Complete List of Different Types of Windows for Homes

lady in front of window

Long gone are the days when windows were just a piece of glass designed to let the natural light into your home.

Depending on where you are located in the Chicago area, your window styles may vary. From an apartment downtown to the suburbs like Northbrooks, your windows could be very different.

The market is flooded with numerous types of windows, each with its unique characteristics and each meant to fulfill a specific purpose and fit in in a certain type of décor.

While some window types are designed to be easier to open, others are meant to allow ventilation. There are also highly energy-efficient windows, as well as windows intended to offer broad views.

If you’re new to the universe of windows, you’ll find the information below more than just helpful.

It will save you a lot of time and money and help you make the right choice for your home.

In this window guide, we will explore types of windows for homes, including:

  • Anatomy of a window
  • Types of Windows
  • Materials of Window Frames
  • Tips to Pick the Best Window

Let’s get started!

Anatomy of a window

Before entering the overwhelming and fascinating world of windows, it’s useful to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of a window.

This way, you can understand a basic window design and make an informed choice when selecting the type of windows you need for your home. Here are the essential elements of a window:

  • Frame –supports the window and includes ahead (the top of the window frame), a jamb (vertical aspects of the frame), and a sill (or stool – the horizontal part or the bottom of the window frame).
  • Sash –has the important role of keeping the window’s glass in place; it can slide up and down for single-hung windows and double-hung windows, or it swings open for casement windows.
  • Panes –are the glass of the window; they can be single, double or triple, and connect to the sash; sometimes, the panes connect to grid-like bars known as muntins.

Anatomy of a window

Types of Windows

There are numerous types of windows available, and selecting the right window for your home can be quite a challenge.

You need to consider the characteristics you want your window to have, as well as the structure, design, and architecture of your home.

Check out the most popular types of windows and familiarize yourself with their basic functions:

Single-hung windows

A classical window, the single-hung window is characterized by a fixed upper sash and a movable lower sash; some models offer the possibility to pivot the sash inward.

Double-hung windows

Also a classical presence, a double-hung window has both the lower sash and upper sash movable, with the upper slash sliding down.

Double-hung windows provide better ventilation than the single-hung window and can be cleaned inside and out because they can open outwards and inward.

Arched windows

The distinctive element of an arched window is obviously its rounded top; arched windows usually don’t open or close.

They are added above standard windows, mostly for decorative reasons.

Awning windows

Similar to a casement window, an awning window is installed vertically; the window is equipped with a hinge at the top that allows for the window to be pushed out.

Awning windows mostly used in the areas where it rains a lot because it allows for the air to flow while keeping the rainfall and seasonal debris out.

Bay windows

Loved by the kings and queens of England, the bay windows are based on flat windows set in angled frames to allow maximum natural light into your home

Bay windows are built out of the home and are usually made up of three windows; they can include fixed or operable windows or both.

Bow windows

Bow windows are similar to bay windows, but they are usually more expensive because they use more glass panels.

This type of window creates a circular area outside the home and a small shelf in the interior.

Casement windows

The ancestor of sash windows, casement windows were mostly used in the UK and European countries; romantic, yet not as popular anymore, casement windows rely on a hinge on one end that allows for the window to be opened like a door.

Egress windows

Usually installed in the basements, egress windows are mostly used as escape routes in case of emergencies; when the safety law requires them, the installation process often involves excavating an area, which increases the costs.

Garden windows

Designed especially for plants and seedlings, garden windows are similar to bay windows and act like little greenhouses.

They are usually installed above a kitchen sink and have glass on the front, sides, as well as on the top.

Glass block windows

The advantage of glass block windows is that while they increase the light flow into a room, they also maintain your privacy.

Mostly considered accents and creating the illusion of space, glass block windows are made by attaching glass blocks in rows.

Hopper windows

Often used in basements or bathrooms, the hopper windows open from the top.

They are similar to casement windows, but they have their hinges along the bottom of the frame for the window to open inward; they’re great for extra ventilation.

Jalousie windows

Typically American, a jalousie window has a distinctive design made out of glass or metal slats set in metal clips that can be opened and closed just like a Venetian blind.

They provide maximum airflow, but they are not as secure as the standard window types and limit your view.

Picture windows

The best choice if you have a superb view you want to enjoy while being inside; picture windows are large, fixed windows that frame the beautiful views outside your home; they don’t usually have any visible frames or breaks, and don’t open.

Round windows

Their name says it all; these are round (or half-round, oval, or elliptical) windows that add a decorative accent to your home’s architecture and remind of Gothic or Victorian designs.

Skylight windows

A skylight window adds more natural light to a room and is installed into a ceiling with direct access to the roof; while they fill the space with light, they also are problematic because they can create heat build-up; skylight windows can be fixed or operable.

Sliding windows

The structure of a sliding window includes two sashes installed horizontally that open and close by sliding along a track; they are basically towing single windows, with one sliding over the top of the other, and are ideal for installing over a sink or counter.

Storm windows

Perfect for preventing heat loss and reducing the flow of air into the home, storm windows increase the energy efficiency of single-pane windows; they get installed in the same frame as the original windows, and the space between the two sets of windows adds extra insulation.

Transom windows

Used as accent windows or to enrich the design of a space, transom windows are installed above doors or even above other windows; they are beautiful accents usually shaped as semicircles, squares, or rectangles.

Stationary windows

Similar to the picture windows, stationary windows provide large views of outdoor scenery; however, a stationary window has a thicker frame to make it easier to blend in with other adjacent operable windows;

Projection windows

The concept of projection windows incorporates both bow and bay windows; they are units made out of three or more single windows positioned at various angles – 10, 30 or 45 degrees, that project outside the exterior wall.

Window Frame Materials

A window frame contributes to factors like durability, maintenance, heat transfer, and energy efficiency. When choosing a window frame make sure you take into consideration both the design of your home and the weather in the area where you live in.

Wood

This type of frame is mostly used for the interior parts of a window; wood doesn’t allow as much condensation as other frames and doesn’t conduct as much heat or cold either.

However, in time, wood can shrink or swell, especially if used for the exterior of the frame, unless you have it treated properly. Wood frames are available in various colors.

Clad-wood

While the frame interior is made out of wood and has the usual benefits you can expect from a wood frame, the exterior is covered in a jacket of extruded aluminum or vinyl.

The outside covering proves to be very resistant and needs almost no maintenance. The aluminum or vinyl exterior resists rust and rot.

Aluminum

Aluminum frames are an affordable choice if you’re looking for a replacement window.

They are more durable than wood, and also lighter and thinner; the finish protects them against corrosion, and their extruded vinyl or foam insulation prevents condensation and reduces heat loss.

Vinyl

Vinyl frames are also often a common choice for replacement windows due to their high durability and low maintenance.

Due to their interior hollow chambers, vinyl frames prevents condensation and heat transfer.

A vinyl frame is made from right polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which doesn’t require painting or finishing and is fade- and rot-resistant.

How to pick the best replacement window for your home?

To make sure you choose the best replacement window for your home, you need to assess six factors:

Quality

Quality is the number one factor when choosing a replacement window.

Make sure you select a durable window that has a high level of energy efficiency and guarantees flawless insulation.

Check out the R-values of windows that indicate the energy efficiency– the higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

Price

The budget is important to almost all families. But just because a window has a high price tag does not mean it’s the best window.

Understand the characteristics of a window so you can truly know what you are paying for.

Workmanship

The workmanship of a window can be easily noticed in the details, finishes, and the final aspect of your window.

Replacement windows need to perfectly fit in the space of your old windows to avoid any heat loss or leakages.

A workmanship warranty provides the certainty that your replacement window has been installed properly.

Check company reviews

Don’t hire a window company without first reading reviews about their projects, especially the ones related to replacement window installation; this way, you can make an idea about their experience, team, materials, and work ethic.

Match home design

Each home has its own architecture and personality, and its windows should reflect both. Choose your windows according to the design of your house.

Think About The Weather

Make sure they will withstand the specific characteristics of the climate where you live.

When you are looking to get new windows for your home, reference the guide above.

By using the tips above, you will be better prepared to get the best windows for your home.

If you are in the Chicago area and need a quote on a great window for your home, call Chicago Window Guy at +(847) 701-4011.

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