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Window design plays a major role in architectural style. From Victorian homes to mid-century Case Study Houses, window styles help define the character of both new construction and historic homes. Home windows also play an integral role in energy conservation, which impacts both homeowners and the planet at large.

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4 Things to Consider When Selecting Windows

Homeowners have a wide array of window options from which to choose. If you’re selecting new windows for your home, there are four considerations to take into account before you make a decision.

  1. Energy efficiency: Windows are often the top culprit for heat loss and cooling inefficiencies. Modern, low-emittance (low-e) double-pane windows are an energy-efficient choice for both replacement windows and new construction.
  2. Architectural appropriateness: Windows can be the focal point of any building, so it is important to select windows and window treatments that complement the overall architectural style. A well-chosen exterior window adds curb appeal to your home.
  3. Cost: New window cost varies depending on the sash materials. Vinyl window frames tend to be the most affordable, which makes them the most common window in today's new construction. Wood window frames are common on older homes, but they can be expensive in today's market. Aluminum window frames enjoyed popularity in the twentieth century and fit with the mid-century modern aesthetic; however, they can be expensive and are less energy-efficient than wood or vinyl window sashes. Fiberglass frames are rarer and can be pricey, but they provide a somewhat more stylish alternative to the standby vinyl style.
  4. Prefab versus custom windows: You can save money on new construction by fitting your window openings to a window manufacturer's existing model. This way, you can buy a window off the shelf and slot it right into your home design. If you're swapping out an existing window in your home, you may need to purchase a custom window. This will take longer and add to your project time, but it may be the only option. If popular window styles do not fit your design needs, make sure you find the right window for your home.

17 Types of Windows

There are many types of windows available for homes and commercial buildings.

  1. Single-hung windows: Single-hung windows contain two window panes with a bottom sash that raises and lowers to let in fresh air. These are among the most common windows in home construction.
  2. Double-hung windows: Double-hung windows look like single-hung windows, but both the upper sash and lower sash move up and down. This allows for easy cleaning and greater airflow options. This window style is more versatile than single-hung windows, but it’s also more expensive.
  3. Casement windows: Casement windows swing outward or inward. You can operate them with a crank mechanism or simply by pushing the window with your hand. Casement windows allow more airflow than single-hung and double-hung windows, but they do not pair as well with window screens.
  4. Awning windows: An awning window hinges upward, much like a casement window hinges inward or outward.
  5. Hopper windows: Hopper windows operate like awning windows, only they open from the top rather than the bottom. This makes them popular in semi-basements and garden apartments where the windows are at the top of the walls.
  6. Slider windows: True to their name, these windows slide open and shut thanks to an interlocking grooved window frame that is typically made of aluminum.
  7. Picture windows: Picture windows are large panes of glass that do not open or close. They are among the best windows for bringing natural light into a home, but they provide no airflow.
  8. Arched windows: These windows feature an arch shape made up of smaller panes for structural integrity. Like picture windows, most arched windows are fixed windows that do not open or close.
  9. Bay windows: Bay windows jut outward from exterior walls, forming a cozy, light-filled nook or window seat in a room. Bay windows are popular in living rooms and the eating area of a kitchen.
  10. Bow windows: Bow windows jut out from an exterior wall in a curved shape. As with bay windows, bow window installation can be expensive when compared to other fixed window options.
  11. Garden windows: Another variant on the bay window model, garden windows jut out slightly to form a small shelf, often for indoor plants. While installing windows can require specialized training, adding a garden window can be one of the more achievable projects for DIY hobbyists.
  12. Jalousie windows: Jalousie windows involve a stack of horizontal window panes that open and close like blinds. The glass panes fit into one single window pane and are controlled with a crank lever. While stylish, they can make for challenges in window cleaning.
  13. Transom windows: Transom windows serve as accents around a larger windowpane or a door. Many front doors are bordered with transom windows, where many small panes fit together to form a whole.
  14. Storm windows: Storm windows typically slot into a shared window frame with a single-hung window. These windows add an extra layer of protection and insulation for extreme temperatures and volatile storms.
  15. Glass block windows: Glass block windows consist of thick rectangular pieces of glass that stack like bricks. They are often frosted or ridged. While cheaper than many standard window styles, they offer less visibility, but they work well as part of a larger interior or exterior wall.
  16. Egress windows: Egress windows open wide enough for a person to slide through them. They are often required by building codes as a safety mechanism for fires or floods. Egress windows are most common in basements.
  17. Skylights: Skylights are windows built into the ceiling. They can open like awning windows or casement windows, or they can be fixed in place.

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