There are a lot of different styles of windows and the terminology can be a bit confusing. At All-Weather Windows, Doors and Siding, we understand. So we thought we’d create this simple window tutorial to help you understand the differences, the names, and why you should choose one style over the other. The next time you’re looking for replacement windows, you’ll know all of your options. So without further ado, here is a pictorial guide to get us started:
Single Hung Windows
Single hung windows, also called sash windows or hung sash windows are made of one or more movable panels, or “sashes”. A single hung window has a fixed top sash that does not slide up or down, so it can only be opened by sliding the bottom sash up. Single hung windows look like double hung windows when they are closed, but are less versatile.
Double Hung Windows
Double hung windows are by far the most popular. That’s because they are the most versatile. They feature two separate sashes (the sections that slide up and down), which allows them to be easily opened to let fresh air in and most can be opened either by sliding the bottom sash up or the top sash down creating even more options. Let’s say you want to open the window on a cool night but don’t want the cool breeze to blow directly on you while you sleep. Or maybe you want to open the window, but don’t want the dog to get out. Simply pull the upper sash down. You can even pull the upper sash partially down and lift the lower sash partially up to let cool, outside air flow in through the bottom while warm air flows out of the top. Many double hung windows also have a tilt feature which makes cleaning on both sides, dare we say it?…a breeze. This is especially helpful when cleaning second story windows and higher. No ladder is necessary, simply tilt both sashes inward to clean from the inside. Because of all of the added convenience features, these windows are typically more expensive than a single hung window of the same dimensions.
Slider windows do not open by sliding the sashes up and down like hung sash windows, but rather the sashes slide open from left to right or vice versa – side to side. Mechanically speaking, they are double hung windows laid on their sides. They are best for windows that are wider than they are tall and areas that require a little bit wider or more unobstructed view.
Casement windows, sometimes called crank windows because a crank is usually turned to open them, are typically chosen for tall, narrow openings. The window is attached to one side of the frame and swings outward like a door opens. Casement windows work well where accessibility to the window is not ideal. For instance, if the window is placed higher on the wall or you have to reach across a counter to open it. The crank on the bottom makes it easier to open than lifting a single or double hung window.Casement windows are typically one pane of glass (no grilles) so they work well where the view is given priority as well. One more benefit is that the open window acts almost like a sail catching any breezes and forcing them into the home.
An awning window is a single pane that is hinged at the top of the frame creating an awning effect (hence, the name). An awning window is essentially a casement window turned sideways. However, awning windows are typically smaller and can be installed higher on a wall to add architectural interest and provide ventilation and light without sacrificing privacy or security. They are great for letting air in when it’s raining because the pane keeps the water out. They can be plain or feature grilles.
Bay windows are larger windows composed of several sections that extend away from the exterior wall of the home. They are available in many configurations including three- and four-window styles. The large center window allows for an uninterrupted view while the side windows can be casement or double hung to allow for ventilation. Adding a bay window automatically adds drama and elegance to any room because they let in lots of light creating a bright, open, airy feeling. Visually speaking, a bay window makes the room feel larger, and physically speaking it can actually make the footprint of the room larger because it can extend down to the floor pulling it out past the line of the exterior wall as well.
Bow windows are very similar to bay windows and deliver basically the same benefits – a light, open, airy feeling as well as a wonderful view to the outdoors. Bow windows are ideal when you don’t have the space for a bay window. Both styles extend outward, but bow windows don’t extend as far as bay windows. If you have a window in front of a porch or walkway, for example, a bay window may intrude into the space too far to make it practical, whereas a bow window may fit just fine.
A garden window (sometimes called a greenhouse window) provides a box-like area that extends outward where you can set plants to maximize the amount of light they receive. Typically found in the kitchen, it contains a lot of glass on all sides and the panes are set at 90-degree angles to capture the maximum amount of energy from the sun’s rays. Many times these windows feature a glass shelf that is perfect for plants to get lots of sunlight.
A picture window features a large single fixed pane of uninterrupted glass. The main purpose of a picture window is to allow a great view of the outside world. These windows are usually large and do not open. They are usually installed in dining rooms and living rooms where homeowners spend leisure time. They allow lots of natural light, but make sure that your picture window incorporates energy saving features to keep your energy bills under control.
Hopper windows have sashes that open inward and are hinged on the bottom. They are excellent windows for small bathrooms or basements. Since the windowpane tilts upward, it stops debris from blowing into your house. a hopper window is often placed above other doors and windows (called a transom window when used this way) for extra light and ventilation.
Special Shape Windows
Arches, circles, hexagonal, octagonal, trapezoid and other specialty shaped windows can be used alone or combined with traditional shapes to add architectural interest and unique character to your home. They are usually more expensive than traditional shapes.
Tilt & Turn Windows
Tilt & turn windows offer dual functionality. The first option is to turn the handle 90 degrees to swing the window sash open into the room – similar to a casement window that opens inward. The second option is to turn the handle 180 degrees to tilt the sash in to vent from the top. This allows for ventilation and security simultaneously. Tilt & turn windows are a popular choice for egress windows as they are large enough to allow a person access in and out. Larger tilt & turn windows can be used to allow access to an exterior space like a roof or balcony.