17 Types of Home Windows

17 Types of Home Windows

If you're in the market for replacement windows, you're likely trying to figure out what's the right type of window for your project. So today, I'm going to cover 18 different types of windows.

We're going to start off with the most popular, which is a single-hung window. A single-hung window is where the bottom piece of the window opens up and down, but the top piece, called a sash, is fixed. And over here you'll see a few pictures of different single-hung windows.

The second type of window is what's called a double-hung. It's where the top sash and bottom sash both move up and down. It's fairly common for second stories. For cleaning purposes, you want to be able to lower that top sash and clean the window. And so double-hung windows are very popular there. They're also really prevalent in the Northeast. But here in Texas, we don't see that many double-hung options.

The next window type that I'm going to cover is awning windows. So awning windows kick out. So they're really short and wide windows. A lot of times you'll see them paired with really big picture windows or other fixed windows. And they're usually pretty low to the ground or really high off the ground. So you can think of like a window in a shower that you want to open, or a window like in a stairwell, or like a hallway where you want ventilation. So that's where you'll see awning windows.

The next type is a bow window. So a lot of folks will confuse a bow and a bay window. A bow window is more of a half-circle. It's kind of a gradual circle. And so what may happen is you may have like six or seven windows that slowly make that circle. Wherewith a true bay window you might have two windows on the side and then one big window that's kind of straight across. So bay and bow are similar.

And so you'll see pictures over here of the different types of windows, explaining the difference between the bay and bow. But just know that both of those windows are kind of outside of your traditional framing. So a normal window is going to sit in between, let's say, your studs, your 2 by 4s or 2 by 6s. Where a bay or a bow, they're going to go outside of the house. So it's kind of like making a room more spacious with windows.

And so if you're replacing windows and you don't currently have a bay or a bow, there's definitely some construction and framing that's going to be involved if you want to add that. But I would say if your house is smaller, a bay or a bow is a really neat way to make your room feel bigger without doing too much work.

So the next type of window that I want to cover is an arched window. Arched windows come in a lot of shapes. So there's what are called gothic arches. And again, I'll drop pictures in over here. But there are gothic windows, which are really, really pointy arched windows. If you've been to a church recently, like an old church, old Methodist like old Baptist churches, you're going to see a lot of those arched-style windows, Gothic arches.

And then also there are eyebrow windows. And, let's see here, there are ellipsis windows. There's just a ton of arched windows. And so in a replacement setting, you typically aren't going to convert like a rectangular opening to an arch. If you're replacing an arch, then yeah, that's common practice to replace an arch with another arch window. But a lot of times we don't see people go from rectangular to arch.

And if you're building a new home and you're working with an architect or a designer, just know that arched windows are super expensive. And they're going to be limited in the material that you can have them made in because of the way that that material has to be shaped and bent. You're looking at really, really special vinyl windows, or probably like an aluminum-clad wood window in order to get those really neat arches. But again, I'll drop pictures here of the different types of arches so that you have a good feel for what's possible.

So the next type of window that I want to cover is a casement window. So casement windows are great. They're really efficient because around all four sides of the window there's this bulb seal that when you lock the window, you kind of hear like this vacuum suction noise. And so it's really an efficient window. The other thing that's great about casement windows, like you'll see in these pictures over here, there's a lot of glass. so there's no frame in the middle. It's very streamlined. Lots of glass. It's a very popular window. They're a little more expensive because of the mechanisms used to build that window and support the window.

The other kind of thing to know about casement windows is that they're limited in size. So if you have this really, really big opening, just think about this for a second. Let's say like you're opening is 5 feet, so 60 inches. That's a really heavy piece of glass that that hardware has to support and so it's not able to. So most casement windows, the hardware is not engineered to handle more than a 3-feet by 5-foot tall opening.

So again, if you're building or if you're in the planning stages of building, you want to talk to your architect and engineer about what's possible. Now if you're replacing, just remember if you have a 3-foot opening you can probably get a casement in there. If it's wider than three feet you may not be able to. So just talk to your replacement window professional and they'll tell you what you can do.

So the other window that I want to cover now is a garden window. My grandmother had, both grandmothers growing up, they had garden windows. So if you can imagine your kitchen, over the sink there's like a shelf, right? Or maybe even two shelves that make up a garden window. So it extends outside of the framing of the home. And usually, it's meant almost like a little greenhouse.

I know growing up my grandmothers would put cactus or plants on there and, gosh, knickknacks. And the thing I remember about them is they always look dirty. So I don't know what that was about. I don't know if that's still the case. But if you have a garden window today, going back with a garden window makes a lot of sense. If you're looking to add a garden window to your kitchen, that can be done. There are just some slight additional framing modifications that need to be made. So just talk to your contractor.

Next, I want to cover-- you know, glass-block windows aren't so popular today. I don't know if you've seen "Die Hard" or like movies in that like the '90s, late '80s, '90s. Glass block was everywhere. Like it was a divider between really spacious, nice bathrooms in movies. And it was really good for like an opaque window wall in a bathroom. So really it was privacy.

But those have been phased out by opaque and obscure glasses that are just like one solid piece versus all of those little squares. So there are a few pictures here you know you might reminisce of like an early 2000s Taco Bell. They were really big into the glass block. So not so popular anymore, but it's still an option. And today, they actually don't use glass but a lot of it is acrylic. And so it's like plastic so it's a lot lighter than what it used to be. But again, it's not something that we see trending especially in today's remodeling and building climate.

So another type of window that I want to cover, and this isn't necessarily a type, but it's more of like a permit issue. So you have to have egress windows in bedrooms. And so the egress is really meant for first responders in case of an emergency. So I'm not going to dive deep into egress windows here. We'll do that in another video.

But just know that if you have a bedroom, you're going to have to have an egress window that's going to have to meet code in order to get inspected. It's a safety issue and it's just something that you want to make sure that you mention with your architect. You know, I personally have made the mistake of working with an architect. They sent me plans and all the plans were picture windows. So I ordered all picture windows. I'm so sorry to you Mr and Mrs. builder and the client that I did not catch that.

Yeah, you can't order a house full of all picture windows. And so again, that was a mistake that I made was just simply reading the plans and not thinking all the way through to the process of getting it inspected. So again, you want to make sure that you have windows that open. And to do that, you're going to need egress. You're going to make sure that you meet egress.

OK. So we don't have jalousie windows in Texas. But if you've ever gone down to the coast of Texas, like Galveston may be or South Padre. Or anywhere like Port Aransas or you've gone down to parts of Florida, Gulf Shores, you'll see those windows that have like vents. It almost looks like blinds or shutters inside of glass, or those slats are made of glass. Those are jalousie windows. Pictures are going to be over here.

So those windows, a lot of times you'll see them on like a porch, front porch, back porch. They're really meant not for energy efficiency but really to just break the sun up. So don't see them a lot here in north Texas but they are a window type that I wanted to cover.

Next, we have picture windows or fixed windows. That just means that they don't open. So typically with a picture window, you're going to have a narrow frame, you're going to have lots of glass. And a lot of times you'll see picture windows used to save money. So like if you're building a home, you might make sure that you have one egress window in every bedroom, and then the other windows are picture windows or fixed windows. Because fixed windows are typically less expensive unless you have to temper the glass in the picture windows, which can increase the price.

So lots of code requirements that we're not going to get into right now. But just know that picture windows are very common. They can be made in very large sizes so we're seeing more and more of them in new construction. And then in replacement, we see a lot of homeowners that go back with picture windows where they don't have to meet egress to save money and get more natural light in. Because with a picture window, you have less frame, more glass, which means more sunlight coming in.

I'm going to grab a drink of water here I don't usually talk to as much. My wife will tell you that's not true but she's not here. So the other types of windows are round, circle windows. So any time you see a perfect half-circle that's what I'm talking about. So those windows, you can get round circle windows that do open from the bottom. You can also get them to where they're fixed picture windows. And there are some pretty neat examples of projects that we've done with the Andersen or Brennan Traditions line that you'll see photos of as I'm talking.

So round windows can be completely round, or they can just be round on the top. Or what you'll see sometimes it's what's called a quarter circle or a half-circle, which is where you'll have a left and a right that split a circle. And so one side will have a quarter circle, and then there may be a mull or brick, and then the other side will have the other circle. So it's a pretty neat look.

It's really common for, whatever reason in like the '80s and '90s in Texas. I guess it was new then. And so we replace a lot of windows that are like 30 years old that have that shape to them. You can block in that shape. Like, let's say that you've got a home with a lot of half circles and full circles and you want those to just be rectangles or 90-degree units, we can do that. so there's just a bit of framing involved, some brickwork, but it can be done.

Moving on to storm windows. Brennan Enterprise is actually like storm windows are kind of how we got started a long time ago. So storm windows are like a thin, aluminum frame with a single piece of glass that you used to stick on the outside of your normal windows. And so storm windows were great because one, there was not a lot of construction involved. Two, it's a very simple installation process.

The challenge with storm windows-- and storm windows aren't popular today, let's just be super clear about that-- they were a cleaning nightmare. So if you had storm windows, you would get dust behind the storm windows. You would get water behind. And then eventually it would fog or get grimy. And then all of a sudden, when you looked out of your window, you saw like this other window.

And so while they were a solution to energy efficiency, gosh, 20, 30 years ago now we don't see them as much. And it's simply because like today's window technology and glass, they're so efficient that you don't need that extra layer outside of your normal window. And plus, it's just an eyesore. so storm windows were a thing. They're not really a thing today. But I wanted to make sure to address that product with you.

OK. We're down to two windows left. OK. Skylights. Skylights are great if you're a roofer or you have a good roofer. Because if you're installing a skylight after construction it's essentially a roofing project. Because they're going to install it through your roof decking. So you just want to make sure that if you're looking at skylights that one, you figure out how are these guys mounted, what's the weatherproofing around the window. And then has the company done it before. So skylights are great. You'll see some pictures of different types of skylights.

Again, I know Velux is a big player. They have motorized skylights where you hit a button and it opens up, which sounds really neat. And then you have a leak in your roof or something else. And so for us at Brennan, we don't do skylights because historically it's kind of been a maintenance issue. But if you're looking to get more light into a room and you don't have a ton of options, you're getting a new roof anyway, ask your roofing contractor. Say hey, can you do a skylight? Does it make sense? So again, skylights, there's a couple of different versions and you'll see pictures of them over here.

The last one is a transom window. Oh, you know what? We're going to do two more. So let's talk transom and sidelight windows. So if you have a front door, like who doesn't have a front door, right? That's a bad question. That's rhetorical, don't answer that. You have a front door. And if your front door has a window above, that's a transom. Transoms can also be above other windows. But just know that most ransoms are fixed and they're decorative. They typically don't open but they can. This is coffee number three. Sorry if I'm slurping.

OK. So transom windows above the door or above other windows. They can open. They don't have to open. A lot of times they're decorative. And then the windows on the side of a door are called transom. So these guys are usually pretty thin and narrow. You might see in like 10, 14, 16, 20 inches. You can go bigger, you can go smaller. You can have a made from a window manufacturer, or you can have a door manufacturer make your sidelights.

But either way, it's just a nice way to add some glass so that you can get light from your front door. So my home faces north. And I have a solid-wood door. And so for us, we don't get any light from around that door because there are no sidelights, there's no transom. So one way, if we wanted to get more light through the hallway, the way that we could do it would be one, replace the door with like a full-light piece of glass.

But you know my wife and me, we don't want this big, 36 by 80 inch-- actually, we have an 8-foot door. We don't want this big 3 by 8 piece of glass looking into our house. So for us, the only solution would be to add a transom above or sidelights along the side to get light in while still maintaining the privacy of that big front door.

So we've covered I think 18 or 19 types of windows in today's video, I'm super thankful for you tuning in. If you have any questions, please let us know. We're happy to help. If I missed anything, I'm sure somebody will tell me in the comments. So again, thanks so much for watching, and we look forward to seeing you in the next video.

Looking for pricing?

Contact us today to receive a free estimate

Your request has been submittied.


Based on your zip code, we do not currently service your area. Please subscribe to receive helpful info on home improvements.


Success! You're now a First Fridays Insider!

Back To Top