In This Guide: Common Window Types | Speciality Window Types | Energy-efficient Windows | When To Replace Your Windows | Conclusion | FAQs

Selecting windows is an important but sometimes overwhelming part of designing or updating your home. The best window brands offer various window styles and types to fit your home and budget, and each type serves a different purpose.

We at the This Old House Reviews Team have researched the 10 most common types of windows to help you understand your options and make the right choice for your project.

 


 

The 10 Most Common Types of Windows

Each window type serves a different purpose. Here are the most common types.

  • Awning Windows
  • Bay and Bow Windows
  • Casement Windows
  • Double-hung Windows
  • Picture Windows
  • Single-hung Windows
  • Sliding Windows
  • Skylights
  • Storm Windows

Awning Windows

Awning windows have hinges that allow them to open outward from the top. They look like an awning when open, which is where they get their name. These windows are suitable for rainy climates because they can be open during storms, allowing fresh air to enter while protecting you from the elements.

It’s best to install awning windows on an upper floor. They can obstruct walkways when opened because they stick out horizontally. Awning windows cost an average of $420 to $760 per window.

Pros and Cons of Awning Windows

✔ Airtight seal when closed
✔ Can remain open in the rain
✔ Easy to operate

✘ Can obstruct walkways when open
✘ Mechanical parts can wear out

Bay and Bow Windows

Bay and bow windows are beautiful focal pieces that let in lots of natural light and provide sweeping views of your surroundings. These windows consist of multiple large panes of glass that protrude from the home. Bow windows are curved, while bay windows are more angled.

Bay windows have at least three panes of glass and usually cost between $500 and $2,500. Bow windows are made of at least five curved glass panes and cost a minimum of $1,000.

Pros and Cons of Bay and Bow Windows

✔ Add interesting architectural detail
✔ Allow lots of natural light
✔ Provide extra square footage

✘ Expensive to replace
✘ Require special knowledge and skill to install

Casement Windows

Casement windows typically open left to right using a crank, similar to a door. Their design makes it easy to control airflow when open, creating a strong, weathertight seal when closed. Casement windows can cost anywhere from $150–$1,000, depending on your window measurements.

Pros and Cons of Casement Windows

✔ Easy to control airflow
✔ Simple operation
✔ Weathertight seal promotes energy efficiency

✘ Mechanical crank can wear out easily
✘ Susceptible to weather damage if left open 

Double-hung Windows

Double-hung windows are another popular window type. We surveyed 1,000 homeowners and found that they were the second most popular selection behind custom windows, with 26.4% of homeowners choosing to install them.

Double-hung windows slide along a vertical track to open and close. They can be opened from the top or bottom and offer good ventilation and easy cleaning. Double-hung windows have a classic look that can fit a range of home styles. They’re generally easy and affordable to install, costing $150–$650 each.

Pros and Cons of Double-hung Windows

✔ Affordable pricing
✔ Easily installed
✔ Widely available

✘ Can be difficult to operate
✘ Potential for slipping problems to develop

Picture Windows

Picture windows are fixed, meaning they don’t open. Though they don’t provide airflow, they have excellent weather resistance and create unobstructed views of your landscape. They’re made from one sheet of glass fitted into the frame, like a picture.

Picture windows can come in a unique shape or size and often need to be customized. They range in price from $80–$800.

Pros and Cons of Picture Windows

✔ Can be customized to fit your space
✔ Less expensive than other window types
✔ Offer an unobstructed view

✘ Can be difficult to clean and maintain
✘ Don’t provide ventilation

Single-hung Windows

Single-hung windows are made of two panes. The bottom portion slides up and down to open, while the upper one remains fixed. Single-hung windows are one of the most popular types. They’re affordable and easy to install, making them a sound choice for those on a budget. They usually cost $100–$400.

Pros and Cons of Single-hung Windows

✔ Affordable
✔ Straightforward installation
✔ Widely available

✘ Difficult to clean
✘ Problems can require total replacement

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows are similar to single- or double-hung windows, except they open horizontally. They provide a fair amount of ventilation, and there aren’t any breakable mechanical parts. Standard-size slider windows range from $150–$600. Full-size sliding glass doors are more costly at $1,000–$2,500.

Pros and Cons of Sliding Windows

✔ Durable and easy to operate
✔ Inexpensive to install
✔ Low-maintenance

✘ Challenging to clean
✘ Frame can obstruct views

Skylights

Skylights are built into the roof and are a great solution for those seeking to add natural light to a room with limited wall space. Skylights can be fixed or vented. Though most skylights don’t open completely, they can provide extra airflow.

Skylight installation can be expensive because the windows are built into the roof. The average cost is $900–$2,400

Pros and Cons of Skylights

✔ Can provide passive solar heat
✔ Interesting architectural detail
✔ Lots of natural light

✘ Difficult to clean and maintain
✘ Faulty installation can cause leaks and roof damage

Storm Windows

Storm windows come in permanent or removable options. They’re usually installed inside or outside regular windows to provide an extra layer of protection and insulation. They’re very affordable, averaging $150–$450. However, these costs can add up if you’re protecting all of the windows on your home, totaling around $5,000.

Pros and Cons of Storm Windows

✔ Eliminate condensation and reduce noise
✔ Provide protection from harsh weather conditions
✔ Reduce heating and cooling costs

✘ External installation can be challenging
✘ Require regular cleaning and maintenance to remain functional

 


 

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Speciality Window Types

There are also several specialty window types. We’ve detailed them below.

  • Custom windows: Custom windows can fit practically any size or shape. They’re a great option if you have a space where you want windows, but standard sizes won’t fit.
  • Egress windows: Egress windows are designed to open easily and are used in basements and attics as an emergency exit in the event of a fire or another disaster.
  • Hopper windows: Hopper windows are similar to awning windows. However, they open inwards from the top rather than outwards from the bottom.
  • Garden windows: Garden windows protrude from an exterior wall, similar to a bay window. They’re often installed above a kitchen sink and provide a shelf to put plants, acting like a mini greenhouse.
  • Glass block windows: Glass block windows are common in basements and bathrooms. They’re made of thick glass blocks that are translucent but not clear, providing privacy and security while allowing light in.
  • Jalousie windows: Jalousie windows are made of glass slats set into a frame. They were designed to provide venting in humid climates and can be opened and adjusted like blinds to control airflow.
  • Transom windows: Transom windows are placed above doors and were originally designed to allow air and light to pass between rooms, even if the doors were closed.
  • Shaped windows: Shaped windows are essentially picture windows that aren’t rectangular. They’re generally meant to add architectural detail and don’t open.

 


 

Energy-efficient Windows

Many window brands offer energy-efficient options, such as double- and triple-pane glass, argon gas between panes, and low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows can reduce your carbon footprint, maintain your home’s temperature, and help you save money on your electricity bills. Energy Star-certified windows can save you up to 12% on your power bills.

 


 

When To Replace Your Windows

If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to replace your windows.

  • Cold glass or drafts: Your windows might not be insulating properly if you feel a draft or the glass is cold. 
  • Condensation buildup: Condensation buildup indicates damage to the seals. Excess condensation can lead to problems such as mold and mildew, so it’s best to address this issue quickly. Though seals can sometimes be replaced, this problem often requires total window replacement.
  • Decreased functionality: If it’s become more difficult to open or close your windows, something may be broken. It could be faulty hardware that’s easily remediated, or it could be that a component needs replacement.
  • Increased utility bills: If your windows aren’t working properly, your heating and cooling system will work overtime to keep a consistent temperature, leading to higher utility bills.

 


 

Our Conclusion

Homeowners have many different types of windows to choose from. Whether installing new windows or replacing existing ones, we recommend working with a professional installer to make the process as smooth as possible. A professional can explain your window options and help you decide which design works best for your project.

It’s best to request quotes from multiple installers to compare quotes, warranties, and other factors before deciding. Use our tool below to find installers near you.

 


 

FAQs About Types of Windows

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