Bay Windows
& Bow Windows

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Bay Windows vs. Bow Windows - Installation Costs - 2018 - Modernize

Bay Window Prices

The average cost for a replacement bay window or bow window installation is $1150 to $3550 per window + labor costs which can average around $38 per hour depending on your local window installers average price.

What is a Bay Window vs Bow Window?

A bay window is a set of three windows, which are angled out and away from the house. The center window is typically a fixed, picture window, that’s larger than both of the windows on either side (named flankers). Bay windows open up your space, add architectural detail and capture more light and beauty than your standard window ever could. Adding one bay window to a room can help enhance its space and its beauty all at the same time. It’s a major improvement to many windows, and for the right space it’s a worthy investment.

A bow window on the other hand is similar, but usually has four or five glass window openings. A bow window’s structure is curved, creating a rounded appearance on the outside of the home.

Bay Windows vs bow window prices

How Much Does a Bay Window Cost?

The price tag of a bay window replacement project will depend on the type and size of bay windows you want. Here’s a rundown of the materials and their costs for window installation:

  • 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 alone.
  • The types of windows you want will also have an impact on cost. Vinyl windows 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 will 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.

More Benefits of Bay Window Replacement

Enhance Your View

Bay windows are known for making the most of a beautiful view. While most window types are stuck inside the walls of a home, bay windows stretch out and around those boundaries. This means that you can take a look at the view out and around the sides of your home. You’ll be able to see in more directions and bring a lot of natural light into your space. When your sits in an area with an expansive view, a bay window is a good investment to take advantage of your surrounding. Taking the time to find a spot that has a particularly picturesque view is a good way to maximize the value of a bay window, so consider the location carefully before spending the money for installation.

A contractor installs a bay window into a home

Standard Bay Window Construction

A standard bay window is made up of three different windows. There is a center picture window that is typically larger than all the other windows used. Then there are two angled windows that are smaller in size and come off the sides of the large window. These windows are all framed together with a supported floor on the bottom of them that juts out the exterior of the home. Most bay windows are built using a bay window frame, and some come already assembled and ready for installation. The windows themselves are more expensive than standard single or double hung windows, but the real cost comes with the installation. A section of the wall has to be removed, and the frame of the window has to be carefully supported to make it strong and ready to handle the added weight.

Deciding on a Size for your Bay Window

Bay windows can be as small or as large as you want. The smaller models are usually about two feet tall by three feet wide, and the larger ones can take up the better part of a wall. When deciding on the size of your new bay window, it’s important to consider what the window will be used for, and the size of the room that it’s going in. If it’s just to let in some extra light and hold a few plants a smaller window would probably work just fine. A larger window can be used to add floor space, or even make a nice seating area to look outside. A larger bay window might increase your home’s value as many potential homeowners can’t resist the idea of a reading nook by the window.

Add Floor Space

When you have a compact home and you’re looking for ways to increase the floor space, bay windows are one of the options you have available to you. Most bay windows will create a shelf that you can use for added storage, but some are designed to go right down to the floor of the room. These windows actually increase the floor space that you have in the room. They can add ten or more square feet to a room, and if you are dealing with tight living arrangements, the added space can make a big difference.

A large bay window with brown drapes

Add a Convenient Shelf

Whether you’re looking for a place to keep your plants, you want to add book storage (again with the reading nook), or you want a spot that you can sit on with a chair and enjoy the view, a bay window adds a nice convenient shelf that you can make use of. The size of the shelf depends on the size of the window, but the amount of space that you’ll gain is usually pretty significant. It’s worth it to have a bay window added for the view and light alone, but the shelf that you’ll gain will offer you added space that you can use in a variety of ways.

Choose a Spot for Your Bay Window that Will Work

Due to the size of many bay windows, not every room in your home will work for a new window installation. When installing a bay window, some sections of the wall have to be reinforced more than others, because they bear more weight from the house. If you’re planning on having a bay window installed in your home, you should make sure that a window professional takes a look at your home and chooses a section that won’t require any significant reinforcement when the window is installed. Most windows will require a header added above the installation, and in some key areas it will be more expensive to add a bay window than in other locations around the home. This is why a professional should help with the planning and will ultimately reduce the cost to you.

Deciding on where to put a bay window, or even if you should install a bay window at all can be a little complicated but a carefully selected and professionally installed bay window can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a home. Smaller rooms become larger, darker rooms brighter, and somewhat plain homes become more intricate and interesting. Bay windows aren’t necessarily cheap, but they can be worth the investment when done right.


Here are some other helpful pages to help you through your replacement window project.

Best Window Brands 

Cost for Window Replacement

Measuring Replacement Windows 

Standard Window Sizes

Types of Window Frames

When to Replace Windows 

Window Glass Repairs 

Window Rebates & Incentives 

Window Replacement Information

Window Replacement Contractors Near Me

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