Last Updated on December 9, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford
Windows are usually never the focal point of a room because by default, they should be there. But we depend on windows for the home’s insulation, for natural light and for blocking noise. As generic as they may look, there are actually more than 20 types of windows out there, each with a defining look and function.
If you are thinking of a home renovation, in the middle of a house construction, or just want a major window revamp, this post runs down the different types of windows that you should know of, so read on.
How many types of windows are there?
As have been mentioned, there are more than 20 types of windows. These types differ in design, amount of insulation, ventilation, and more. Some attached types of windows include differences in materials used for the window frame and the type of window pane used.
Types of windows
When we talk about windows, we just think about that generic structure in a home that gives in natural light or where the window treatment is attached. But the type of window that you choose should be based in terms of function and aesthetics and not just one or the other. Here are some of the most common types of windows that you should know of.
1. Single Hung Window
This one is considered the classic window design and is very common among residential and commercial settings. It comes with a bottom sash and you open and close it using this sash.
It generally opens outwards and is the best choice for small living spaces. Some of its upsides include being affordable, easy to install and could match any type of interior design. It is also very energy efficient.
On the downside, the ventilation it offers could be limited plus you have to regularly clean it from the inside.
2. Double Hung
This one is the most preferred window type among American homes because of its functionality as well as practicality.
It has an upper and lower stash so you can opt to open just one window at a time. Because of this, it is easier to clean and the ventilation could be regulated well. It is also very energy-efficient and perfect for narrow spaces too.
Like the single hung window, it also opens outwards. Perhaps the only downside is that it is not as airtight as the other types of windows here. Nonetheless, it is very versatile in terms of design and it is also affordable.
Double-hung windows are also one of the most common window options. If you’re looking at vinyl replacement windows, be sure to ask about single vs double-hung options for vinyl replacement windows.
This one is considered as a type of bay window. It has the aesthetic capacity to extend room area exteriorly. This one is commonly installed in upper floors and is mounted with the use of brackets supported by corbels and other similar hardware.
Its upsides include high aesthetic value, seeps in more natural light, and gives a panoramic view of the outside.
On the downside, the decorations and window treatments for this type of window must be customized. And if you are one who does not want extra light in your room, this is not the best window choice.
This one is considered as a subtype of the double hung window and it is also called the front type window, the Tudor window or the Georgian window.
Its most identifiable characteristic would be that its upper stash is smaller than the bottom stash. Among its upsides would be being versatile, design-wise, low-maintenance and affordable.
Perhaps, its only downside is that it is more challenging to clean compared to the classic double hung window. Nonetheless, it is worth the shot if you consider its architectural versatility.
5. Two-Panel Slider
This one is considered as the most common type of sliding window. As the name suggests, it comes with two panels, sliding from left to right. This is a space-saving window type since it does not open outwards.
Aside from this, it is also easy to install and offers more ventilation and natural light. It is also low maintenance, affordable and complements both classic and modern architectural designs.
6. Three-Panel Slider
With the additional slider, this type of sliding window offers a panoramic view of the outside. The third panel of this window is fixed while the two panels on each side move.
In terms of all other features, including its upsides and downsides, it is practically the same as the two-panel slider.
7. Picture Window
This one is one of the most unique types of windows because once it is installed, it can no longer be manipulated.
Basically, it is a glass window pane whose main purpose is to frame the outside scenery as if it was inside a picture frame. This is the perfect choice for homes with vaulted ceilings.
On the upside, it is considered as the most energy-efficient window. You would not also need to invest on window treatments for this. It is also easy to install and is very low-maintenance. It does not offer ventilation though, so that is one thing to consider.
8. Deadlites – Sash-Only
Deadlites and the picture window are often confused with one another because they look almost identical. Their only stark difference would be the stand-alone sash of deadlites (meaning that it does not have frames) while picture windows have frames.
It has the same upside as the picture window and like it, it does not also offer a lot of ventilation for the home. Nonetheless, it is relatively cheaper than picture windows.
9. Hopper Windows
This one is what we can consider as a tilting window. It is basically a single-sash casement window tilting inward. This is made possible by their hinged bottom.
They are usually horizontal rectangles. Their main upsides include high energy-efficiency, offers good insulation, easy to operate, and fairly low-maintenance.
On the downside, it could permit water entry during heavy downpours. It also limits the privacy of the room and the space as well since it tilts inwards.
10. Awning Windows
This one is also a tilting window but unlike hopper windows, it tilts outwards and not inwards.
This amends the limitations of the hopper windows such as limiting room size. However, it is not a good choice if you are one who loves putting potted plants and other decorative stuff along the window.
On the upside, it is an energy-efficient window, offers good insulation and does not allow water and snow to come inside. However, it is quite expensive and it would be challenging to clean the outer part of the window pane.
11. Casement windows
This type of window can either open up to the top or to the side. They are made of solid glass and give a very unobstructive view. They can be mid-tier to expensive depending on the type of glass used.
12. Fanlight Window
This one exudes a high-end, old world European touch. They are semicircular in shape with ribbed bars on the circular top. The fanlight window is usually installed over a doorway or another window.
In suburban homes, it is always attached or hinged to a transom window. It is basically the spread of the ribbed bars that look like a spread fan where it gets its name.
13. Egress Windows
This one cuts across function and style. They function like a smaller door or a fire exit. They are usually installed in basements to provide an escape route in cases of emergencies.
They are quite expensive to install because most of the time, they require excavation. It must be noted that some states in the US and some countries mandate the building of egress windows in basements.
When it comes to high aesthetic appeal, transoms are one to look out for. They are considered as the most common type of accent window. Traditionally, they were only fan-shaped but now, they can accommodate all types of architectural designs.
They allow a lot of natural light and also offer good insulation and lots of ventilation. The only challenge in this type of window is that it is hard to clean.
15. Bay Windows
This one has a hexagonal shape making your window look like it is embossed. But its irregular shape adds space to the room, so it is considered an upside.
As have been said earlier, the oriel window is a type of bay window. As such, bay windows give you a panoramic view of the outside scenery.
The downside of bay windows however, is that they could potentially block the space outdoors. Also, the repair and maintenance of this window type can be expensive.
16. Bow Windows
This is another variation of the bay window but instead of the identifiable hexagonal or straight shapes of bay windows, they have a curved shape, looking like a bow.
Because of its curved look, it is typically larger than bay windows. Aesthetically, it adds more interior space and is elegant to look at. It also gives a panoramic view and ushers in good insulation and natural light.
On the downside, it is hard to clean because of its shape. It is also not the best choice for people who do not want extra heat and light for their rooms. Most of all, it is expensive.
16. Jalousie Windows
If good ventilation is your priority, nothing beats the classic jalousie window. Jalousies are identifiable for their parallel glasses and wooden/acrylic louvres. The good thing about this is that you can open, close or tilt them using a central lever.
Aesthetic wise, it can match any type of interior. It also gives a lot of ventilation and can maintain good airflow even during heavy rains and snowstorms because you can regulate its tilting and slanting degree.
The main downside of this window type, however, is that it is not the most secure. The parallel glasses can be broken too.
17. Arched Windows
This one is also called the cathedral style window because well, this window design is usually seen in churches and cathedrals. They have rounded tops and symmetrical sides.
The standard design does not allow them to be opened or closed and are typically installed as a second layer to an already existing glass window to add more light filter and ventilation. However, modern designs now offer encasements which makes them openable.
18. Garden Style Window
As the name suggests, this is a perfect choice for greeneries and gardens because they are a four-sided window intended to capture sunlight in all angles.
While it is best for gardens and herbariums, there is no limit as to where you would want to install it. If you are one that loves lots of natural light, then this is the best window type for you.
There are just some considerations that you have to be aware of for this window type. One, you need to have a durable architecture to support it and two, if installed incorrectly, it might obstruct your exterior spaces.
19. Glass Block Window
This has become one of the most prominent window choices for residential and commercial settings because it adds a layer of security and privacy to interior spaces.
Glass block windows are frames of frosted window panels which makes the interior space invisible from the outside. They also come in many designs and finishes so they are apt to any type of architecture.
But on the downside, they do not offer the best ventilation and they also tend to give distorted images and scattered lights. If you are easily distracted, this is not the best window type for you.
20. Storm Window
This window type is made for insulation purposes. It is mounted either inside or outside an existing glass window. Hence, the storm window helps in keeping your house warm during the cold season and to keep it airy and cooler during the hot season.
Aside from this, it is also easy to install, affordable, and increases the efficiency of normal windows.
However, this type of window is not a good choice for wooden frames or wooden exteriors, in general. The condensation between the window layers produces moisture that would damage wood. Other than that, it is also high-maintenance.
21. Pivoted Windows
This one is basically a casement window but installed with a pivoting opening mechanism. Instead of being hinged or side-hung, the casement pivots in the middle either in a horizontal or vertical manner.
This is usually found in commercial settings, offering limited ventilation and can tilt at 180degrees. Its upside would be that it is very versatile, low-maintenance, very functional, and very energy-efficient.
22. Louvered Windows
This one is considered more of a window treatment than a type of window. It is an arrangement of parallel slats (usually made of wood).
They are especially made for filtering light and to regulate air flow in the room. They are also good in keeping extra moisture off. They are usually found among Hispanic designed homes, Mediterranean and tropical looks too.
23. Corner Windows
It might be just a single unit but it features two or more sashes which meet at the corner, hence, the name. It is quite expensive because it requires a special frame to create an opening without the need for a corner support.
You have to know however, that corner windows cannot be opened or closed. Nonetheless, they are perfect choices if you want to add more modern feels to your home.
24. Gable Windows
Although it also sits on pitched roofs, they should not be mistaken for dormers. The stark difference is that they are generally triangular in shape, projected out of the walls in between the edges of pitched roofs.
The windows have a flatter surface too but like dormers, they are also efficient in seeping in lots of natural light for lofts and attic rooms.
This is more of a window amendment than a type of window. They are installed to ensure that a fresh supply of air is flowing outdoors to indoors.
Depending on the humidity of the room, ventilators have the capacity to adjust airflow in a room. They are common among large homes and in almost all commercial settings.
26. Clerestory Windows
You have probably seen one in libraries, gymnasiums and study rooms. This one is composed of a line of small window panels installed on top of a wall or are lined near the ceiling or roof line.
They are placed in very closed rooms to allow natural light and limited ventilation to come through. It is a cost-efficient way to illuminate a large space and offers a good aesthetic impact to a room.
27. Lantern Windows
This one is always interchanged with skylights but really, they have salient differences. Lantern windows are installed either in a pitched or flat roof and are more projected out compared to skylights.
They are known to better channel light in all angles. They are perfect for one-storey extensions but are also dreamy in attic rooms. It is also a good investment if you want your room to look bigger and fuller.
28. Skylight Windows
If the egress window is typical among basements, the skylight window on the other hand is typical among attic rooms.
They are installed for energy-efficiency, especially daylight usage. Aside from this, they provide an unobstructed sky view making them a favorite accent window for vacation houses as well as cabins.
On the downside, these window types are expensive to install and maintain. When installed incorrectly, they can also damage the structure of the roof in the long run. Roof leaks are also associated with skylight windows, although rarely.
29. Round Windows
This one is a Gothic and Victorian inspired window style. It just does not come with round shapes. Round windows also include oval, elliptical and half-round types.
If you want your window to be the focal point of the room while providing enough light and ventilation, this is the best choice for you. You have to take note though, that this type of door cannot be opened or closed.
30. Stained Glass Windows
Stained glass windows are always looked at in a decorative perspective because they are printed with different images, highly customizable, and can be mosaiced. But on the more functional side, stained glass windows add a layer of security to your home, a degree of privacy, and regulate light well. Stained glass windows are popular in churches.
31. Metal Framed Windows
This type of window emerged post World War. In the course of time, they have become more modern in features and are great options to add security to the home.
The two main types of metal framed windows would be steel and aluminum. They are very workable, very durable and last for a long time.
32. Dormer Windows
This one works well with angled roofs that need a brush of natural light. They are usually installed, projecting out of an attic bedroom or a loft with vaulted ceilings.
It sits vertically out of framed structure, embossed out from the roof’s pitch. It usually has a small roof too. Design wise, dormers are perfect for cottage style, Colonial and revival style homes or practically any home with a sloped roof design.
33. Sash Windows
The sash is basically the moveable part of a window or the horizontal or vertical frame that holds the window glass pane. The number of sash hinged on a window defines the single hung and double hung windows.
34. French Windows
This one is a full-length hinged, double-sash window. They are very large windows that open inwards. It gives you full access to a balcony view once opened.
French windows, however, can easily be broken so they are not the most secure windows to install to your home. But if you are in for a full aesthetic appeal, it should be on your priority list.
This one is the glass sheet that covers the window’s opening. They are the ones that offer ventilation and insulation to a room that is why it is important to decide on the type of window pane to be installed in your windows no matter the type.
1. Triple Pane
This is one of the latest and most popular innovations when it comes to window panes. As the name suggests, it is composed of three sheets of glass window panes.
Unlike the double pane, it is separated by two layers of trapped gas. This means that it is more energy-efficient and keeps the home more insulated, more sound proof and safer from condensation during winters.
However, it is also more costly, more high-maintenance, and heavier so it would require a thicker and bulkier frame.
2. Double Pane
This is considered as the most common type of window pane. As the term suggests, it is formed with two sheets of window pane glasses with trapped argon in the middle.
The purpose of the trapped gas is for the window to be held tightly. It also gives more insulation to a room and makes the window more energy-efficient.
Other upsides of double pane windows include blocking noise, and preventing condensation in windows specifically during long winters or the rainy season. On the downside, they are costly to repair and they are not good options for locations with harsh summers.
3. Quadruple Pane
This is by far, the most updated type of window pane out there. As the term suggests, this one is made up of four sheets of window pane glasses separated by three fillings of trapped gas.
Its upsides are four times more effective than the two mentioned ones. Its downsides follow too as it is very expensive and needs bulkier and more durable frames.
Types of window frames
The structure that supports the window is also a very important factor to consider. There are various materials that can be used for window frames but the following are the most common and most preferred.
The classic look of wood window frames never go out of style and as such, is still a common sight among homes. Aside from its timeless appeal, wood frames are preferred because they are easy to fix and not that costly to replace.
When well-maintained, they are also very durable. However, their known vulnerability to moisture and insects should be considered if you opt for wood frames.
This one is made of PVC, the same material used for pipes and plumbing materials. Known for its durability and affordability, it has become one of the most preferred types of window frames.
It is fairly low-maintenance and also very low on energy costs. On the downside, it has issues on color fading especially in hot climates. Since it cannot be repainted, you have to replace it altogether. Also, it does not strike a high resale value.
This material is really the best of all worlds. It is known for its longevity, durability and versatility. When it comes to blocking noise, aluminum is better than vinyl and wood.
Its weatherproof capability is also unmatched plus it is easy to incorporate in any type of architecture. However, on the downside, it absorbs cold and is not a good insulator. It is also more expensive than fiberglass and vinyl.
This is not a common window frame material but you should know that it is considered as the most durable and most low-maintenance window frame material out there.
It is made of sheets of fiberglass and then patterned in a frame. As such, the outcome would look similar as that of a vinyl window frame.
The upside of fiberglass is that it is weatherproof, low-maintenance, can block noise efficiently, best at insulation and can be repainted. However, it is more expensive than the rest.
Whether you are renovating your whole house or you are just improving certain rooms within your home, you will soon realize how important lovely windows are.
Windows can add thousands to the value of your home, and they can also take off thousands, so it is vital that they look as good as possible. Whether you have UPVC, aluminum, or timber, the type of window you have within your home says a lot about you and the style you are trying to create within your home.
Old fashioned, dated, or misted windows can quickly let a house down as the windows are one of the first things you notice about a house.
If you are looking at installing new windows, then you should start by establishing what style you are looking for. One of the best places to start your search is at timberwindows-direct.co.uk, as they have a selection of beautiful engineered timber windows to suit any style of house from modern to arts and craft.
Their range of sash windows will leave any room within your home feeling cozy and warm and looking like a million dollars.
What to Consider
When looking at installing and purchasing new windows, cost is, of course, a consideration, but it is not the only thing you should be thinking about. You get what you pay for, and this is true with windows, as with anything you add to your home.
Well-made windows that stand the test of time are worth any initial outlay or investment, so keep this in mind. At this stage, you should be thinking about what style of window you want to install.
The window style you choose will last your home for many years to come, so make sure it is something that will look good now as well as in 10 years’ time. For example, a Georgian bar design within a window can make any home look like it has been lifted straight out of a magazine.
It is important to remember that if you get the right window for your home, you don’t have to focus too much on dressing it, as the beauty of the window will be enough on its own.
Old windows are terrible at letting heat out, and while this might be OK in the summer, it is certainly not OK when fall or winter comes around.
Changing your windows to new timber windows that are well glazed and well made using engineered timber could drastically improve how efficient your home is, potentially saving you money on your energy bills.
Timber, Plastic, UPVC, Aluminum – Which one is best?
Plastic and UPVC windows can look good when they are initially installed, but they can discolor in the sun, which may leave them looking yellow and unsightly, which is certainly not what you want after you have invested your hard-earned money.
Aluminum windows can look industrial and quite unsightly. Engineered timber windows are an environmentally friendly choice to make; they can come ready stained and are the best value for money as they are stylish and unique. Engineered windows offer fantastic performance, security, value, and durability.
Aside from everything that we have covered here, there are still other notable FAQs that you should be aware of. In this section, we rundown some tips and information regarding windows.
How can I get a free window replacement for my house?
This is not very accessible information but there are some programs that are made for free window replacement if you are qualified.
- Check local government assistance: You can always call your county, city, or state departments for human and social services and ask for free window replacements.
- Forgivable home repair loans: There are non-profit groups which offer forgivable home repair loans. If you qualify with the requirements, you may not pay the loan at all.
- Federal home repair programs: In the US, there are rural repair and rehabilitation grants which cover free window replacements. This is something that should be checked out by homeowners in the countryside.
- FEMA and WAP: These are federal units which entitle a citizen or taxpayer of home rehabilitation and repairs for free especially after natural disasters and to make the home more energy efficient.
What is the most efficient window?
In terms of energy-efficiency, casement windows are still considered as the most efficient. You can control airflow, filter light, and are well-supported by seals so they do not easily break. There are also different amendments which you can install to casement windows so you can always match it to your need and preference.
Which type of window is best for home?
It depends. There is no generic window type that would fit all types of home. So, in choosing one, you need these buying guides:
- Always choose a window that matches your home’s architecture.
- Decide the function of the window that you would install.
- Choose the most appropriate accent color to your window frames.
- Take note of the amount of ventilation that you need for the home.
- Always take note of the sun’s orientation before you finalize your window choice.
- Ask yourself if you want an operable window (that you can open or close) or just for aesthetics (focal point).
- Fit your window type to the size, shape, ceiling type, and overall interior design of the home.
Even though by default, homes are incomplete without a window, there are more of these structures than what we conceive them to be.
We have to be meticulous when it comes to the type of window we choose because they are important in the overall insulation, airflow and ventilation as well as the amount of natural light that the living spaces need.
On account of the types, you have to consider not just the design but also the window pane used and the material for the window frame. With all things considered, you can now better narrow down the right window type choice for you given this information.