When choosing windows, there are three points to consider. First, your windows should complement your home. Second, you may want windows that serve as doors to the outside or that also let in the air while they let in light and frame the view. Third, your windows can help or hinder energy efficiency.
Residential Window Styles
Picture windows complement both traditional and modern homes. However, in contemporary homes, picture windows are often larger window walls with unique shapes that serve as important architectural features, according to DYI Advice. Whatever their shape, however, picture windows are fixed windows that frame views and let in light, but that do not open to let in the air.
Double-hung windows have upper and lower sections. In traditional double-hung windows, both sections are equal in size and both can be raised and lowered or tilted in for easy cleaning. Newer double-hung windows may have fixed upper sections with smaller lower sections that open and close.
Sliding windows have right and left sections, and some may include built-in screens and storm windows. All the sections of a sliding window can be removed from the inside for easy cleaning. Sliding glass doors can be thought of as extra large sliding windows.
Awning windows are hinged at the top while hopper windows are hinged at the bottom. Both open out with the turn of a crank. While both are usually narrow windows that don’t let in the air, awning windows can be left open when it is raining. Casement windows, on the other hand, open out like doors to let in lots of the air to attic rooms, for example. French doors can be thought of as large casement windows.
Bay and bow windows add appeal to both the interior and exterior of a home and give an impression of more space in an interior room. Bay windows have three window sections and are manufactured ready to install. A bay window can serve as seating or as a display area for plants, photographs, art objects, or collectibles. Bow windows have four or more windows arranged in a curve that can serve as a breakfast nook or as a small conversation or reading area. Both styles can combine fixed windows with casement or double-hung windows.
Other types of windows include skylights and garden windows. Garden windows extend out beyond the exterior wall and serve as mini-greenhouses. They have room for up to two plant shelves, and they can have side windows that open for ventilation.
Pairing Windows Styles and Home Styles
Most window types come in styles that range from traditional to modern. However, some window styles fit more naturally with traditional homes while others fit more naturally with modern homes. As mentioned above, fixed picture windows easily transition between the two home styles. Double-hung windows, casement windows, garden windows, and bay and bow windows may better fit traditional homes. Sleek sliding windows, skylights, awning windows, and hopper windows may better fit modern homes. Ultimately, however, the look of the window in a showroom or catalog will tell you whether it was designed for a traditional or modern home, whatever style of window it is.
Windows and Energy Efficiency
The R-value of a window refers to how well it prevents heat loss. You should select a window that is the best compromise between cost and your expected energy savings, but do not go lower than R-3.
The U-factor refers to how well the window prevents leaks between the sash and the frame. Windows with U-factors of less than 0.35 are most energy efficient. Those living in cold and/or windy climates should give equal weight to the R-value and the U-factor.
Low-E or low emissivity windows have inner and outer panes of glass with an inert (nonactive) gas between the panes. These provide excellent insulation without affecting clarity. Single-glazed and double-glazed windows are coated on one or both sides with a transparent metallic oxide finish that prevents some heat loss. Unglazed windows are the least energy efficient while glazed, low-E windows are best.
Those living in warm, sunny climates should look for windows coated with an ultraviolet block. This lowers solar (UV) penetration and reduces fading.
To prevent damaging condensation in windows, look for warm-air technology and high-quality metal spacers along the edges of the frame. These features reduce condensation by keeping the temperature of the window closer to room temperature in your home.
Related Resource: Types of Patio Doors
With these suggestions, you should be able to find the perfect fit when choosing windows for your room.