Bow windows extend beyond the home’s exterior walls to make a unique architectural statement. Bow windows feature four or more window panels, unlike bay windows, which only have three. However, you’ll often hear the two names used interchangeably.
Many homeowners incorporate bay and bow windows into their home design to improve natural lighting and create a nook-like space for dining, reading, or enjoying a panoramic view of outdoor scenery.
How Much Do Bay and Bow Windows Cost?
Bow windows typically cost between $2,000 and $4,000 for materials and installation. Your costs may start at $1,500 for bay windows or small, vinyl bow windows with fewer panels. But large bow windows with five or more panels and premium frames can exceed $10,000.
The prices below reflect average cost ranges for bow windows. These estimates will fluctuate significantly based on the specifics of your project.
|Cost Range||Average Cost Range|
|Low-End Cost Range||$1,300–$2,000|
|National Average Cost Range||$2,000–$4,000|
|High-End Cost Range||$4,000–$6,000|
Our cost data comes from RSMeans, a price estimator database for contractors. The estimates included in this article cover materials and average installation costs.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Bow Windows?
The cost of bow windows varies greatly and depends on the:
- Scope of your project
- Window types used in the bow window
- Number of window panels
- Size of the entire bow window
- Frame material
Let’s dive into each of these areas in more detail.
Cost of Bow Windows by Project Scope
The cost of bow windows is usually the biggest concern homeowners have. Replacing an existing bay or bow window gives you a price break. It’s far cheaper than installing a new one — often saving you thousands of dollars. This is especially true if you pick a replacement window of a similar size, material, and structure to your current bow window. Adding new bow windows sometimes require structural modifications to your home’s siding or window opening. This accounts for a higher installation cost.
|Project Needs||Average Cost Range|
|New construction bow windows||$2,500–$5,000|
|Replacement bow windows||$1,300–$3,500|
Cost of Bow Windows by Window Type
Bay and bow windows are structures consisting of several smaller windows. Those individual window panels can be of various styles: double-hung, casement, or picture windows. Many bay windows feature a fixed centerpiece with operable end panels for optimal functionality. Many bow windows feature single or double-hung windows that don’t protrude outward when open.
The type of windows you choose for your bow window affect the cost. Fixed panels — also called fixed lites — are usually less expensive than operable models that feature movable sashes, hardware, and locks. Consider these typical cost ranges when choosing the windows for your project:
|Type of Windows||Average Cost Range|
- Fixed windows, also called picture windows or fixed lites, are often inoperable — large windows that don’t open. They’re usually used as the center windows of bay and bow models because they provide an unobstructed view of outdoor scenery.
- Double-hung windows have two movable sashes that slide up or down to open. The sashes overlap when the window is open, making these windows excellent choices for bow windows with inner space constraints.
- Casement windows are most commonly used for bow windows because of their excellent ventilation. They open outward, like a door, via an easy-to-use hand crank. The opening allows air to flow through the entire window.
Cost of Bow Windows by Number of Panels
The number of window panels you want also plays a role in the final price of your bow windows. Simpler designs, such as box bay windows, will be less expensive than angled bay windows with four or more sections. Box bay windows have three panels that form a box-shaped nook. Their style lacks the curvature and panel count of angled bow windows, making it a more affordable option. Angled bow windows have up to six lites that form a gentle curve. This more intricate styling requires more material and means a complex installation, yielding higher prices.
According to our research, the number of panels in your bay or bow window affects price in the following ways:
|Number of Window Panels||Average Cost Range|
Trying to decide between a bay or bow window? Listen to this Today’s Homeowner Podcast segment where Danny discusses the benefits and drawbacks of both options:
Cost of Bow Windows by Size
Some bow windows span the height of entire walls, while others integrate as smaller, shelf-like features. Larger bow windows cost more than smaller ones because of the additional materials and labor required for building and installation.
The figures below reflect how bow window costs fluctuate by size:
|Bow Window Size||Average Cost|
|7’ X 4’||$1,625|
|8’ X 4’||$1,650–$2,125|
|8’ X 5’||$2,770–$3,370|
|9’ X 5’||$2,370–$4,125|
|10’ X 6’||$3,370–$4,645|
|12’ X 6’||$3,745–$5,270|
|14’ X 3’||$4,220|
|14’ X 6’||$6,950|
Cost of Bow Windows by Frame Material
The material you pick for your bow window frames dramatically affects overall cost. Vinyl and wood are the most common frame materials for bay and bow windows, with vinyl being more affordable. Although more expensive, wood is usually more durable, especially if structural changes are needed. Aluminum is another option for bay and bow windows, though it’s pricier and not as widely available.
Here are costs for four-panel casement bow windows with different frame materials:
|Window Frame Material||Cost Per Window|
- Vinyl is a popular choice for bow windows because of its excellent energy efficiency, low-maintenance durability, and price. It’s the least expensive material and comes in a wider variety of colors. Vinyl is also warp-, rot-, and rust-resistant, giving it added appeal for homeowners in wet climates.
- Aluminum is sometimes used for bow windows because of its weather resistance and low-maintenance strength. However, aluminum-clad wood frames are more popular for added energy efficiency because solid aluminum has poor insulation.
- Wood is also a popular bow window material because of its classic look and traditional beauty. Wood is durable, versatile, and highly insulative, making it a top choice for homes in cold climates. However, wood frames require more long-term upkeep than aluminum or vinyl, a drawback for some buyers.
Additional Costs of Bow Windows
As one of the more complex window options on the market, bow windows include several costs beyond size and material considerations. You must account for installation fees, structural work, and other customizations when you select for your new window(s).
We’ve outlined these prices to help you avoid surprises when you order your windows:
- Labor and installation costs for bay and bow windows typically start around $63 per crew member per hour. This equates to $1,007 for a two-member crew working an eight-hour workday. Some bow window projects require an extra hand, raising daily labor costs up to $1,500.
- Structural work: The ultimate cost of your bow window installation will depend on the complexity of the project. Some installations require modifying a home’s existing structure, such as adding support beams or roof panels. That raises the price.
- Window glazing: The glass you pick for your bow window also affects the price. The prevailing option for residential windows is double-pane glass, which ranges from $10 to $20 per square foot. Premium options like triple-pane glass can cost $40 or more per square foot.
- Glass coatings: If you add Low-E coatings or customized tints, you’ll add $5 to 15 per square foot to the price. Energy-efficient window glazing will inevitably cost more upfront but can reduce energy loss from your bow windows by up to 50%.
- Added features like window seats, mullions, awnings, and roofing will raise your bow window costs. Although these features are optional, they can improve the return on your investment — and how much you enjoy your new windows. Nonetheless, you must factor in the hundreds or thousands of dollars they’ll add to your bill.
How Does the Cost of Bow Windows Compare to Other Window Types?
Bay and bow windows cost more than other window types for a couple of reasons. One, they require you to install multiple windows at once. Second, their out-bowing structure requires additional architectural work and installation time, which will cost more than a standard window project.
Account for these differences before committing to a bow window. If you aren’t determined to add space and a panoramic view to your home, a less expensive window style might better suit your budget.
Is DIY Worth the Cost Savings of Installing Bow Windows?
No, do-it-yourself bow window installation isn’t worth the potential cost savings.
You should always hire a professional for bow window installation because it requires modifying your home’s structure. Bay and bow windows are often load-bearing, which means they must support your home’s roof, foundation, and exterior walls to prevent them from buckling.
Installation can involve adding support beams, drywall, insulation, and additional siding materials to your home — a more complex process than for a standard window replacement.
Although DIY installation may save on labor costs and brand overheads, you risk damaging your home or installing windows incorrectly, potentially causing higher energy bills, water damage, or structural damage down the road. In many cases, the cost of an improperly installed bow window will far exceed what you saved by attempting the project yourself.
If you need help finding a professional window installer, we’ve got you covered. Read our review of the best window companies to find an option that fits your needs.
Are Bow Windows Worth It for Your Home?
Costs for bow windows vary by project scope, window style, frame materials, and the number of windowpanes. Before committing to them, account for these factors, along with installation fees, structural requirements, and desired customizations, for a realistic view of your price. Bow windows will undoubtedly be a significant investment, but they can add value and curb appeal to your home.
With these factors in mind, you can start exploring bow window prices in your area. Fill out the form below for free quotes from local installers:
FAQs About Bow Window Costs
Do Bow Windows Increase Home Value?
Bay and bow windows add resale value for homes because they provide additional lighting, beautiful views, and extra square footage. Those with operable side windows and energy-efficient glass add more value by increasing the structure’s overall functionality and money-saving benefits.
Are Bow Windows More Expensive than Bay Windows?
Bow windows are almost always more expensive than bay windows because they include more materials. Bow windows have more panels (lites) than bay windows, so they require more windowpanes, installation work, and structural updates than their three-paneled counterparts.
How Much Is a Bay Window Seat?
Window seats can be as simple or ornate as you desire, so their costs vary greatly. DIY window benches can cost anywhere from $200 to $400, while custom upholstered models can exceed $2,000. Consider installing a seat at the same time as the window for potential cost savings and project efficiency. A seat for your bay or bow window is a charming and functional addition that will enhance your enjoyment of the space.
Do Bow Windows Come with Warranties?
Most professionally installed bow windows will come with a warranty. However, the extent of the warranty will depend on the window brand you purchase. Some window companies, like Renewal by Andersen and Pella, offer limited warranties that cover parts and labor for up to a certain number of years. Other retailers, such as Champion and Universal Windows Direct, offer lifetime warranties that cover the products as long as the original buyer lives in the home.
Regardless of where you buy your bay or bow windows, read the warranty fine print before purchasing. You want a window provider that provides long-term peace of mind for your home improvement investment.