With summer here, the best time to take care of the windows is now! Whether you are remodeling your entire house or just looking into replacing some windows, there are many different types of windows to choose from.
Learn about the differences among the most common house window types and materials and choose your favorite! The investment will instantly boost your home’s value and increase curb appeal!
All the windows of my heart I open to the day. -John Greenleaf Whittier
Types of Windows
There are many different types of windows to choose from, but here are the most common window frame types:
Slider windows, as the name implies, open by sliding left or right. There is at least one operating window that slides horizontally, over or past the other window, via a built-in track.
This home window type is often found in modern or contemporary-style houses, and it’s used when homeowners want the view to be maximized, since they offer a large expanse of glass.
- Simple design and maintenance
- Long lasting performance
- You can attach a fixed screen to avoid bugs
- Since the panels are usually big, you have an additional emergency exit when open
- Weatherproofing may be difficult
- Not as energy efficient as other types of windows
Single or Double Hung Windows
Single and double hung windows have two sashes that slide vertically, up and down in the frame. On the single version, only the bottom part of the window operates, with a fixed top sash, while on the double version both parts move.
These home window types are very popular across the country, and they can be used as the main type of window in a home.
- Easy to clean and repair (single version is not as easy to clean)
- Doesn’t take up exterior space
- Easy to add and remove screens
- Reduced ventilation: only half of the window is able to be open at any given time
- Not as energy efficient: double hung windows are known to leak more air than almost any other window.
Casement windows open outward, allowing light and air to enter at the same time. They are generally operated with a hand-crank mechanism, hinged on the left or right.
Many types of casement windows are becoming more and more popular in newer homes, due to their versatility and energy efficiency, and they’re very typical in the western part of the US. They can also be used as the main window type.
- Difficult to break
- Excellent for ventilation
- Very energy efficient: they seal tight when closed, reducing electricity costs.
- Perfect for warm areas
- Quality insulation
- Not the most secure
These type of windows are hinged at the top, and open outward. They’re usually operated with a crank handle.
They’re often used above a stationary (or fixed) window, and they’re perfect for smaller spaces that require privacy, such as bathrooms, or where there’s not much exterior wall, such as basements.
- Improved insulation
- Perfect for hard to reach places
- Can ventilate even if it’s raining
- An unobstructed view
- Not the most secure
- Higher Maintenance
Stationary Windows (a.k.a Fixed or Picture Window)
If you’ve ever wondered “What is a stationary window?”, then here’s the answer: these windows are typically large expanses of fixed glass, which can’t be opened.
This type of window is often found in homes with beautiful views, with high ceilings, above doors or other operable windows or where airflow is not important.
- Excellent lighting
- Enhanced view of the outdoors
- Excellent weatherproofing
- Does not allow airflow
- Heat gain
- Can’t be used as an escape route
- Needs a stronger glass option that wouldn't be easy to break into
Transom windows are narrow, can be operating or not and they are often found above a door or window to let additional light into the space.
- Extra natural lighting
- Creates visual interest
- Improved ventilation
- More difficult to clean
Bay or Bow Windows
Bay or bow windows protrude out from the exterior of the house, providing more interior space. They’re usually a combination of stationary windows with double-hung or casement windows.
These types of windows are mainly used in kitchens and family room. The design adds dimension and complexity to the wall, making it look more interesting.
- Architectural enhancement
- Enhanced view
- More floor space
- More natural light
- Extra airflow with lateral windows
- Increased natural heat if no shades are added
- Since it protrudes, it may block walkways
Wondering what is a hopper window? This window type is basically a casement window flipped on its side, opening inwards.
This type of window is often installed in bathrooms, basements and other compact spaces, where ventilation is very important. Its angle prevents dirt and leaves from blowing into the house.
- Maximum ventilation
- Excellent energy efficiency
- Improved insulation
- Perfect for small areas
- Reduced Humidity
- Limited privacy
- Possible water entry
Jalousie windows (or louvered windows) are like a glass shutter, with glass slats set in metal clips, which are open in unison.
These windows are perfect for warm areas or where AC is not needed. They’re not as popular as they once were, but they are effective at ventilating, offering benefits to homeowners in warmer climates.
- Enhanced airflow
- Easy repair
- Can be slightly open during light rain
- Perfect for warm weather
- Reliable security
- Poor Insulation
- Less water resistance
Storm windows are mounted outside normal windows for protection and added insulation during winter or bad weather.
This type of window is an affordable and easy solution to increase the efficiency of older, single-pane windows. Homeowners often choose to add a storm window during winter rather than replacing the current windows for more efficient models.
- Enhanced insulation
- Improved efficiency
- Higher maintenance
- Can cause damaging condensation
Wondering what is the best material for windows? There are many different materials used for windows, but don’t worry: here are some of the best window frame materials:
The most traditional material used for windows is still the most popular, due to its versatility and excellent insulation properties. It is strong and easy to work with, it’s a natural insulator and it also complements the architecture. It can be painted any color or stained and sealed to show off the wood grain.
Wooden windows require more maintenance compared to vinyl or fiberglass, as it needs regular sealing, staining, and painting to prolong its performance and beauty. Hardwood is durable and only needs the protection of oil, but it is also more expensive.
If weight is an issue, then aluminum window frames are ideal. They’re strong: a thin aluminum frame can support a very large expanse of glass. While modern options are durable and are almost maintenance-free, this material has very poor insulation. A thermal break is needed to reduce heat flow.
Vinyl window frames are becoming more and more popular nowadays, as they require little maintenance. This material offers excellent heat and sound insulation if it’s double glazed. It also has good moisture resistance, doesn’t require painting and you can choose the finish you prefer: white, wood-grain, or others.
Fiberglass window frames can be filled with insulation, resulting in a better thermal performance compared to wood or uninsulated vinyl. The material is also better for larger windows, as it can withstand the stress much better than vinyl.
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Have you chosen what your new windows will look like? Then contact us to make it reality or request a quote to find out how much would it costs!