Windows
Your windows ultimately affect your home’s curb appeal, resale value, and how much you’ll pay for monthly energy costs, too.

Types of Windows - A Homeowner's Guide

New windows are a substantial investment, impacting various aspects of your home, from curb appeal to energy bills. Carefully researching your options before committing to a specific style or brand is essential. Understanding how factors like window size, type, and functionality meet your needs is critical, whether you need replacement windows or new construction models. This comprehensive guide on the most common types of windows will help you decide which ones fit your home best.

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What Are the Different Types of Windows?

Not all window designs are made equally. Some offer energy-saving perks and optimize natural lighting, while others are cost-effective and eye-catching. The table below lists average cost estimates and ideal locations for common window types to help you kick off your search.

Double-hung Windows

Double-hung windows are the most common type found in residential spaces. They feature two operable window sashes — movable panels surrounding the pane — that slide up and down to overlap in the middle. These types of windows provide the best ventilation, allowing fresh air to flow through the bottom and warm air out through the top. Many double-hung designs feature tilt sashes that lean horizontally for easier cleaning.

Bedroom with double-hung windows showing a backyard view

Where To Use Double-hung Windows

Double-hung windows are best for second-story rooms where window cleaning might pose difficulty. With two movable, tilt-in sashes, double-hung windows are accessible, easy to maintain, and excellent for multistory ventilation. These types of windows are ideal for families, as they’re a safer choice for homeowners with children or pets. You can open the upper sash for necessary venting and close the bottom sash to prevent accidental falls.

Double-hung Window Costs

Double-hung windows generally cost between $600–$950 per window for labor and materials. The price ultimately depends on the brand, size, and style of the double-hung window you choose.

Provide optimal ventilation when open
Easy to clean
Safer for homes with children or pets
More openings for air leaks
Pricier than single-hung windows

Single-hung Windows

Single-hung windows are similar to double-hung in the sense that the user can slide open a sash for improved ventilation. The difference is that single-hung windows have a fixed top and moveable lower sash, whereas double-hung models have two.

office with single-hung windows looking over front yard

Where To Use Single-hung Windows

Single-hung windows are ideal for homeowners seeking standard windows at an affordable price. Many homeowners who need to replace multiple windows at once opt for single-hung options. They provide the same look and feel as double-hung models but offer slightly less functionality.

Single-Hung Window Costs

Single-hung windows are one of the most cost-effective options available, averaging around $400 per window for materials and installation.

Relatively affordable
More energy efficiency than double-hung windows
Less prone to air leaks
Provide less ventilation
More difficult to clean

Casement Windows

Casement windows swing open to the side like a door on its hinges. They’re also known as crank windows because they open and close by using a crank. Casement windows feature a strong seal around the perimeter, making them watertight when closed. When open, these windows allow air to flow into the home.

Because casement windows open outward, it’s important to ensure both sides of the window match each other and your home’s exterior for the most cohesive design. Many casement windows come with screens that attach to the interior side for easy cleaning and removal.

Wood-framed casement windows opening to a snowy landscape

Where To Use Casement Windows

Casement windows are best for spaces where it might be difficult to open a traditional window. We recommend casement windows above a kitchen sink or in a home office with limited space. Please note that crank windows aren’t suited for window air conditioning units, so it’s best to skip this type of window if you depend on that cooling method.

Casement Window Costs

Individual casement windows cost about $750 for materials and installation. However, specific prices will vary depending on the materials, window size, manufacturer, and customization you select.

Easy to open and close via hand crank
Weathertight seal prevents moisture damage and drafts
Low-maintenance and easy to clean
Lower-quality hinges prone to operational defects
Not suited for high-traffic exterior areas

Awning Windows

Awning windows feature top hinges that open outward like an awning. They’re typically smaller windows placed on the top half of a wall to achieve light and ventilation without sacrificing privacy. You’ll often see awning windows in kitchens and tight hallways that don’t have room for large, open sashes.

Hopper windows are similar to awning windows in that they open via hinges on one side. However, hopper windows open into the home’s interior on bottom hinges. These windows are sometimes called basement hoppers because of their frequent use in home basements and cellars.

Blue-tinted awning windows opening away from a building

Where To Use Awning Windows

Awning windows are ideal for bathrooms or other small, private spaces. We recommend awning windows for homes in wet climates because the windows open outward to promote airflow but still block rainfall.

Awning Window Costs

Awning windows typically cost around $300–$500. Depending on your selection, custom models with grilles or higher-end materials may cost $800 or more.

Allow ventilation without giving up privacy
Block rainfall when open
Work well in tight spaces
Exteriors can be hard to clean
Not ideal for high-traffic outdoor areas

Picture Windows

Picture windows have single stationary panes. The panes are typically large and unobstructed by grilles, grids, or rails to provide a clear view of the outside. Picture windows let in lots of natural light but can’t open for enhanced ventilation.

Picture window with a beautiful ocean view

Where To Use Picture Windows

Picture windows are best for rooms with lots of natural light and picturesque views. Many homeowners use them as a room’s centerpiece, allowing the window frame to capture a “picture” of the outside surroundings. If improved airflow is a concern, we suggest combining picture windows with operable windows like awnings or casements.

Read Also: Different Types of Window Frame

Picture Window Costs

On average, picture windows cost between $400–$700. This cost varies significantly depending on your desired window size and frame material.

Excellent energy efficiency
Provide lots of natural light
Fixed seals reduce moisture damage and drafts
Don’t provide ventilation
More glass area may promote heat transfer

Bay Windows

Bay and bow windows have angled window panels that protrude past a home’s exterior to develop a nook-like space. Bay windows have three panels, typically with a picture window as the centerpiece and double-hung or casement side windows. Bow windows have four or more panels that curve outward to create a rounder nook.

Bow window creating a cozy nook in a home

Where To Use Bay/Bow Windows

Bay and bow windows are ideal for dining areas and living rooms. They also make excellent reading corners in bedrooms, offices, and sitting rooms. Use floor-to-ceiling bay windows for a dedicated piano area or well-lit workspace.

Bay/Bow Window Costs

Bay and bow windows generally cost a minimum of $1,200, with some designs reaching $4,000 or more. Because of their more elaborate architecture and installation process, these windows are some of the priciest on the market.

Add architectural interest to a home
Provide excellent natural lighting
Perfect for dedicated living spaces
One of the most expensive window types
Complicated installation process

Glass Block Windows

Glass block windows feature thick cubes of glass sealed to form a translucent surface. These windows are sometimes called “glass bricks” because of how the blocks stack together. Glass block windows are transparent enough to allow lighting but thick and blurry enough to provide privacy.

Interior wall with a glass block window allowing light in

Where To Use Glass Block Windows

Glass block windows are excellent for bathroom spaces, notably over a tub or shower. They’re ideal for homeowners seeking natural light, privacy, and a touch of vintage charm.

Glass Block Window Costs

Glass block windows typically cost around $650 for materials and installation. Cost can vary depending on the size of the window and glass patterns or customization.

Offer a unique aesthetic appeal
Thickness provides added security and durability
Provide enhanced thermal insulation
Typically pricier than regular glass
Not useful for home ventilation

Read also: Different Window Glass Options

Slider Windows

Slider windows (sometimes called sliding or gliding windows) feature two movable sashes that slide horizontally to overlap. Some people describe them as sideways double-hung windows because of their ability to open from both ends.

When shopping for slider windows, you can often choose between single, double, or three-panel sliders for the exact amount of functionality and window space you need.

Wood home with slider windows opening into a blue room

Where To Use Slider Windows

Slider windows are best for wide spaces that need horizontal window coverage. They also work well in rooms with limited space; the panes overlap to open instead of swinging outward or upward.

Slider Window Costs

Slider windows generally cost $500–$600, depending on the size and material you pick.

Provide excellent lighting and airflow
Easy to use
Less expensive than other window types
Not as airtight as fixed window styles
Rollers may break down over time

Egress Windows

Egress windows are fully functional openings that act as emergency exits from underground spaces. Egress windows typically lead out of basements into egress wells, which provide access to ground level.

Outdoor nook leading to a below-ground basement egress window

Where To Use Egress Windows

Egress windows are best for homeowners seeking an emergency escape from a basement or cellars under their homes. These windows are especially useful in fire-prone areas because they provide an exit for residents and an entry for emergency response personnel.

Egress Window Costs

Egress windows typically cost $1,000+ for materials and installation. The cost depends mainly on the steps needed to create the egress well and install the window.

Provide an exit from underground rooms
Allow natural light into basements
Enhance ventilation in enclosed spaces
More involved installation process
Might let moisture into the home

Transom Windows

Transom windows are decorative openings above standard windows or doors. These windows are fixed without operable mechanisms, making them ideal for visual appeal and natural lighting. Although some transom windows are traditionally square or rectangular, many take on specialty half-round or angled designs.

Glass door with a transom window above it

Where To Use Transom Windows

Transom windows work well over front doors or patio doors, offering a touch of style and additional entryway lighting. Ensure your home’s walls and doorways can structurally support a transom window before installation.

Transom Window Costs

Transom windows generally cost between $300–$600, depending on installation needs and materials. Costs are lower to replace an existing transom window than to install a new one in a solid wall.

For more detailed information on transom windows, kindly read our article on overview of transom windows.

Provide additional lighting in entryways
Add visual appeal to doors
Cost-effective option for many homeowners
Difficult to reach and clean
Not a good source of ventilation

Jalousie Windows

Jalousie or louvered windows have operable slats that function as glass blinds. Jalousie windows are set into the frame, allowing the user to open and close them with a lever or pulley mechanism, similar to plantation shutters.

Nautical-themed bedroom with jalousie windows

Where To Use Jalousie Windows

Jalousie windows are best for homes in mild or hot climates that need ventilation. They can reduce cooling costs by allowing fresh air to circulate throughout the house on hot days, making them a useful option for anyone with unreliable air conditioning.

Jalousie Window Costs

Standard jalousie windows generally cost $200–$400. Expect to pay more for textured or frosted slats and other customizations.

For more detailed information on jalousie windows, we recommend exploring our article on what jalousie windows entails.

Provide excellent ventilation
Can be angled to keep the rain out while open
Can lower energy costs in hot areas
Don’t offer insulation
Not as secure against break-ins

Skylight Windows

Skylight windows or roof windows are fixed openings set into the roof or sky-facing portion of the home. They’re commonly used in bathrooms and living spaces to provide additional natural lighting while still maintaining privacy.

Beautiful bathroom interior design with skylight window

Where To Use Skylight Windows

Skylight windows are ideal for areas that receive overhead sun during the daytime. They work well over showers and bathtubs where privacy is a concern.

Roof windows provide any space with an unobstructed view of the sky, which is an appealing benefit for living rooms and dining spaces. However, consider whether the consistent sunlight could get in the way of daily activities like working on a computer, watching television, or resting. This article from the Florida Solar Energy Center offers more information about the different types of skylights and how to incorporate them into your home.

Skylight Window Costs

Skylight windows start at around $300 but can exceed $3,000 depending on the materials and scale of the project.

Provide light in private spaces without trading privacy
Visually open up a room
Provide solar heating to homes in cold climates
Potential for high heat transfer
Prone to leaking in rainy climates

Window Materials

Windows come in a variety of materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks:

  • Vinyl: Very affordable and low maintenance, with decent insulation properties, but can warp over time.
  • Wood: More expensive yet valued for its natural aesthetic appeal, requires regular upkeep like staining.
  • Aluminum: Durable, easy to maintain, but has lower insulation resulting in higher energy costs.
  • Fiberglass: Energy efficient insulation at a comparable cost to vinyl, with low maintenance.
  • Composites: Blend materials like wood interior for looks and aluminum exterior for weather resistance at a higher cost.

Vinyl is the most popular choice for its affordability, low maintenance, and insulation capabilities. Wood offers design flexibility but requires more maintenance. Newer composite materials like fiberglass aim to balance performance, energy efficiency and cost.

Window Frame Materials Comparison

Frame MaterialMaintenanceDurabilityEnergy EfficiencyCost
VinylVery lowGoodVery good$
WoodHighFairGood$$$
AluminumLowExcellentPoor$$
FiberglassVery lowExcellentExcellent$$
CompositeLowExcellentVery good$$$

Key Factors in Selecting Windows

Now that you’re familiar with the most common window options, you can start shopping for your home’s ideal fit. We recommend getting quotes from multiple window companies before committing to a brand to assess the various styles, customization, and prices on the market.

Consider Champion, Renewal by Andersen, and Window Nation for the best window selections and top-rated customer service. These trusted window industry figures are excellent choices for your next home improvement project.

Energy Efficiency

Windows can contribute to heat loss/gain and higher energy bills. Look for efficient features like:

  • Glazing: Double or triple pane glass with gas fill like argon between panes.
  • Low-E coatings: Microscopically thin layer reduces heat flow.
  • Insulated frames: Plastic or foam-filled window frames.
  • ENERGY STAR rating: Independent certification of energy performance.

Replacing single pane windows with ENERGY STAR models can reduce energy bills by 12% or more.

Read more on Energy Efficiency:

Materials

Factor in climate, maintenance, sound, security, and budget when selecting materials:

  • Vinyl: Affordable, low maintenance, good insulation. Can warp over time.
  • Wood: Natural insulation, aesthetics, custom styles. Expensive, high maintenance.
  • Aluminum: Durability, easy maintenance. High thermal conductance.
  • Fiberglass: Energy efficient, low maintenance. Higher cost than vinyl.
  • Composites: Balance material benefits. Higher cost.

Vinyl and fiberglass are low maintenance options for any climate. Wood provides charm but requires upkeep.

Design, Size and Placement

Windows should match your home's architectural style and adequately serve the room's size and function:

  • Select operating style for room use and desired ventilation.
  • Consider grid patterns like prairie style and simulated divided lites.
  • Choose trim profiles - bulky or slim based on aesthetics.
  • Factor in window shape like rounded, octagons etc.
  • Prioritize natural light, views, and egress requirements.
  • Allow proper furniture spacing without blocking windows.

Proper installation sealing is also key to prevent air and water infiltration.

Weatherstripping

Prevent drafts and leaks by checking weatherstripping around windows:

  • Compression seals - Bulb, fin, or spline seals.
  • Felt/foam strips - Adhesive or retained in tracks.
  • Interlocking vinyl/rubber - Tight seal, easy replacement.

Replace worn weatherstripping to improve energy efficiency.

Hiring a Window Installation Contractor

Rather than searching for a general contractor first, it's often best to select the type of window you want installed and then find a contractor who specializes in that brand. Window manufacturers provide specialized training to contractors, so choosing someone certified by your window brand helps ensure proper installation. Checking with your local Home Builder's Association is another great way to find reputable window installers in your area who have experience with various brands and window types. Focus your search on contractors with expertise in your chosen window product and proven knowledge of local building codes and best practices. This approach makes it more likely you'll end up with beautiful, energy-efficient windows properly installed by a qualified professional.

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What to Look For

  • Experience with multiple window replacements
  • Knowledge of building codes and permitting
  • Attention to air sealing details
  • Manufacturer certified installers
  • Positive reviews from past clients

Installation Process

A typical window installation project involves:

  • Inspection and measurements
  • Obtaining necessary permits
  • Window order and delivery
  • Removing old windows
  • Preparing rough openings
  • Installing and sealing new windows
  • Exterior trim installation
  • Testing operation and cleaning up

Cost Factors

Professional window installation costs $400-$800 per window on average depending on:

  • Window type and size
  • Material costs
  • Accessibility of windows
  • Project scope (whole home or a few windows)
  • Your location

Get multiple quotes to find competitive pricing. Replacing all windows at once can provide economies of scale. A phased approach over time is another option.

More On Window Cost:

So, What Windows Are Right for You?

The windows you choose greatly impact your home's style, comfort, and energy efficiency. Carefully evaluate the window types, materials, costs, efficiency, and installation considerations covered here to make the right choice for your needs and budget.

Choosing Winning Windows for Your Home

Consider these factors before installing or updating your windows:

  • Window type: You can choose from many different window styles, and they aren’t all created equal. From bay windows to awnings, each type can serve your home and family in different ways.
  • Window size: A window’s size affects its functionality and how much it will cost to install. Getting proper measurements before installation will simplify this process and ensure a better fit.
  • Energy efficiency: Windows without insulative qualities can drive up your energy bill by letting outdoor temperatures transfer into your home. Finding the highest energy-efficient window models for your home can help you save big in the long run.
  • Life span: Window frames come in different materials, each with its own durability level and average life span. While you’ll likely pay more for stronger materials, these will last longer before needing to be replaced.

Ready to explore all things sashes, sills, and glazing? Our resources will help you navigate the window-buying process all the way from company selection to installation day.

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