Whether you’re undertaking a new home construction project or need to replace the old existing windows in your home, summer is a great time to choose windows. You’ll likely encounter a good amount of sun and longer daytime hours to complete your project. At the same time, warmer temperatures make exposing your home to the elements during a window replacement a bit more comfortable. Finally, with window technology improving every day, you can begin seizing the energy cost savings of new windows while the weather is at its hottest.
Aside from logistics, however, there are several considerations before you get your window project underway. One of the most significant decisions you’ll need to make involves choosing a window style that’s right for you and your project. How can you be sure you’ve made the right choice for one of the biggest contributors to the overall look and energy efficiency of your home?
How to Choose New Windows
If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve spent a great deal of time perfecting the interior and exterior design elements of your home. Everything from the colors involved, the shapes incorporated, the overall aesthetics, and even the finishing elements required careful consideration. It contributed to the look, feel, and emotion inspired by your home. It’s a process that applies double when you’re choosing windows for your home.
Why? Your windows will ultimately be in place for decades, and—as one of the most significant design elements in your home—affect the interior and exterior look of your home until they need replacement. You’ll need to consider the existing styles you currently utilize in your home’s exterior and interior and choose windows that mesh well with each. Choose a window style that truly speaks to your style and complements the structure of your home.
Types of Windows
This summer, consider these popular window types for your window replacement or new construction project:
- Double-hung. This style is one of the most popular window styles for a reason—its classic design elements are simple enough to complement nearly every home style and design aesthetic. They fit exceptionally well with classic style homes. Double-hung windows consist of two separate window sashes that slide up and down to open and close the window instead of opening outward. Many homeowners choose to include beveling or grilles to add interest and an upscale look.
- Slider. These windows feature either two or three vertical sashes that slide from side to side to provide maximum ventilation. Available in a variety of widths and heights, these simple windows will serve any home style well. For added intrigue, you can add beveling, interior or exterior glass patterns, and even blinds encased between the two panels for light blocking and filtration.
- Casement. Instead of sliding up and down or to the side, casement windows open outward using a crank. Casement windows are especially popular because they offer an unobstructed view of the outdoors; they do not have a center bar or meeting rail to block your vision. You can add visual appeal by choosing a complementary frame color or etched decorative glass. In addition, most people find them easier to open and close than sliding and double-hung windows.
- Bay and bow. Often chosen as a focal point for both the interior design and exterior elevation of a home, these windows are three dimensional as they protrude outward. As a result, either bay or bow windows can add additional floor space or even house a reading nook or window seat. Bay windows usually consist of a large static window with smaller side windows that can open, while bow windows provide a gentle curve of several similar-sized windows.
- Awning/hopper. Both awning and hopper windows hinge horizontally, though they differ in the way they open. Awning windows hinge at the top and open outward, while hopper windows hinge at the bottom and open inward. Both styles provide ventilation while protecting your home’s interior from collecting rain and other elements. These windows are ideal for installation near larger windows, over a door, or in a smaller space like a kitchen or bath that may not have room for larger windows.
- Specialty. Many homeowners choose specially shaped windows to add an intriguing geometric element to define the design of a home’s exterior or interior. Alternatively, some smaller specialty window shapes are perfect for adding natural light to an oddly shaped space. Specialty windows can be fitted with grids or added bevels like most other types of windows for additional interest. Specialty windows can be designed specifically to fit a special place in your home, depending on your needs. Or, choose one of these popular specialty window types:
- Vinyl. While vinyl windows are available in a vast selection of shapes and sizes—and are technically not a window style—we felt it was important to mention them here. Most windows installed today are a type of vinyl windows, and they’re a popular choice for homeowners for multiple reasons. They are an affordable alternative to wood windows and offer many advantages. Vinyl windows are available in multiple colors and offer the beauty of wood windows without the need for continued upkeep to prevent cracking, splitting, blistering, fading, scratching, rust, and rot. These windows have a lifespan that exceeds that of wood windows, making a return on your window investment much more likely. Finally, vinyl windows often provide better insulation and thermal performance than wood windows, resulting in high Energy Star ratings from the EPA.
Which Windows Are Right for Your Project?
Whether you’ve chosen one type of window from the above list or have chosen to mix complementary styles—such as casement and bay windows or double-hung and specialty windows—it’s crucial to consider both the interior and exterior look of your home. Using your existing design elements, choose a finish color that complements the exterior finish of your home and matches well with your interior woodwork. Since vinyl windows are available in a wide variety of colors and finish looks, they are an ideal choice for any project.