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10 Most Common Types of Windows (2024 Guide)

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Author Icon By Jessica Wimmer + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by: Mark Howey Updated 01/26/2024

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’ve researched the 10 most common types of windows to help you understand your options and make the right choice for your project. We’ve included the pros and cons for each as well as average window prices.

*Cost figures in this article are based on 2023 repots from The Home Depot, Window Price Guide, and 5Estimates.



The 10 Most Common Types of Windows

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

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Window Replacement

Window replacement typically costs $300–$2,100 per window, depending on the window type.

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Window Repair

Window repair typically costs $100–$600, but it can vary based on the type of repair.

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Window Cleaning Cost

Window cleaning typically costs $150–$300 for an entire home.

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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.

Image credit: Adobe Stock

They can obstruct walkways when opened because they stick out horizontally. Awning windows cost an average of $578–$1,042 per window.

Pros and Cons of Awning Windows

Pros Airtight seal when closed Can remain open in the rain Easy to operate
Cons 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.

Image credit: Adobe

Bay windows can be either be one window unit of three glass sections or can be framed and have three simpler windows. They usually cost between $2,300 and $4,900. 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

Pros Add interesting architectural detail Allow lots of natural light Provide extra square footage
Cons Expensive to replace Require special knowledge and skill to install

Casement Windows

Casement windows either open left or 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 $577–$1,603, depending on your window measurements.

Image credit: Adobe

Pros and Cons of Casement Windows

Pros Easy to control airflow Simple operation Weathertight seal promotes energy efficiency
Cons 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.

Image credit: Adobe

Double-hung windows have a classic look that can fit a range of home styles. They’re generally easy and affordable to install, costing $470–$1,967 each.

Pros and Cons of Double-Hung Windows

Pros Affordable pricing Easily installed Widely available
Cons Can be difficult to operate Require regular maintenance

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 of one glass unit fitted into the frame, like a picture.

Picture windows can come in a unique shape or size and often need to be customized. They’re affordable since they have no moving parts and range in price from $325–$788.

Image credit: Adobe

Pros and Cons of Picture Windows

Pros Can be customized to fit your space Less expensive than other window types Offer an unobstructed view
Cons Prone to excessive heat gain 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 $158–$1,700.

Image credit: Adobe

Pros and Cons of Single-Hung Windows

Pros Affordable Straightforward installation Widely available
Cons Less energy-efficient Poor ventilation

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows are similar to single-hung windows except that they open horizontally. They provide a fair amount of ventilation, and there aren’t any breakable mechanical parts. Standard-size slider windows range from $478–$1,200. Full-size sliding glass patio doors are more costly at $1,000–$2,500.

Image credit: Adobe

Pros and Cons of Sliding Windows

Pros Durable and easy to operate Inexpensive to install Low-maintenance
Cons Challenging to clean from the outside 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 it typically involves roofing, framing, and wall construction. The average cost is $600–$2,000 for a basic job and much more for complicated installations.

Image credit: Adobe

Pros and Cons of Skylights

Pros Can provide passive solar heat Interesting architectural detail Lots of natural light
Cons 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 $165–$300. However, these costs can add up if you’re protecting all of the windows on your home, totaling around $5,000.

Image credit: Adobe

Pros and Cons of Storm Windows

Pros Eliminate condensation and reduce noise Provide protection from harsh weather conditions Reduce heating and cooling costs
Cons External installation can be challenging Require regular cleaning and maintenance to remain functional

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. They’re often rectangular or semicircular windows placed on top of a door or another window in historic homes. Because they’re so high up and promote airflow, they’re go-to choices for bathroom windows. Most window installers charge $140–$373 for transom window installation.

Image credit: Adobe

Pros and Cons of Transom Windows

Pros Are stylish and architecturally interesting Increase natural sunlight and airflow Provide increased privacy for bedrooms and bathrooms
Cons Are difficult to reach Don’t open or close

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Specialty Window Types

There are also several specialty window types. We’ve detailed them below.
Arched windows: Also called half-moon windows, arched windows are rectangular with a rounded semi-circle at the top. They let more natural light into your home and offer a timeless look.
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 legally required in bedrooms, 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.
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. 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. These windows also qualify you for the Windows and Skylights Tax Credit, which provides a tax credit equal to up to 30% of your project’s cost (or a $600 maximum).

We’ve detailed some other energy efficiency features to consider below:

  • Argon gas: Many window manufacturers fill the space between glass panes with this odorless, colorless, and nontoxic gas. Argon gas is denser than air, so it insulates against the elements and heat exchange. This helps to preserve your home’s internal temperature and decrease energy bills.
  • Low-emissivity (low-e) coating: This is a thin, invisible metallic coating that window manufacturers place on the inner part of the window’s exterior pane. This prevents heat from escaping your home during winter and keeps heat outside during summer. The coating also protects your interior and furniture from fading and sun damage.
  • Multipane glass: Double-pane and triple-pane windows both block more heat than single-pane windows. They also offer insulation and soundproofing.  
  • Warm edge spacer: This spacer creates a seal around your window’s glass panes and frame. It also insulates the window and reduces heat transfer.
  • Weatherstripping: Many windows manufacturers design windows with weatherstripping because it creates a tight seal that keeps drafts out. We suggest looking for high-quality weatherstripping that includse fibrous materials, such as plastic or metal.

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.
Damage: Visible damage is a common reason for window replacement. You might be able to get by repairing a cracked window, but it’s best to prepare for window replacement if there’s extensive damage.
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

There are many different types of windows to choose from. Whether installing new windows or replacing old windows, we recommend professional installation. A professional can explain your options, offer affordable window replacement solutions, and help you choose a design that works best for your project.

It’s best to request quotes from multiple installers to compare quotes, warranties, and other factors before deciding. We’ve reviewed dozens of top window installers and recommend Renewal by Andersen for a personalized, hands-free experience or Champion Windows for discounts and multiple financing options.

Use our tool below to find installers near you.

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FAQ About Types of Windows

What is the most common type of window?

The most common types of windows are double- and single-hung. Most homeowners pair these windows with vinyl frames to create a valuable yet affordable replacement window.

What is the most energy-efficient style of window?

Picture and specialty windows are the most energy-efficient style of window because they don’t open. Casement and awning windows are good options if you want operable windows because they create a weathertight seal when closed.

How long do windows last?

Windows last an average of 15–30 years, depending on the window type, material, and local weather conditions.

What is the difference between a casement window and a double-hung window?

There are a few characteristics that differentiate casement windows from double-hung ones. Most notably, casement windows are hinged on the side and open outward, while double-hung windows slide up and down to open vertically.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our window ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each provider. We conduct research by speaking with company representatives, browsing product selections, analyzing window line specifications, and conducting focus groups and consumer surveys. We then score each provider against our review standards for window variety, value, trustworthiness and transparency, window features, and customer service to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale. 

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.