What Are Jalousie Windows? (2024 Guide)
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Jalousie windows, also called louvered windows, increase indoor airflow and natural ventilation. These windows are best suited to warm climates that receive lots of rain, so they’re most common in places such as Florida and Hawaii. In fact, it can be difficult to find them in other parts of the country. Our guide details the pros and cons of jalousie windows and their average replacement costs.
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What Are Jalousie Windows?
Louvered windows date back to the mid-18th century, though they didn’t become popular in the United States until the 1940s. These windows open to allow in breezes during rain storms while keeping water out.
In the U.S., jalousie windows are mostly found on midcentury homes in warmer climates. They’re also found on older homes in cooler climates in rooms such as enclosed porches and sunrooms where insulation isn’t a priority. Their popularity declined when air conditioning became more widely available in the 1960s, decreasing the need for natural ventilation. Now, jalousie windows are difficult to find, though a few leading window companies still carry them.
How Do Jalousie Windows Work?
Jalousie windows are composed of a series of wooden, acrylic, or glass slats set in a track and joined by a louver. This allows all the slats to open and close at the same time, usually by means of a hand crank. They work on the same principle as Venetian blinds, except the window material acts as the blinds. If the slats are opaque, the window blocks most of the light when the slats are closed. These windows are intended to let in fresh air during rain storms while keeping rain from getting through the window frame.
How Much Do Jalousie Windows Cost?
Jalousie windows are difficult to find, but they’re relatively inexpensive. We found jalousie windows starting as low as $100 when we browsed home improvement retailers online.
Jalousie window installation is a job best left to professionals, particularly if the window is large or located above a building’s ground floor. You can contact local window installers for a per-hour estimate.
Experienced do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) may consider installing their own jalousie windows to save on labor costs. The new windows themselves cost between $170 and $380, but you’ll also need the appropriate tools, lumber, and sealant to install a window. We only recommend DIY window installation for smaller, ground-floor windows.
*Costs in this article sourced from contractor estimates used by Angi.
What Are the Benefits of Jalousie Windows?
Although they’re no longer popular, jalousie windows do have some benefits for specific climates.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of jalousie windows is the ease with which they allow homeowners to let fresh air inside, particularly while it’s raining. When kept at an angle, the slats can block rain while still providing ventilation, so your home’s interior won’t become stuffy during storms.
Jalousie windows with glass panes let in a great deal of sunlight, and there are no sashes to obstruct your view outside. For rooms like porches, these windows can provide a connection between a home’s indoor and outdoor space.
It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to pop out a damaged slat and replace it. You don’t need to replace the full pane as you would with a standard window, and you can often perform the repair yourself.
The look of a jalousie window brings to mind the relaxing atmosphere of beach or island life that’s hard to replicate with a standard window.
What Are the Drawbacks of Jalousie Windows?
Jalousie windows are no longer popular for a few reasons. In many cases, they’re simply not practical.
Air and Water Leakage
Even when closed, the slats of a jalousie window don’t form a perfect seal against the elements. Cold air from outdoors can still leak in. Additionally, even though they’re designed to keep rain out, the same wind that provides ventilation can also blow water between the slats when they’re open.
Poor Energy Efficiency
The primary reason that jalousie windows declined in popularity was the advent of air conditioning. Not only did AC replace the function of these windows, but the two now work at cross purposes within a home—jalousie windows allow cooled air to leak outside, making AC units work harder and driving electric bills up. The same would happen to heated air in cold weather, as jalousie windows offer little to no insulation.
The same design function that allows jalousie windows to be easily repaired also makes them less secure. It’s easy to pop out a slat and reach in to operate the louver. If there is glass in these windows, it can’t be double- or triple-paned, making it easier to break.
Many areas with warm climates also have significant insect populations. Along with air and water, jalousie windows can allow insects and other pests inside, especially when open. They also aren’t compatible with traditional window screens, so you’d need to purchase specialty screens as well.
What Are Alternatives to Jalousie Windows?
Other window types allow ventilation while doing a better job at keeping the elements out and treated air in. These types of windows are also much easier to find and are available with double or triple panes for extra security and insulation.
- Awning windows have hinges at the frame’s top and open outward, improving airflow while allowing rain to roll down and away. However, they seal tightly and are compatible with traditional screens.
- Casement windows are very similar to awning windows, but the hinges are on the side of the frame.
- Picture windows allow a maximum amount of natural light into a room. Since they don’t open, they also keep air leakage to a minimum.
- Sliding windows have sashes that open horizontally, making them very easy to open for improved airflow, but they offer far better insulation.
Jalousie windows are usually only best in specific circumstances—for example, if you live in a safe neighborhood in a warm climate and have no air conditioning. These windows also work well in an enclosed porch or sunroom that doesn’t share air conditioning with the rest of your home. Otherwise, the best replacement windows are probably a style that’s more secure and energy-efficient.
FAQ About Jalousie Windows
What is the purpose of jalousie windows?
The purpose of jalousie windows is to allow for natural ventilation, even during a rainstorm. The slats are intended to let fresh air in while letting rain slide down and away from the window.
Do they still make jalousie windows?
They still make jalousie windows, but you may have trouble finding them. They’re much easier to get in Hawaii than in other states.
What is the difference between jalousie and louver?
Sometimes “jalousie” and “louver” are used interchangeably. Other times, a louvered window refers to one with fixed rather than adjustable slats. Additionally, “louvre windows” is the British term for jalousie windows.
What is the difference between jalousie windows and awning windows?
Awning windows only have one glass pane that opens from a hinge at the top of the frame. Jalousie windows have multiple panes or slats on a single track that can open in parallel similar to window blinds. Awning windows also seal more tightly and can be used with or without internal window screens.
What is the most popular design style for jalousie windows?
The most popular design styles for jalousie windows are an island or beach style interior decor, since they’re most popular in these climates.
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