There are many different styles of windows that a homeowner can choose to install in a home, and each variety comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. If you are building a new home, renovating your home, or replacing your windows, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the different window options available to you and choose windows that suit your needs and performance expectations.
These are some of the most commonly used windows in American homes. A double-hung window features two window sashes that slide vertically, allowing the resident to slide the window open on either the top or bottom. Opening the window at the bottom can allow a breeze inside while opening it at the top can allow warm air to escape. These windows are popular due to their simple yet effective function, ease of installation and maintenance, and relatively low cost.
Despite the obvious benefits of double-hung windows, they do have some drawbacks. The coils and springs inside of the window frame that allow the window sashes to slide up and down can wear out over time and require replacement. These windows also have some of the largest panes of all residential window styles, making them easy targets for break-ins in some areas. If they are mounted low on the wall, they can also be hazardous for small children who may attempt to climb through opened sashes.
Casement windows are fantastic for controlling airflow through a home. These windows open on a vertical hinge, with one side remaining stationary while the other side swings open similar to a door. The resident inside will turn a crank mechanism to open the window to the desired width. This style of window is generally regarded as more modern than double-hung style windows and offers a very tight seal, making them some of the best windows for keeping out drafts. Due to the way they open, casement windows are also fantastic for catching breezes passing by a home.
While casement windows offer several advantages, homeowners need to know the potential drawbacks of this style of window. First of all, many casement windows do not qualify as egress windows unless they are huge and may not comply with applicable building codes in some areas. If left open, strong winds can damage them or even pull them out of their frames. Finally, the crank mechanisms used to open and close casement windows can wear out over time.
Similar to casement windows, awning windows open on a hinge on one side, swinging outward away from the structure. While casement windows swing on a vertical hinge, awning windows open on a horizontal hinge, making them ideal for places where airflow is important, even when it is raining. The opened window acts as an awning that redirects falling rain away from the structure.
Awning windows share many of the same drawbacks of casement windows. Their crank mechanisms are prone to breakage, and they may detach if left opened during severe storms. They also do not provide good airflow the way that casement windows do.
This type of window grew very popular in the 1950s and 1960s due to their durability and ease of use. The window sashes slide horizontally along a track, and they typically have reliable seals, which make them ideal for homeowners who need to open and close their windows often. The only real drawbacks to sliding windows are their somewhat dated appearance and the difficulty in cleaning them; their tracks can fill with dirt and dust rather quickly.
Bay and Bow Windows
These windows are commonly seen in Victorian homes. Bay and bow windows are sets of multiple window panes arranged in arcs. A bay window has three window panes, usually with the center pane being the largest, and a bow window has four or more identically sized window panes. Bay and bow windows are timeless and beautiful, and it’s possible to configure them with double-hung windows for ease of opening. They protrude from the front of the home, adding space and visual interest both inside and out.
The drawbacks to bay and bow windows mostly relate to cost. If you want to install a bay or bow window on your home, this might require additional structural changes to ensure the wall where the window will go can support it. Replacing bay and bow windows also requires more work than most other window styles, and the extra surface area these windows create can lead to heat loss in some homes.
Skylights and Roof Windows
While these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different fixtures. A skylight is a fixed window pane set into a roof that allows light into the room, and a roof window is an openable window fixed into the roof. These windows are ideal for finished attic spaces or large rooms. Still, if the opening is high off the floor, then a skylight is the preferred option over a roof window, as it would be tough to open and close the roof window without some type of electronic remote control mechanism.
Skylights or roof windows can seem like wonderful additions to some homes. Still, homeowners need to understand that these windows require experienced installation teams and are subject to much more wear-and-tear from sun and rain than other windows. The wear-and-tear they sustain daily also makes them vulnerable to leaks and cracks from hail.
Deciding on the Right Windows for Your Home
If you are considering any of these windows for your home, whether you’re building a brand-new residence or updating an existing home, it’s important to consider a few things so you can get the most value out of your new windows. First, consider the area in which you live and the type of climate it experiences throughout the year. If controlling the breeze throughout your home is essential, it’s vital to choose windows that open and close easily.
The windows previously mentioned in this post are just some of the options available to homeowners across the country. There are also several other considerations to make, such as material, size, and additional features such as tinting. Ultimately, it’s worth taking time to carefully consider all the available options and make an informed, confident decision about the windows you want in your home.