Here are 5 indicators when it’s time to change your windows.
- You feel a draft of cold air in winter or heat coming through in the summer.
- There’s paint peeling around the exterior of your windows which may indicate condensation, mold or rot. If a hard tool pushes into the wood around your windows, it’s a sign the windows should be replaced.
- If you see cracks in the window panes or casing, they should be replaced.
- If you see condensation on the windows or between the window panes causing seal failure, that’s cause for replacement.
- Your windows no longer open or close properly.
Typically, expect to have to change your windows after 20 years.
The next question is what types of windows should you get. Here’s a huge list of options, styles and types.
Table of Contents
- A. Window Styles & Designs
- 1. Single Hung Window
- 2. Double Hung
- 3. Oriel
- 4. Cottage
- 5. Two-Panel Slider
- 6. Three-Panel Slider
- 7. Picture Window
- 8. Deadlites – Sash-Only
- 9. Hopper
- 10. Casement
- 11. Awning
- 12. Transoms
- 13. Different Shapes
- 14. Bay
- 15. Bow
- 16. Jalousie
- 17. Garden Style Window
- 18. Glass Block Window
- 19. Storm Window
- 20. Egress Window
- 21. Skylight
- 22. Round
- 23. Arched
- 24. Dormer Windows
- B. Window Panes
- C. Types of Window Frames
- D. Window Buying Guide
A. Window Styles & Designs
We kick off our types of windows guide with 15 window styles (fully illustrated).
1. Single Hung Window
The single hung window is a classic and very common design. It operates with the bottom sash being manipulated. Since this type of window does not open outwards, it is a perfect choice of window for small spaces like windows facing pathways, streets and other narrow spaces.
- easy installation
- perfect for narrow outside space
- easily matches any home design
- energy-efficient (less heat-loss)
- Since only the lower stash is operational, this type of windows require you to clean it from the outside.
- Ventilation can be limited.
Price Range: $100-$250 and up
2. Double Hung
The double-hung window type is the most common type of window in American houses because of its practicality and functionality.
- Very easy to own and comes in many designs and built which matches every architectural design.
- Easy maintenance since both the upper and lower stashes can be manipulated to allow ventilation inside.
- Like the single hung window type, it is perfect for narrow outside spaces.
- Limited ventilation.
- Depending on the materials and functionality, this type of window is not as airtight as other window types in the market.
Price Range: $200-$350 and up
The oriel is a type of bay window (see item ) that is commonly used in the upper floors/stories that are supported by brackets, corbels or similar. This type of windows extends the area of the room exteriorly.
- Elegant and more ornamental.
- Allows more natural light to enter the room.
- Gives a panoramic view of the outside.
- Like all other bay window types, it adds space to your room.
- Makes your house look luxurious.
- Not suitable for people who don’t want the “extra sunlight” in their rooms.
- Decoration for the window needs to be customized, meaning costly.
- Window treatments could be expensive.
- Can be costly.
Price Range: $1000 and up
The Cottage type of window is a variation of the double hung window where the upper stash is shorter than the lower one. It is also commonly called as the “front window type”. Aside from the smaller upper stash, the features and characteristics of the cottage window is very similar to the aforementioned double hung window. This type of window is also known as the “Georgian” and “Tudor” type of window.
- Offers a classic design that never goes out of style.
- Easily customizable and matches traditional house designs.
- This can be a little more difficult to clean than the double hung window because of the smaller upper stash.
Price Range: $400 and up
5. Two-Panel Slider
The 2 panel slider is the most common type of sliding window. It has two panels where one or both of the panels are slided left and right to allow ventilation into the room.
- Easy to install.
- Suitable for narrow outside spaces.
- Complements classic and modern architectures.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- Since these windows, does not swivel inwards or outwards, cleaning the outside part (especially in upper floors) can be challenging).
Price Range: $250-$300 and up
6. Three-Panel Slider
This type of sliding window is wider than the 2 panel slider, thus provides a more panoramic view of the outside scenery. The three-panel slider has the middle panel fixed, while the other two side panels slide to the middle to open and close the window.
Pros and Cons:
Aside from the wider space, it has all the same pros and cons of the 2 panel slider like low maintenance, durability, and affordability.
Price Range: Depending on the materials used and durability it costs $300 and up
7. Picture Window
The picture window is one of the most unique form of windows since it is fixed (can not be manipulated). It is just a glass window pane which has the main purpose of framing an outside view–like a picture frame, thus the term “picture window”. Although this is not a very common type of picture you see on a daily basis, it is particularly seen on houses with vaulted ceilings.
- Low Maintenance.
- Easy Installation.
- The most energy-efficient type of window.
- No curtains and blinds required for a majestic outside view.
- No ventilation
Price Range: $250-$650
8. Deadlites – Sash-Only
Many people are using deadlites and picture window interchangeably. Well, when it comes to features and characteristics, they are almost identical. The only difference between the two is that picture windows has frames like the regular windows while deadlites are “stand-alone” or has only the feature of a single sash (of a window). This means, it does not have any master frame.
- A very affordable type of window since it has only one sash.Highly energy-efficient like picture window.
- Other advantages are similar to picture windows.
- Similar to picture window type.
Price Range: $150-$500
The hopper window is a type of a single-sash casement window (see number 10) which opens by tilting vertically inwards the house. Hoppers, usually horizontal rectangles, are hinged in the bottom which allows the tilting of the window to open from the top.
- Easy to access and operate.
- Excellent insulation
- Great for narrow outside spaces since it opens inward the house.
- Easy and low maintenance.
- Tends to limit room space (opens inwards).
- Possibility of water entry.
- limits privacy.
Price Range: $100-$600
Like previously mentioned, casement windows are single-stash windows similar to the hopper, except that it is installed vertically instead of horizontally. These are hinged windows that opens inwards or outwards from the sides.
- Excellent for ventilation.
- Easy and low maintenance.
- Good quality insulation.
- Comes in variety of designs, sizes, and materials.
- Difficult to use with window screens since it usually cranks outwards.
- Not very secure.
- Size limitations.
Price Range: $270-$750
Like mentioned above, awning is similar to hoppers except that instead of tilting inwards, it tilts outwards. This mechanism of opening prevents it from limiting the size of the room, but can not be installed where plants and other barriers of the space outside of the wall can prevent the window
- Saves energy.
- Provides good insulation.
- Prevents snow and rain from entering the room.
- Difficult to clean the outer portion of the window pane.
Price Range: $420-$760
When it comes to aesthetics, transom windows are the most common accent type of window you could see in most beautiful houses all over the country. Traditionally, they are commonly known as fan-shaped but are now popular for having various designs and build.
- Great for beautifying your home while allowing natural light to enter.
- Provides good ventilation and insulation.
- Difficult to clean.
Price Range: $200-575
13. Different Shapes
Different shapes windows are mainly for aesthetic purposes and can be used in various needs and purposes for each room in your home. For example, round-shaped windows or half-circle shapes are common in kitchen and bathrooms where privacy is most important.
- Perfect fr unique architectural interests.
- Allows more natural light to enter.
- Typically provides no ventilation.
Price Range: $250-$750 and up
We slightly talked about the Bay Windows earlier, when we talked about the oriel windows. It has an outward frame, commonly hexagonal, which adds space to your room.
- Adds space and aesthetic touch to your room.
- Gives an enhanced panoramic view of the outside.
- Can instantly transform the look of your house by adding an elegant touch.
- Can possibly block narrow outside space.
- Replacement and maintenance is costly.
Price Range: $1150-$3550
As what you might already know, Bow windows are variations of the bay window. The only difference is instead of having hexagonal and straight edges, the bow window is curved, forming an arch. Because of the curved edges, this type of window is typically larger than bay windows.
- Most elegant window design.
- Gives a panoramic view.
- Adds space to the interior.
- Difficult to clean.
- Not for people who don’t want “extra light and heat” inside the room.
Price Range: $2000 and up
When proper ventilation is your priority, then a jalousie window will serve you well. Jalousie windows have parallel glass, wooden louvres or acrylic that can be tilted open and shut simultaneously. Besides its outstanding function, its design is versatile enough to compliment any type of house aesthetics.
- Provides proper ventilation
- Has a complimentary design
- Can maintain airflow during storms and rains with its slanted design.
Con: Not as secure as other window types.
17. Garden Style Window
This type of window is perfect for those people with a green thumb. It is a four-sided window that extends outward to be able to capture enough amount of sunlight needed by plants. Turn your window into a small, indoor garden that can exhibit colorful, fresh and healthy plants, flowers or even herbs that you can use in your kitchen.
- Aesthetically-pleasing design
- Can be a mini greenhouse or plant sanctuary
- A window with a durable architecture
Con: It’s extended built, when placed incorrectly, may interfere with sidewalks, patios, or other exterior features.
18. Glass Block Window
A glass block window doesn’t only look nice and flattering, it also serves a significant purpose in terms of privacy and security. With its thick and durable yet trendy designs, this type of window is definitely one of the most popular among homes and offices.
- Frosted glass blocks come with an obscured view to maintain your privacy
- Many designs to choose from
- Its thick and durable finish provides extra security to your homes and offices
- No natural ventilation
- Distorts lights and images
19. Storm Window
A storm window is mounted on the outside or the inside of the main glass window. The second barrier on top of the original window helps keep the house warm during winter and cool during summer. This unique architecture and design creates a solid seal that helps in the improvement of your home’s insulation while it protects it from outside elements.
- More affordable than the typical double pane windows
- Installation is very cheap
- Improves home insulation
- Increases efficiency of standard windows
- Condensation between two layers may cause damage to wooden exteriors
20. Egress Window
Aesthetics is important, but the actual function plays a much more significant role when it comes to home improvements. Good thing about the egress window, it caters both safety and style. This type of window provides a safe escape route from your home in case of emergencies such as fire, earthquake, etc. It also serves as an access point for emergency personnel.
- Can serve as a safe escape during emergencies such as fire
- Brightens dark rooms, especially the basement
- Provides enough ventilation to the room
- Cost-effective and very attractive
- Can cause moisture problems if not properly installed
- Installation takes a lot of effort and planning
A skylight is a window installed in a roof or ceiling for daylighting purposes. This type of window is commonly seen on vacation houses and cabins because besides that fact that it conserves energy, it also provides a beautiful view of the sky from the outside.
- Brightens dark areas with natural sunlight
- Provides indirect solar light
- Aesthetically pleasing and compliments well with any interior
- Expensive to install and maintain
- Can sometimes cause roof leaks
- Can potentially dame roof structurally
While round windows are inspired by rose windows from the Gothic architecture, there exists modern round windows that serve the same purposes. And that is to create a focal point for the structure’s exterior details and allow enough amount of light and air.
- Comes with unique details and designs
- Adds more natural light into the area
- Most round windows cannot be opened or closed
- Not a common trend despite its classic finish
Arched windows are common on Roman architecture but its timeless beauty offers a unique look to modern structures. It increases the curb appeal of your home’s exterior despite being low-maintenance.Pros
- Offers a unique architectural interest
- Easy to maintain
- Has a versatile design
- Does not offer ventilation
- Not ideal escape routes during emergencies
24. Dormer Windows
Dormers create more space under angled roofs and make it possible to have windows in those spaces for natural light.
These days many houses incorporate fake dormers for the aesthetics, but some new houses make them real.
Interestingly, there are quite a few different types of dormer windows. The one pictured above is the most common, but there are other dormer designs. Check them out:
B. Window Panes
1. Double Pane
Double Pane is the most common type of window pane. It has two sheets of window pane glasses that are separated by trapped gas (commonly krypton or argon) in the middle. The gas makes a tight seal which holds the window more firmly, which prevents heat and energy loss inside the house.
- These type of windows prevent condensation on your windows, especially during winter.
- Provides good insulation.
- Because of the creation of a tight seal, this type of windows help block outside noise.
- Increased security and durability.
- It may not be a good match for old, ancestral homes.
- Maintenance is costly since it can’t be repaired once broken–you need to replace the entire thing.
- Having such a great insulator, is not a very good news during summer season.
2. Triple Pane
Due to architectural advancement and breakthroughs, the triple pane window is becoming more and more popular recently. Unlike the double pane windows, it has three sheets of window glass pane, separated by 2 separate layers of gas. This 2 layers of airtight gasses provides improved insulation than the double pain.
- Triple pane windows are the improved versions of the double pain. So to make it short, it is the improved and better version of all the advantages/pros of the double pane–better insulation, better sound proof and lower condensation during winter.
- It is more expensive than the double pane.
- Heavier than double pane, so it needs more durable window sash/frame.
3. Quadruple Pane
The quadruple pane window is by far, the most advanced type of window pane right now. The insulation is made even better by combining 4 sheets of window pane glass with three spaces filled with gas that are airtight. It significantly raises the functionality and features of the other two type of panes mentioned above. It is better in all the pros and advantages of all the panes listed above with the con of being super heavy weight and needs a tougher, more durable window frame and sash. Not to mention the more expensive price!
C. Types of Window Frames
Now that we were able to cover the types of windows and window panes, let us now discuss the structure that support and put them all together–the frame! depending on your needs and preferences, here are the most common types of window frames to choose from!
Wooden frames are the most popular ones used in most houses up to date. It has the aesthetic appeal and classic appearance. It is used for years, not only in the window frame industry, but in the entire architectural industry because of its known beauty and durability.
- Easy to own, fix and replace.
- Durable and long-lasting if well-maintained.
- Beautiful to look at.
- Requires maintenance.
- Can be a good target of insects and termites.
Vinyl window frames are made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC’s). It is the same materials widely used in plumbings and pipes. This is a popular type of window frame due to its durability and affordability.
- Low on energy cost.
- Versatile material which can easily made into various window styles and designs.
- Low maintenance.
- During extreme heat conditions, vinyl colors will fade which needs to be totally replaced since it can’t be repainted.
- Low resale value.
Aluminum windows has been used in classic as well as modern architecture. This is because of its durability and longevity.
- Outperforms wood and vinyl in noise abatement.
- Low maintenance. It doesn’t shrink, split, fade and rust.
- Easily matches classic and modern architecture.
- Although cheaper than wooden frames, it costs more than vinyl and fiberglass.
- Not very efficient as an insulator. It also absorbs cold, which is not very ideal for winter.
Although fiberglass type of window frame is not so common, it is still known to be the most durable and low maintenance among the four types. This frame is made of extruded fiberglass sections and formed into a frame. The outcome appearance look similar to a PVC window frame.
- Though they look similar, fiberglass frame can be repainted and is far more durable than a PVC frame.
- Low maintenance.
- Best insulator frame.
- Sound resistant.
- Though far more durable and efficient, it still looks like a PVC frame so some homeowners would prefer the later because this type of frame is more expensive, if not the same price as the wooden frame.
D. Window Buying Guide
Now that you have a good understanding of your window options, what else should you look for. Here are some tips.
- ENERGY STAR and NFRC labels: Energy Star label means your windows meet the EPA’s minimum standard for insulating in your area.
- In colder climates, consider gas-filled windows with low-E coatings to reduce heat loss. You can also get a low U-factor for better thermal resistance. U-factor is the rate at which window conducts non-solar heat flow.
- In warmer climates, choose windows with coatings to reduce heat gain. Look for low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). SHGC is a measure of solar radiation admitted through a window. Low SHGCs reduce heat gain in warmer climates.
- In climates that are both hot and cold (i.e. have seasons), get windows with both low U-fctors and low SHGCs.
Window Styles Infographic
Below is an image that includes all of the above in one easy-to-pin infographic.