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Glimpse Into Window Styles: Analyzing Types of Windows

Mar 24, 2021 9:00:00 AM

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How much have you ever really thought about windows? Windows dramatically change the appearance of a property, but many people don't directly think about window styles. Instead, they think about the whole appearance and feel of the property. But understanding your windows can make a huge difference when you're trying to renovate your property. Window replacement can make sure that your home looks exactly how you want it.

How Have Windows Evolved Over Time?

In just the last two decades, there have been significant improvements in window technology. In the old days, windows were often small and single-paned. That means they were just one pane of glass that transferred heat and cold very easily. They were kept small for reasons to do with insulation. Now, double-paned windows are far more common, with an air gap between two sheets of glass that provides better insulation. Because of new materials and builds, windows can now be much larger and more intricate.

What Are Some Types of Windows?

Before we even go into window styles, we need to take a look at the materials that windows are often made from.

  • Wood. Traditionally, most frames were wood. But this isn't as well-insulated as many other options. Wood requires maintenance because it needs to be occasionally resurfaced. It can be vulnerable to pests like termites and can warp over time, which can lead to the window not closing or opening correctly. It can also lead to further issues with insulation because the window may not entirely fit the frame.
  • Vinyl. Vinyl is the most common option today because it's lower maintenance than wood frames. Vinyl can come in many colors and styles, is easy to install, and it's affordable. Because most frames are painted, vinyl can look identical to traditional wood frames.
  • Fiberglass. Fiberglass provides even better insulation and durability than vinyl, though it can be less affordable. At eight times stronger than vinyl, fiberglass offers significant longevity which is a significant boon.

In addition to the above, there are still single sheets of glass and double sheets of glass, which are far more insulating.

What Are Some Styles of Windows?

Materials are one thing, but the style of the window determines how it actually looks and feels. In addition to being able to choose different materials and colors, you can choose the style of the window as well.

  • Fixed or picture. A fixed or picture window doesn't open. It's a sheet of glass held within a frame. This is by far the most common type of window. Most old windows were fixed or picture windows. They are not frequently used today because of the need for air circulation. But they may be used for decorative windows or aesthetic purposes. 
  • Casement window. A casement window is like a fixed or picture window but the window does swing outward. It's a very simple type of window, but it can be a little difficult to use because it needs the room to swing. 
  • Single hung window. A single hung window has two pieces of glass, but only one of them will open. This is more affordable than a double hung window with most of the same utility, as the bottom half can be open, and most will not need to open the top.
  • Double hung window. A double hung window is a window that has two pieces of glass and both of them open. They are a little more complex and expensive than single hung but do provide more versatility.
  • Slider windows. Rather than glass swinging out, as with a single hung or double hung window, a slider window has one piece of glass slide over another piece of glass. These slider windows are better for the economy of space.
  • Bay or bow window. A bay or bow window is the most significant and dramatic addition to a home, in terms of windows. Bay or bow windows just out of the exterior structure of the property. A bay window has three segments, but a bow window may have many more. Adding a bay or bow window can add to the square footage of a room.

As you can see, the style of window has as much to do with appearance as it does utility. If you want a dramatic window that changes the footprint of a room, a bay or bow window is best. If you need a simple window that's purely decorative rather than utilitarian, a fixed or picture window could do.

Are you considering window replacement? We're happy to help you figure out which windows are right for you.