Who Can Install a Bay Window?

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated December 8, 2021
A bay window as seen from outside of a brick house
Photo: Susan Vineyard / Adobe Stock

Like most statement features, you'll want to let a professional install your picture-perfect bay window

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When it comes to adding a “wow factor” feature to your home, a bay window is at the top of the list. The purpose of a bay window is to let in more natural light than a typical window and create additional sitting, dining, or living space.

If you’re thinking about installing a bay window, you probably have a lot of questions about the installation process and whether you need to hire a professional to tackle the job. To help you plan out your bay window installation, let’s review who can put in this type of window and what to expect during the installation process.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Window Installer to Install a Bay Window

A bay window is a structure with three sections: the main picture window with two windows on each side, which are usually smaller. This structure sticks out from the side of the house, and it’s found in spaces such as a breakfast nook or a window seat. If you want to install a bay window, you’ll need to hire a window replacement and installation professional

Installing a bay window requires more specialized skills than a typical window installation because it involves making a large hole in the side of the house and then maneuvering a large structure into it. Since this structure protrudes from your house and supports the weight of anything near it, it must have a strong, well-constructed framing. Professional bay window installers will ensure that the window’s weight is evenly supported, avoiding safety hazards or expensive repairs in the future.

Can I DIY Installing a Bay Window?

Unless you have experience installing this type of window, you should hire a professional instead. As mentioned above, this is not a typical window installation, and a botched job could cause safety and structural issues. For example, the window could collapse due to insufficient support or be installed crooked.

Professional window installers are ideal for this type of project for several reasons:

  • They have experience using specialized equipment like nail guns and roof caps to quickly complete the bay window installation.

  • They possess the expertise to remove the existing window without damaging the surrounding walls and roof.

  • They have the proper team, which may take up to three people to lift the bay window into place.

Can I Hire a Contractor to Install a Bay Window?

Bay window with a lounge chair and dining area in the background
Photo: Dariusz Jarzabek / Adobe Stock

While it may seem reasonable to hire a general contractor to install your bay window, especially if you’ve worked with them in the past, it's not recommended for this job. As mentioned above, professional bay window installers have skills and experience specific to safely installing this tricky type of window, but not many general contractors do. 

If you find a local contractor who advertises bay window installation services, interview them about their experience and request references from previous customers. But primarily, you should stick to professional window installers for bay windows.

How Do Window Installers Build in a Bay Window?

Before starting the installation, the window installer will take detailed measurements of the area where the bay window structure will go to ensure the hole has the correct dimensions. Then, they will drill holes for the support cables and install the cables to support the new structure. They'll also cut an opening in the home and install the window framing. After that, the crew will drill holes in the window unit and fasten it into place for leveling purposes.

The next stage is to install temporary supports so that the crew can build and install the roof of the structure. Once they’ve installed the bay window, the team will complete the finishing touches, such as adding the trim, painting the structure, and putting shingles on the roof of the bay window.

While it's a labor-intensive job, a bay window installation crew can complete it anywhere between six to eight hours.

Types of Bay Windows

When you hire a window installer to build in your bay window, you’ll need to specify which type they’re installing. Check out the various types of bay windows.

Canted Bay Window

The name "canted" comes from the term "canted edge," which is an edge that is not at a 90-degree angle. In this case, that would refer to the side windows, which aren’t at a 90- degree angle from the main window. Canted is one of the most popular types of bay windows, and it’s flat in the front, with the sides angled around 45 degrees.

Box Bay Window

This kind of bay window is similar to the canted version, but the side windows are at a 90-degree angle, so it looks more like a box.

Oriel Bay Window

The term "oriel" means a projection from the wall of a building supported by architectural brackets that carry weight. Most bay windows extend to the ground so that the structure has enough support, but that’s not the case with oriel bay windows. These windows jut out from the structure and professionals can install them on any level of the house.

How Much Does a Bay Window Cost?

The average cost to install a bay window is $2,350, with the typical cost ranging between $900 and $7,100. You can expect to pay at the higher end of that range if you install a nook or sitting area in addition to the bay windows or if you’re using special double- or triple-glazed glass that saves on energy costs by preventing heat from escaping. In comparison, the typical window replacement costs an average of $650 per window.

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