What is the difference between different types of windows?

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In a previous post, we talked about the importance of choosing energy-efficient windows and doors in order to lower heating costs and reduce your utility bills. Now it’s time for the fun part: learning about the different types of windows, window styles and applications. (We’ll be consulting Home Depot’s excellent Windows Buying Guide for this post.) Whether you only thought there was one type of window (the kind that open) or can accurately describe the different between and awning window and a picture window, there’s definitely a lot to learn here. Before you replace windows, it’s important to learn as much as you can. Let’s get started!

Different Window Styles

Awning Windows: You’re most likely to find awning windows above other entryways, like other doors and windows. That’s because their main function is to provide air circulation and ventilation, even in the midst of rain or other weather conditions. They tend to open vertically, making use of a hand-crank mechanism to allow for easy opening and closing (especially if you have really tall doors and windows). They’re also a great source of light, which you may want to consider if your doors are constructed out of wood, metal or other opaque materials. After all, more natural light means you’ll use less electricity to illuminate your home during the day.

Bay Windows:

Also referred to as bow windows, bay windows are stylish additions to any room where they’re installed. Usually consisting of three separate panes (one large flush window with two adjacent side windows angled inwards), bay windows provide a large source of natural light. Their open design also gives the illusion of greater space. This makes them great for kitchens, dining rooms, or any other room where you may have many people gathered at one time. We’d also like to reiterate that buying energy-efficient windows is especially important when it comes to bay windows. Since bay windows take up a large area by design, they also have a greater potential for losing heat – which is why picking energy-certified windows is important when adding or replacing bay windows.

Picture Windows

Just as front doors are the centerpiece of entryways, picture windows are the showstopper of window options. Eclipsing bay windows in size, picture windows provide expansive display area, making them perfect for showing off your backyard garden or manicured front lawn. However, they come with one caveat: picture windows do not open. This makes them ill-suited as a kitchen window (especially if you tend to set off the smoke alarm while you’re cooking). Picture windows are also wasted on areas that don’t provide something particularly gorgeous to look at (for example, the side of your house). Picture windows are usually the focal point of any room they’re installed in, so make sure that you’re comfortable furnishing a room around them; otherwise, consider a bay window for similar lighting, but more flexibility.

Stay tuned for next week Window and door replacement blog post, where we conclude our look at different window styles.