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June 2, 2023

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    New windows are a big investment, affecting many aspects of your home, from curb appeal to energy bills. This is why research is essential before committing to a specific style or brand. 

    To make the best decision, understanding how factors like window size, type, and functionality play into daily use is critical. Whether you need replacement windows or new constructions, this guide on the most common types of windows will help you decide which ones are right for your home.

    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.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Picture Window Costs

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

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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

    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.

    Pros & Cons


    • Provide excellent lighting and airflow
    • Easy to use
    • Less expensive than other window types


    • Rollers may break down over time
    • Not as airtight as fixed window styles

    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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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.

    Pros & Cons


    • 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

    How To Choose the Best Windows for Your Home

    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.

    Ready to choose windows for your home? Get a free estimate from one of the top window providers below:

    FAQs: Types of Windows

    What Is the Most Energy-efficient Window Type?

    Fixed windows like picture and glass block models are typically the most energy efficient. They don’t have seals or openings prone to air leaks and moisture damage.

    When it comes to operable windows, many people consider casement and awning windows to be the most efficient. They have watertight seals and locking mechanisms that keep outdoor temperatures out.

    Regardless of window type, glass panes are the most important components to consider for energy efficiency. Choosing double or triple-pane windows with Energy Star-rated glass and low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings is the best way to ensure low thermal transfer from the outside to the inside of your home. This type of glass is available for virtually any window you buy.

    What Materials Are Windows Made Of?

    Window framing consists of several different materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of window materials are vinyl, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, and composites.

    We recommend researching the pros and cons of each material before purchasing it to find the one that meets your budget, climate, energy efficiency, and aesthetic needs.

    Where Can I Buy New Windows?

    You can purchase new windows through independent retailers or big-box home improvement stores like Home Depot. We generally recommend buying windows through specialty companies like Champion Windows, Andersen Windows, Window World, or Castle Windows. These businesses have years of experience producing high-quality window products in many of the styles we listed

    Editorial Contributors
    Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Senior Staff Writer

    Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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