Updating the windows in your home is one way to make a drastic and immediate improvement in many aspects of your home’s actual and aesthetic value. With a wide range of styles, colors, and levels of energy efficiency, the choices can at first be a bit overwhelming. Here is a brief description of 10 common window types to help you research your options and discuss them with your window professional.
Fixed Window – This term applies to any window that does not open, such as a picture window, for example. A fixed window is best used in an area where airflow is not important, but the homeowner is interested in adding a source of natural light, or access to a scenic view. Often a picture window is flanked by casement or double-hung windows for the best of both worlds.
Casement – Casement windows are hinged vertically, on either the right or left hand side, like a door, and are operated with a crank. These offer excellent ventilation, and seal completely when shut to prevent air leakage and reduce noise.
Double Hung – This is possibly the most common window type in any home. A double hung window consists of two sashes, or moveable panels, that slide vertically to open or close. Newer models often tilt inward for easy access when cleaning the outside of the window, but this type of window is considered to be one of the least energy efficient windows available in today’s market.
Single Hung – Similar in almost all aspects to a double hung window, with the exception that only the lower sash can be opened to allow ventilation. Single hung and double hung windows are ideal for use in an area where the homeowner wishes to have a window that will not obstruct passing foot traffic, such as a walkway or deck.
Awning – An awning window is similar to a casement window, but is hinged horizontally rather than vertically, so as to swing up from the bottom. An awning window is designed to maximize light and air flow. These are often installed above patio or terrace doors, to provide additional light and air flow in entrance areas. When installing an awning window in such a location, it is a good idea to consider self-cleaning glass due to the accessibility issues.
Jalousie – Also called a louvered window, a jalousie window is comprised of horizontal narrow strips of glass, set in metal strips, which can be opened in unison with a crank. Though not very popular today, they were very common in the mid-century. These windows are suitable for warm weather regions. They allow great air flow, and provide reasonable security, but do not seal completely and so allow heat transfer from outside the structure.
Bay – Bay windows are a great choice for a homeowner or architect who wishes to provide interesting angles and projections on the building structure. Often used in kitchens and family rooms, these windows provide an excellent light source which can enter from multiple angles, and the lateral panels can be opened to provide some airflow.
Skylight – This term refers to a window installed in a ceiling. Some models (called roof windows) are fixed, while others may open for ventilation. Skylights can provide access to natural light in an area where other windows may not be practical, such as an attic or closet space. Options include remote controlled blinds or coated glass to minimize exposure to UV rays.