22 Types of Windows
- Metal Windows
- Wood Windows
- Vinyl Window
- Picture Windows
- Casement Windows
- Garden Windows
- Single Hung Windows
- Double Hung Windows
- Sliding Windows
- Glass Block Windows
- Bay Windows
- Bow Window
- Transom Windows
- Hopper Windows
- Storm Windows
- Arched Windows
- Awning Windows
- Window Wall
- Egress Windows
- Custom Windows
Whether you’re choosing replacement windows or outfitting a new construction project, the window type you choose can make a powerful statement about your style. Understanding the various types of windows at your disposal is an effective first step toward choosing the combination of window types that exactly fit your needs for both functionality and design.
Types of Window MaterialsWhen shopping for new windows, you’ll notice there are a few different types of materials to consider. These materials include:
1. Metal WindowsYou can find metal window frames in materials such as aluminum, iron, and steel. You’ll likely find that aluminum is the most common and cost-effective material for metal windows. In addition, aluminum windows are known for their durability, offering both strength and structural integrity.
Aluminum and other metal windows generally hold up well against storms and other extreme elements, and aluminum does not tend to rust. Aluminum windows can also be coated in a wide variety of paints and powders to match the look and feel of your home or office.
Aluminum is a fairly easy and malleable material to work with, so these metal frames can be used for just about any size or shape of window you’d like to install.
One point to consider with metal windows: they are not as energy efficient as other window materials, and these types of windows can release heat from your home during the winter. If you live in a milder climate, this may not be an issue, but if you experience harsh winters, you may want to consider other materials.
2. Wood WindowsWood windows can add a warm, sometimes rustic appeal to your home or business, but wood windows have other benefits besides their aesthetic design.
Quality wood frames generally cost a bit more than their metal or vinyl counterparts, but with the right care, they can be a great investment in both the design and the functionality of your home or business. Many people choose wood windows because of their warm and elegant appearance, but wood windows offer other benefits too.
For example, these types of windows are much better than their metal counterparts at providing effective insulation, making sure heat doesn’t escape the home during the winter. So, even though wood windows have a higher up-front expense, you’ll enjoy cost savings over the winter that make up for it.
Wood windows are also highly effective at blocking out sound, which may be helpful if you live in a high-traffic area that can otherwise mean lots of road noise. In addition, wood windows are extremely long-lasting and can be a cost-effective option if maintained correctly over time. You’ll just need to be careful and make sure you’re protecting the wood window frames from external forces, like humidity and insects.
3. Vinyl WindowsVinyl windows are the most common option you’ll see for replacement windows within modern homes and businesses. While vinyl windows made their first appearance in the 1950s, the technology has continued to improve over time, elevating their durability and appearance. In fact, today’s vinyl windows can last a lifetime with virtually no maintenance required.
Vinyl windows are extremely affordable and energy efficient windows. In fact, many vinyl options are Energy Star rated, meaning they’ll help keep your energy costs down throughout the year, especially when your area experiences extreme temperatures.
You’ll find that vinyl windows come in many different sizes and styles, so you have plenty of options when choosing replacement windows. They can also be installed quickly and affordably, and require very little maintenance. In fact, your biggest maintenance responsibility will simply be keeping the vinyl windows clean.
Types of Windows for Homes and BusinessesLet’s take a closer look now at some of the different types of windows you can choose for your home or business.
4. Picture WindowsIf you have an amazing view outside your home or business that you’d like to showcase, a picture window will allow you to display it in its full glory.
A classic picture window is a large, stationary window with no visual breaks or frames, which provides a clear and unobstructed view of the area around the home. Picture windows provide a space with the maximum amount of light and an unobstructed views of the outdoors. They are ideal for spaces where ventilation and egress are not necessary, and because they don’t open or close, they are highly energy efficient, remaining sealed at all times to keep heat inside the home.
Whether you’re wanting to feature a dramatic seashore, mountain range or lush lawn, your outdoor view becomes the superstar of the room when you install a picture window. The clean, unbroken view of a picture window has the added bonus of making your space feel larger and more expansive, truly bringing the outdoors inside your home.
5. Casement WindowsCasement windows are windows that swing out to open—either upward or to the side. These windows, which are also called crank windows, generally open and close easily and efficiently. As such, a casement window can be constructed of one solid glass pane. So, if you live or work in an area with amazing views, casement windows are an effective option for making sure those views go unobstructed.
Casement windows often are installed in pairs—one opening to the left; the other to the right. You’ll find that casement windows are an especially popular among those who prefer a clean, modern window design aesthetic. They are also an outstanding option for hard-to-reach areas of the home because they open and close so easily.
Casement windows also are highly energy efficient windows, helping you maintain your home’s ideal temperature.
6. Garden WindowsFor those who love to grow plants and flowers, garden windows can make a delightful addition to a home. Think of garden windows as mini bay windows designed to provide an indoor greenhouse area.
Typically featuring mini shelves, garden windows provide a place both to display plants and greenery and to make sure they receive plenty of sunlight as they grow. Many also feature side panels that can be opened to provide ventilation for plants. Most garden windows are installed in the kitchen or living areas. They are especially popular in kitchens for homeowners who like to grow herbs and other plants that can be used for cooking.
Garden windows are more expensive than other replacement window options, but they are also highly energy efficient, offer additional storage space, serve as a mini greenhouse, and may even add value to your home when it comes time to sell.
7. Single Hung WindowsSingle hung windows are designed to open vertically—the bottom sash of a single hung window moves up and down, while the top sash remains in place. Bonus: the stationary top sash can increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Single hung windows are generally very affordable, which makes them one of the most popular window options. You can find them in many different sizes and materials, so they are extremely versatile options as well. Single hung windows work extremely well within small and narrow spaces, and are considered standard builder grade windows found in most newly constructed modern homes.
If you’re looking to replace several windows at the same time, single hung windows are a nice option because they are easy to find and affordable to install.
8. Double Hung WindowsDouble hung windows, unlike their single hung counterparts, can open and close from both the top and the bottom sash. Not only do both parts of a double hung window move up and down, but they often also tilt out for easier access when it’s time to clean them.
They are typically available in a wide range of sizes, styles, and materials to fit any decor and budget. Because this type of window is extremely popular, double hung windows are relatively easy to find and are available in a wide range of window design options.
Double hung windows are generally affordable and also extremely energy efficient, which means you’ll spend less money on energy costs throughout the year. They are also very low-maintenance—so as long as you keep them clean, there’s not much else you need to do to maintain them over their lifetime.
9. Sliding WindowsSliding windows can make a dramatic addition to any room with elongated wall space. These types of windows typically feature two sections or sashes made from single windows. One of these sashes then slides horizontally over the top of the other sash to open or close. You can find slider windows that open from the left-hand side or the right-hand side—it just depends on the space and personal preference.
You also may see these windows referred to as gliding or slider windows. Depending on the size you choose, a sliding window can add space and depth to a room, opening it up and making it feel more expansive while providing excellent ventilation.
10. Glass Block WindowsGlass block windows make great accents for a home or business, allowing light in without lettings others see into the home or office. These windows also are great for security—as the name suggests, they are made of large, thick blocks of glass that are very difficult to break or bypass. You may also see these windows in frosted glass versions or with some type of patterned glass design that increases light flow without sacrificing privacy.
Glass block windows are popular for basements, bathrooms, and other spaces where privacy is paramount. The thickness of these windows also make them ideal for sealing out moisture, which is another reason they are very popular for basements and bathrooms.
11. Bay WindowsBay windows are lovely and stylish additions to any home, protruding from an exterior wall to create a small shelf within the home. Many homeowners choose to turn this shelf area into a reading nook or other quiet, cozy corner.
Bay windows rely on flat windows set into an angled window frame built outside of the home. The total bay window configuration typically includes a center window, from which two side windows are angled at 30 to 40 degrees. Side windows may be double hung or casement windows.
You’ll often find that bay windows cost more than their traditional counterparts, as they are larger and often require a skilled contractor for a successful installation.
12. Bow WindowsBow windows are extremely striking, featuring custom curved windows that form a circular area along the outside of the home. Most bow window setups consist of four or more connected windows that, together, extend the interior space of a home and provide a panoramic view.
Bow windows are an elegant centerpiece and offer tremendous curb appeal. Depending on their placement, this window configuration can provide the homeowner with extended views of the front or back yard area.
You may also see this window type referred to as a compass window. If you’re looking to achieve a Victorian aesthetic, the bow window is an excellent choice. You can also choose to install a combination of stationary windows and those that can be opened for effective ventilation.
13. SidelightsSidelights are narrow windows typically installed next to a door or a central, large window. Sidelights cam commonly be found on one or both sides of a front doorway, especially if a porch or entrance is much wider than a typical door width.
Sidelights are a great way to allow additional natural light into the home, and if you’re worried about maintaining privacy, you can choose sidelights with a frosted, tinted, or otherwise textured finish in order to let in light without making the inside of your home clearly visible to outsiders.
14. Transom WindowsTransom windows are often installed for decorative purposes, and provide little, if any, functionality. You’ll often see transom windows installed above doors or other windows in order to break up space and add a unique design element.
Transom windows commonly appear in a semicircle or crescent shape, but you can find them in square or rectangle shapes as well. You can add transom windows to create a unique design that allows more light into a space and creates a focal design point within the home.
15. Hopper WindowsHopper windows open from the top, usually by a crank or handle of some sort. These windows are effective options for small spaces where you still want to maximize both light and ventilation.
You may see hopper windows in basements, bathrooms, or other spaces that are traditionally on the smaller side. They are also known for their excellent insulation since they seal tightly against the window frame when closed all the way.
Fun fact: hopper windows originated in the 19th century as a way to keep dust and debris out from passing automobiles.
16. SkylightsSkylight windows are an effective and fashionable way to add natural light to a room, particularly when wall space is limited. Skylights function as windows for your roof, and they are installed in much the same manner as roof vents.
You can install skylight windows as static options or you can install versions that open and close. If you opt for a functional skylight, it is typically motorized and can be opened or closed with the push of a button. This not only allows for adequate ventilation, but also offers an exit route from the home if needed.
17. Storm WindowsStorm windows are specifically designed to withstand heavy winds and rain, and they are especially useful in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other powerful storms.
In general, a storm window can be installed within the same space/frame as a traditional window, so they make an outstanding choice for replacement windows. In addition, storm windows offer extra protection against drafts and heat loss during the winter. They can also prevent your cool, air-conditioned air from escaping during hot summers.
18. Arched WindowsArched windows have three straight sides, with a rounded top, making them stand out among the many types of windows for their unique shape. If you’re interested in adding architectural appeal and making a strong design statement with your windows, an arched window is an ideal choice.
It’s important to keep in mind that most arched windows do not open and close, so you may not want to use this option in places where functionality is a must.
19. Awning WindowsAwning windows open by being pushed outward from the bottom via a handle or latch. Once open, they create an awning that can protect the interior of the building from rain while still allowing for air flow.
Awning windows often are used in areas that experience a great deal of rain. This window style gives you the option of letting in fresh air without being forced to let inclement weather inside as well.
An awning window typically opens and shuts easily, and can be installed above or below fixed windows if your room needs additional airflow. Keep in mind, though, that because of the direction in which they open, awning windows aren’t as effective at creating airflow as other window options, such as casement windows.
20. Window WallA window wall is exactly what it sounds like—an entire wall composed of a series of windows. As you might expect, window walls offer a dramatic view of the outdoors, and they are a modern approach to home design.
A window wall is created by positioning a glazing between the concrete slabs of a structure. These slabs provide structural support, and the window wall is installed with a break between the glass, as well as slab covers to conceal the concrete.
Once confined to commercial structures, window walls have become increasingly popular in residential spaces as well.
21. Egress WindowsEgress windows are a special class of window designed specifically for safety. They provide a safe exit from a building in case of fire or other emergencies that might block the exit through a door.
In most homes, egress windows are installed in a basement, and certain areas of the United States may even require a home to feature at least one egress window in order to pass inspection.
22. Custom WindowsIf you have a unique space or design need that none of the window options above will meet, you may choose to have custom windows created to fit your exact needs and specifications. You can work with a professional to measure and define the space you need to fill, and they can create a custom design that’s just for you.
A Type of Window for Every NeedWindows provide more than just light and ventilation: they are an important way to express the distinct style of your home, and they can go a long way toward conserving energy and keeping the environment’s temperature as stable as possible.
And no matter the type or scope of your window project, our team at Rustica is eager to help. Reach out to our knowledgeable team of experts today to find out more about getting a free window consultation for your home or business.