Windows are an essential component of any residential structure, providing natural light, ventilation, and a connection to the outside world. They come in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes, each with unique features and benefits. In this article, we will explore the different types of residential windows, their functions, and their advantages and disadvantages.
The Most Common Window Types
Double-hung windows are the most common type of residential window in North America. They consist of two sashes that slide vertically within the frame, allowing for easy ventilation and cleaning. One of the advantages of double-hung windows is that they can be partially opened, providing a flow of fresh air while still maintaining some level of security. Double-hung windows also come in a variety of materials, including wood, vinyl, and fiberglass, and can be customized to fit any style or design.
While the ability to operate both sashes is appealing it should be noted that of all the window types we’ll mention, double-hung windows are the least efficient when it comes to air infiltration. It’s simply a function of the operable sashes. Since they both need to be able to slide freely it’s also a weak point when it comes to air leakage. They will employ weather stripping to help and a higher-quality window will perform better but, apples to apples, it’s going to be the least efficient overall.
Single-hung windows are the most common type of window found in residential homes. They consist of two sashes, one of which is fixed in place while the other can be raised and lowered to allow for ventilation. Single-hung windows are relatively affordable and easy to operate, making them a popular choice for homeowners. This window type strikes a good balance providing homeowners with a window that is more efficient than a double-hung while still having an operable sash for ventilation. This also reduces the cost of the window.
While more efficient than a double-hung it still loses out to the casement window type but the cost saving over both is the reason it is the most common window type found in homes today.
Casement windows open outward, using a crank mechanism to swing the sash to one side. This type of window provides a clear view of the outside world and excellent ventilation. They are particularly useful in areas where the wind blows in a particular direction, as they can be designed to open in that direction, helping to funnel cool air into the house. Casement windows are also easy to clean, as the sash can be fully opened, providing full access to both sides. Many people prefer this window type as it gives you the function of an operable window with any frame members obstructing the view like hung windows and sliders have. Due to the way that the sash swings instead of slides the casement is able to press and seal against its weather stripping making it very efficient.
The only downside to casement windows is their cost. Of all of the window types, they will be the most expensive due to their complexity to manufacture but if you want the best operable window for your home, look no further than this type.
Sliding windows consist of two sashes that slide horizontally within the frame, with one sash sliding over the other. This type of window is ideal for areas where there is limited space outside, such as a patio or a balcony, as it does not require any additional clearance. Sliding windows are also easy to operate and maintain, making them a popular choice for homeowners.
This window type is a great option for large openings where the homeowner would like to maximize the glass area but would still like the ability to open a portion of the window for ventilation.
Picture windows are large, fixed windows that do not open. They are designed to provide an unobstructed view of the outside world and are often used in areas where there is a particularly beautiful or unique view, such as a garden or a mountain range. Picture windows are also energy-efficient, as they do not have any moving parts, reducing the risk of air leakage and improving insulation.
In addition to being the most efficient window type, picture windows also tend to be less expensive since they are composed of frames and glass. If you’re replacing your windows picture windows are certainly worth consideration for these reasons.
Bay and Bow Windows
Bay and bow windows are a type of projecting window that extends outward from the main structure of the house. They are typically made up of three or more windows, with the center window being larger than the side windows. This type of window provides a wide-angle view of the outside world, as well as additional space inside the house. Bay and bow windows are also a popular design element, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to any home. This window type provides a panoramic view of the outside.
Awning windows open outward, using a hinge at the top of the frame. They are particularly useful in areas where there is a lot of rain, as they can be designed to open slightly outward, providing ventilation while keeping rainwater out. Awning windows are also easy to operate and maintain, making them a popular choice for homeowners. Because they are typically used as transoms, or windows above doors and other windows, they can remain open for a breeze while still keeping your home secure.
Skylights are windows installed in the roof of a house, allowing natural light to enter the room from above. They are particularly useful in areas where there is limited space for traditional windows, such as an attic or a basement. Skylights come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be customized to fit any design or style. Since they are on the roof and directly exposed to hail, sleet, and snow skylights are typically constructed of an impact-resistant material such as lexan instead of glass.