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Home | Our Blog | The Best Window Types to Enhance Your Home

The Best Window Types to Enhance Your Home

posted on Oct 14, 2019

Windows tend to last about 20 years. When they’re nearing the two-decade mark, you should start thinking about replacing them. You may not realize it at first, but there are many considerations when it comes to installing or replacing windows. You’ll need to consider energy efficiency, frame materials, and glazing options, but before you even begin that, you’ll have to determine the basic type of windows you want for your home.

If you’ve been wondering, “What type of windows should I buy?” then continue reading this blog. We’re going to highlight the different types of windows as well as the materials you can choose from to help you make the best possible decision. Courtesy of our team at Legacy Service, here are the best types of windows for houses:

Window Types to Enhance Your Home

Types of Windows

Windows are a fantastic way to spruce up your home’s exterior while increasing your energy efficiency. Many homes feature more than one style, but designers believe that mixing too many different ones can create a disjointed look. So, when you’re looking for a single window, it’s best to stick with the same style, but when you’re replacing a higher amount, you have more freedom to start over and choose different types. Take a look at some of the more popular types to determine which ones you like. Here are some of the best-rated window styles:

Double-Hung Windows

Double-Hung Windows

You probably already have at least one double-hung window in your home, since it’s the most common type in America due to its functionality.

Construction: These windows have two large sashes that use vertical tracks to move up and down. In modern versions, the sashes are typically counterbalanced by springs that are hidden in the side tracks.

Pros: 

  • Many manufacturers make them, so there’s a wide selection regardless of your home’s architectural style.
  • They’re affordable and energy-efficient.
  • Springs and weights make them easy to open and close.

Cons: 

  • The materials and functionality make it less airtight than other types of windows.
  • Sash cords can break and counterbalance springs can wear out over time, so the windows need regular maintenance.

Double-Hung with Muntins

Double-Hung with Muntins

This is a variation of the common double-hung window.

Construction: The larger sashes are divided into smaller panes using a grid of vertical and horizontal muntins. In older windows, the muntins hold the smaller glass panels while more modern versions use wood or plastic over a larger pane to create the effect.

Pros: 

  • They have all of the pros of a standard double-hung window.
  • They offer homeowners a classic style and appeal.

Cons: 

  • They also have the same cons as a standard double-hung window.
  • Fake muntins may look cheap and inauthentic while real ones can separate the glass over time and reduce its energy-efficiency.

Casement Windows

Casement Windows

Casement windows are ones that open outward or inward from the side.

Construction: They open horizontally on hinges that are mounted on one side of the top and bottom. While one side pivots open, the other one remains stationary. These common windows are only second in popularity to double-hung.

Pros:

  • The window seal is generally tight, so they’re good at keeping out drafts.
  • They tend to be more secure against intruders since the open space is narrow when they’re open.
  • They come in a variety of materials, sizes, and designs.

Cons:

  • Strong winds can break them off if they’re fully extended.
  • Since they usually open outward, they’re hard to use with window screens.

Awning Windows

Awning Windows

These types of windows operate in the same way as casement, but they crank open from the bottom instead of the side.

Construction: Mechanical cranks open and close awning windows from the bottom while the top edge is fixed in place. They’re most-often used in basements or below-grade applications.

Pros:

  • They’re fairly secure against intruders.
  • The awning prevents water from entering, so they can be left open when it rains.

Cons:

  • The mechanical cranks can wear out over time like casement windows.
  • It’s tough to clean the outside portion of the window pane.

Slider Windows

Slider Windows

These windows were popular in construction during the 1950s and 60s.

Construction: Mechanically simple, they consist of two or three panels that slide horizontally along tracks on the top and bottom. In some styles, both windows slide, and in others, one is fixed while the other slides.

Pros:

  • They’re an excellent choice if you want to be able to constantly open and close your windows.
  • They’re very durable since they have no mechanisms or cranks.

Cons:

  • Many consider the style to be dated.
  • They require frequent cleaning because the tracks can fill with dirt and debris.

Fixed Windows

Fixed Windows

These types of windows are used to provide light or a view rather than ventilation or egress.

Construction: This can be any type of window that doesn’t open or close because it’s a glass pane that’s fixed within a window frame. A classic picture window is the most common example, but there are other types as well.

Pros: 

  • Since they’re permanently sealed, they offer better energy efficiency than other types of windows.
  • They tend to be cheaper than other styles.

Cons: 

  • They don’t allow for any ventilation since they can’t be opened.
  • Warm, sunny climates may cause them to create too much energy gain.

Roof Windows or Skylights

Roof Windows or Skylights

Commonly seen on cabins or vacation houses, skylights and roof windows provide light as well as views for the people inside.

Construction: The terms can be used interchangeably, but typically a roof window can be opened and closed while a skylight remains fixed.

Pros:

  • They’re a good way to add light to attics and top floor spaces.
  • Their exposure to the sun helps heat areas up during the winter.

Cons:

  • These types of windows tend to have shorter lifespans because they take a beating from the sun and rain.
  • Installation and replacement require a professional since they’ll have to cut open the roof.

Bay or Bow Window

Bay or Bow Window

This type of window is often used as a centerpiece large family rooms, living rooms, or parlors. They usually look out onto an attractive view or a landscaped setting.

Construction: A bay or bow window is a combination of windows that extend out from the wall of the home. They’re called bay when the shape is more square while they’re called bow when it’s more curved.

Pros: 

  • They’re perfect if you want a constant view of the outdoors.
  • Most of them offer shelf space for plants and other types of decor.

Cons: 

  • They can be very expensive.
  • You may experience a heat loss issue due to their large surface area.

Glass Block Windows

Glass Block Windows

This type of window is typically used in spaces like bathrooms and basements where you want to add light but limit visibility.

Construction: This type of fixed window is made with semi-opaque glass blocks that allow light to pass through while still blocking views from the inside and the outside.

Pros:

  • They’re the most secure out of all the window styles because they’re mortared in place.
  • Since they’re semi-opaque, they’re perfect for areas of your home that require privacy.

Cons:

  • The windows are not very decorative.
  • They don’t provide ventilation and may heat up indoor spaces.

Window Frame Material

Once you choose the style of your window, the next step is to choose the material for the frame. Here are four of the most common ones:

  1. Aluminum: If you’re living in the Northeast, aluminum might not be the best choice for your window frames. The material is strong, durable, and inexpensive, but it doesn’t insulate well. This can increase your heating costs and cancel out the energy-efficient windows that you just chose to install.
  2. Fiberglass: This material is becoming increasingly popular because it not only looks great on the inside and outside of your home, but it’s also durable in its resiliency to weather and household use. Fiberglass requires little maintenance, and it does a great job of insulating your home. The only disadvantage is how expensive it can be.
  3. Vinyl: Vinyl is one of the most popular window frame materials because it’s a durable and inexpensive option that comes in a variety of colors and styles. Although vinyl frames also provide great insulation, they’re not as strong as the other types of material, and they can’t be painted.
  4. Wood: Wood was the go-to frame material for centuries, but the other types have slowly been replacing it since technology has evolved. However, most people still like the look and feel of wood window frames. The strong material looks nice on almost any home and provides adequate insulation. However, water can rot it over time and heat can cause cracks and other damage.

What Are the Best Windows for a Home?

Although there’s not really a “best type” of window overall, there can be the best type for your particular needs. Use the information above to get a better idea of what you need for your home. If you’re wondering about residential window ratings for different types of house window brands, contact our Legacy Service team today at 215-798-9790.

Posted on Oct 14, 2019 in Roof

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