providing the same amount of ventilation as a double or single hung window. If your home has low ceilings, sliding windows also make it easier to position furniture without setting it in front of your windows. These windows are normally installed near the upper portion of a wall, which leaves more space between the floor and the bottom of the window than windows that move vertically.
There’s something appealing about a home with arched windows. Their rounded tops add an architectural complexity to any home. Most arched windows aren’t designed to open or close, and they are installed up above more standard windows that provide the ventilation. However, there are also some arched windows that open the way casement windows do; they offer excellent ventilation and still give the appeal that arched windows were designed for.
Hopper windows open from the top and usually crank open to tip down. They make efficient use of compact spaces, which is why they’re commonly found in basements. They’re also known for providing excellent insulation, because they seal up against the frame when closed all the way. They open with an upward slant, which is especially beneficial for basements or first floor rooms, since this keeps debris from entering a home. Hopper windows are also commonly used in bathrooms commonly for insulation.
Because there are so many different types to choose from, it’s important to specify the criteria that you want from your windows before installation. To choose the best window for your home, simply consider each type individually in order to decide if it will offer everything you need. Once you find a qualified installer, you’ll be on your way to enjoying the increased comfort, beauty, and energy efficiency that new windows provide.