Picking a Style
On average, good-quality, standard-size double-hung and sliding windows cost about $18 per square foot, while casement models go for $25 to $30. (Remember, you'll pay more for hardwood frames, energy-efficient glazing and upgraded hardware.) Whichever style you choose, the windows should complement the character of your home, not contrast with it. That doesn't mean you can't have a little fun when planning your project; just don't force a totally foreign style on your house. For example, if you live in a Cape, colonial or Victorian, stick with multiple-pane, divided-light windows and experiment with the number of panes per window. Sketch out some cottage-style variations where the bottom sash of a double-hung window is taller than the top sash. Ranch-style homes are more adaptable: You can create a contemporary look with casements, sliders and awnings; or go traditional with divided lights. Large spaces — especially two-story areas like great rooms and entryways — can handle bold designs. Arched and round-top windows emphasize room height, as do pediment installations, while stacking or banding windows together accentuates vertical or horizontal lines. You can have virtually any size and shape window custom-fabricated. Just be sure the ones you choose are proportional to your home. An easy way to do that is to hang windows so their tops, rather than their bottoms, line up evenly (the typical measurement is 80 in. above the floor, level with the doors). This simple baseline keeps the outside looking orderly. You can create unique effects by combining window types. Examples include quarter-circle fixed panes that top off tall casements or a square awning set in the middle of a round window. If you go this route, make sure the end result is "architecturally correct" — window-speak for aligning the sashes and muntins of different window units. Your contractor or window dealer can steer you to fabricators who offer this detail.
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