Give your home a much-needed makeover with brand-new windows
Choosing new windows can be a daunting task, especially considering the sheer amount of options you have. Whatever your reason may be for replacing your windows, it’s important to do your research to figure out which ones will make your home quieter, more comfortable, and more secure.
There are multiple factors to consider when choosing new windows, from cost to efficiency to style. Here, we’ll break down the most popular window types, including their pros and cons, so you can assess which one is best for your home.
1. Double-Hung Windows
Of all the window types for homes, double-hung windows are the most common type found in homes built in the 1980s and later, according to Consumer Reports. Classic and easy to clean, double-hung windows can be opened from top to bottom, giving you excellent control of airflow. You can also install a window air conditioner unit, which isn’t the case with all windows.
The biggest downside with double-hung windows is that they do have higher air leakage rates than hinged or projecting windows, so they’re not the most energy-efficient choice. They also have the potential to become less secure if you don’t latch the top sash properly.
2. Single-Hung Windows
Double-hung and single-hung windows look and operate the same—they’re both vertical-sliding windows, with an upper and lower sash. Conveniently, both window types come in a wide variety of styles, with multiple framing options.
The only difference between the two is that, with single-hung windows, only the bottom half can open; the upper half remains fixed. Because of this, they tend to cost less than double-hung windows (that being said, both are still good budget options).
"Our go-to window for renovations or house flips is single-hung windows," says Bob Tschudi, an Expert Review Board member and Raleigh, North Carolina-based general contractor. "They are really well priced and offer the look and ventilation that most homeowners want."
Single-hung windows are more energy-efficient than double-hung windows, but still less energy-efficient than projecting or hinged windows. They’re a tad more difficult to clean since they only have one moveable sash, so you have to wash the exterior from the outside of your home.
And of course, since you can only open the bottom half, single-hung windows offer less ventilation.
3. Casement-Style Windows
Casement windows are one of the most unique types of windows. Unlike traditional double- or single-hung windows, casement windows open and close from a hinge, like a door. This means that, rather than pulling or lifting your windows open, you use a crank to open them outward or close them.
These types of windows can be used anywhere in the home, and they allow for full ventilation from top to bottom (they’re great for using above the sink or in the bathroom for this reason). Casement windows are also more weathertight than sliding windows, rendering them a more energy-efficient choice than other window types.
"We recently installed a casement window for a client who wanted light and the opportunity to get outside air behind their desk," says Tschudi. "The window was perfect—at the edge of the desk, looking out to the world."
There are several different parts of a window, and casement windows have more mechanical ones than others. Unfortunately, their complex parts can wear out and break over time.
4. Awning-Style Windows
Awning windows get their name from the protective awning that the window provides when it’s open—they hinge at the top and open outward, so you get ample ventilation without letting anything in (rain, snow, etc.).
This makes them an excellent choice for people who live in rainy climates but still like leaving their windows open. Like casement windows, awning windows open and close with the turn of a crank handle.
The biggest drawback to having awning windows is that, since they open outward, they may obstruct your walkway or porch. They’re also not the easiest to clean since you can’t clean the exterior from inside your home.
5. Hopper-Style Windows
Hopper windows are essentially the opposite of awning windows in that they’re hinged at the bottom rather than the top and can open inward or outward. Like awning and casement windows, hopper windows are generally weathertight, with low air leakage rates. They do tend to collect dirt and debris fairly easily when they’re open.
6. Fixed Windows
As their name suggests, fixed windows (or picture windows) are windows that use a glass pane within a frame that doesn’t open or close. Because they’re permanently sealed, these windows are used solely in rooms where lighting is important but ventilation isn’t.
Since they’re airtight, fixed windows do offer much better energy savings than other types of windows (although they’re not exactly energy-efficient). They’re also generally among the most affordable window types. If you just want a little extra natural light but don’t care about airflow, fixed windows may be a good choice.
7. Bay Windows
Quite possibly the most picturesque type of the bunch, bay windows consist of three windows arranged in an arc shape: a picture window in the middle, surrounded on both sides by smaller windows.
They’re usually floor to ceiling, so they let in a tremendous amount of natural light. They also act as a lovely focal point in the living room or kitchen (or any other room), and many people use them to create a cozy reading nook by adding in a window seat.
Bay windows definitely fall on the expensive end of the spectrum, and they require truly expert installation—poor installation can lead to problems.
Look into hiring a window company in your area to help you with this home improvement project. Also, because bay windows let in a lot of light, they can have a greenhouse effect on your home during the summertime.