What Is the Difference Between a Bay Window and Bow Window?

Bay WindowWhen it comes time to update a home, one of the first things that people consider changing are the windows. Sometimes the purpose of the update is to make the home more energy efficient, but other times it’s simply to change the look of the house. There are many different styles of windows to choose from to freshen the appearance of a home, but two of the most elegant and beautiful are bay and bow windows. However, what’s the difference between a bay window and bow window?

Bay Windows

The first time bay windows were recorded being used was during the Victorian era in the 19th century. Although the difference between a bay window and bow window can be difficult to spot at first, there are two main characteristics of bay windows that help them stand out. The first characteristic is that they tend to protrude further away from the house than bow windows. One advantage of this is that it gives more interior floor space, according to Stanek Windows.

The second main difference is that bay windows are made up of three windows that vary in size: one large center window and two smaller windows on each side. The smaller windows are usually referred to as flankers. Flanker windows are often double hung to provide the homeowner with plenty of ventilation. They are also installed at 30- to 40-degree angles, which helps determine just how far the bay window protrudes from the house.

Bow Windows

Bow windows were being used in homes before bay windows. Reports suggest that they were first used in the United Kingdom during the 18th century. Unlike bay windows, bow windows can be made up of three to six windows, according to Royal Windows. Another difference between a bay window and bow window is that the windows of the bow style are all the same size. This gives it the gradual curve for which it’s known. Although bay windows protrude from the side of the house, allowing for more viewing angles, bow windows let in more light and give the illusion of being one large window.

Bow windows are extremely versatile. There are three main types of windows from which homeowners can choose when going with this style: single hung, double hung and casement. No one style of window is really better than the other; they all have their advantages and disadvantages. What it really boils down to is personal preference.

Both bay and bow windows have their pros and cons and have been around for a long time. When choosing which style to use in a house, the homeowners have to look at the difference between a bay window and bow window to determine which fits their personalities better. Both styles can be outfitted with energy efficient windows, which helps offset the cost of installing these windows in the long run. Homeowners shouldn’t base their decisions on the area that is available to put in the window. This is because both bay and bow windows can be made to fit just about any opening. That is how versatile both of these window styles can be.