Windows

Your Guide To Buying Windows

Whether you're building, updating, or replacing, Home Professionals has the window buying guide for you.

U.S. homeowners lose up to 30% of their energy through drafty windows. That’s a lot of money being leaked out your windows.

But you should try sealing your windows before totally replacing them, as a total home upgrade can be quite an investment.

That being said, ENERGY STAR windows can lower your energy bill by up to 12%--around $100 a year for 2,000 sq. foot, single-story, double-pane windowed home, and up to $500 savings in a year for a single-pane windowed home.

Many homeowners have homes that are multiple levels and are larger than 2,000 sq. feet. That means you’re probably losing a lot of money if you have double-pane windows…and a ton of money with single-pane.

Furthermore, the right windows will make your home look unique to you, insulate sound, create a comfortable atmosphere, and, in the long run, should save you money.

So it’s important to get your windows right…whether you’re building, replacing, or upgrading.

If you don’t already know the type of window you need, here’s a list with pictures and descriptions:

Types of Windows

Arched Window

PC: http://www.rockymountainwindows.com

Arched windows are common in homes with Roman architecture but offer a classic look to modern-style homes. Arched windows increase your home’s aesthetic and appeal. Easy to maintain and versatile, arched windows compliment many homes.

Features and Cost:

  • Appealing, attractive, and versatile
  • Increases home curb appeal
  • Easy maintenance
  • Can be weather-proofed
  • Can be fixed shut or made to be open
  • Not usually for ventilation and does not really offer an escape route for emergencies
  • Approx. Cost: $300-$650

Awning Window

PC: https://www.marvin.com

Awning windows have hinges at the top and they open outward—so it would angle out like an awning over a patio does. Awning windows are ideal in a light rain storm, as they keep the water from angling into your home. They’re very easy to operate and are often favored in combination with other window styles.

Features and Cost:

  • Prevents some water damage by keeping rain and snow out
  • Many different styles, custom sizes, and window combinations
  • Can install up to triple-pane which provides excellent energy efficiency
  • Approx. Cost: $400-$800

Basement Window

PC: https://nusitegroup.com

Basement windows often come in awning, hopper and slider windows. The most popular may be the slider windows. They take up less room, are generally more affordable, and suit basements well.

Features and Cost:

  • May need a specialty window well and bubble if your basement is below ground level
  • Slider and hopper style of basement windows are usually the most common and affordable
  • Should have a screen installed with the window
  • Keep room space in mind when selecting your basement window type
  • Approx. Cost: $200-$800

Bay & Bow Windows

PC: https://wanderpololaw.com

Bay windows and bow windows are essentially the same. These types of windows have a frame that builds outward, usually in a hexagonal shape, and may add space to your room.

Features and Cost:

  • Aesthetically pleasing inside and out of your home and adds space/functionality to your room
  • Better view of the outside
  • Takes up more of your outside area
  • Maintenance and replacement is considered to be on the costly side
  • Approx. Cost: $1,000-$3,700

Casement Window

PC: https://www.pollardwindows.com

Casement windows are single-stash windows (similar to hopper windows) that are installed vertically. Their hinges are located on the sides, and they can open inward or outward.

Features and Cost:

  • Variety of sizes, materials, and designs—useful in many locations
  • Good insulation
  • Low maintenance and is considered easy to maintain
  • Good for areas you want excellent ventilation
  • Usually don’t work great with window screens
  • Not usually considered a very secure window
  • Approx. Cost: $250-$800

Colonial Window

PC: http://www.westcalpropertygroup.com

Colonial style windows were influenced by the reconstruction of England as well as Roman/Greek ruins. Though there are different styles of colonial homes in the U.S. today, they share some basic features including a central doorway and interior stairs, rows of windows that are straight and symmetrical, columns, and steep roofs.

Features and Cost:

  • Multi-paned windows
  • Symmetrical and pleasing to the eye
  • Very popular and common—highly convenient
  • Double-hung and sliding windows are recommended in this style in order to save on indoor room—may be opened from top or bottom sash
  • Pairs well with shutters
  • Great for ventilation
  • Affordable to repair and maintain
  • Approximate cost of colonial-style windows: $200-$1,200

Diamond Window

PC: https://www.decorpad.com

 

Diamond windows are great accent windows in walls or doors. They can be single or multiple paned, and they are often custom made to suit a room’s design.

Features and Cost:

  • Beautiful accent windows
  • May be used in place of mirrors
  • Beautiful framing devices
  • Unique and aesthetically pleasing
  • Approximate cost of diamond shaped windows: $200-$1,000

Double-Hung Window

PC: https://www.pellabranch.com

Double-hung windows are very common and are considered practical for everyday use. Both upper and lower parts of the window can be used to increase your indoor ventilation.

Features and Cost:

  • Variety of designs and materials
  • Easy ventilation
  • Common and functional
  • Great if you have narrow outdoor areas
  • Affordable but not as energy-efficient as other windows
  • Approx. Cost: $200-$400

Egress Window

PC: https://www.bdrylouisville.com

Egress windows are something like an emergency exit. They are often required in places of business and in basements.

Features and Cost:

  • Specific size requirements. The sill is usually not allowed to be more than 44” from the floor and the window dimensions are typically required to be 24” high, 20” wide, and 5.7 sq. ft in opening area. Check with your window pro to be sure.
  • Usually needs an accompanying egress window well in basement windows. Maybe a ladder too.
  • Egress windows can be many different styles of windows, but they must meet legally required emergency dimensions. Make sure they do with your window professional before you install.
  • Approx. Cost: Depends on how complex the evacuation plan would be but usually around $2,000-$5,000 on average

Fanlight Window

PC: http://www.oldenglishdoors.co.uk

 

Fanlight windows are semi-circles (or semi-elliptical) windows that have frames which spread from the center like a fan. Often placed over windows and doorways, fanlight windows may be hinged to a transom window. Fanlight windows are like transom windows in some ways, and they are sometimes called a sunburst light because of the design.

Features and Cost:

  • Semi-circle and semi-elliptical in shape
  • Usually above windows and doorways—sometimes hinged to transom windows
  • Detailed and aesthetically pleasing
  • Allows more natural light
  • Sometimes called sunburst lights
  • Much like transom windows
  • Approximate cost of fanlight windows: $200-$600

Fractional Window

PC: http://architects-rock.com

Fractional windows are casement windows that are split into fractional windows. You can have long and short fractional windows.

Features and Cost:

  • Variety of sizes, materials, and designs—useful in many locations
  • Good insulation
  • Low maintenance and is considered easy to maintain
  • Good for areas you want excellent ventilation
  • Usually don’t work great with window screens
  • Not usually considered a very secure window
  • Approximate cost of fractional windows: $250-$1,000

French Window

https://frenchly.us

French windows are double-leaf and either open inward or outward from the center of the window. Traditionally, French windows have a lattice of several glass panes, but some French doors are a single glass pane. French windows can also be sliding or folding doors.

Features and Cost:

  • French doors allow more light, ventilation, and open space
  • Beautiful aesthetic in traditional or modern homes
  • Fits with different types of architecture
  • Great for scenery and views
  • Can be glazed and framed to be energy-efficient
  • Can be opened both ways and create fresh channels of ventilation
  • Easy to maintain
  • Approximate cost of French windows: $500-$1,000

Garden Window

PC: https://www.windowtownofutica.com

Garden windows have four sides that extend outward, and they are ideal for small herb gardens and other plants. The side windows may be customized to open for ventilation.

Features and Cost:

  • Extend space in home with a shelf or even multiple shelves
  • Not just for plants, you can use the shelves for personal items and decoration
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Will extend outward, so make sure you have the space
  • Smaller and more affordable than a bay window
  • Better in moderate climates and prone to developing leaks
  • Does not provide great insulation
  • Approx. Cost: $1,000-$4,000

Glass Block Window

PC: http://www.seattleglassblock.com

 

Glass block windows are thicker and have a specific aesthetic. Because they are thick and hard to see through, they are popular in basements, bathrooms, and offices.

Features and Cost:

  • Thick glass which makes the space more secure
  • Frosted and thick glass maintains your privacy
  • Varying and unique aesthetic
  • Not for ventilation
  • Image distortion with light and the outdoors
  • Approx. Cost: $400-$1,000

Hopper Window

PC: https://www.marvin.com

Hopper windows are rectangles on the horizontal axis. They open inwards, from the top, towards the home and are often used in basements.

Features and Cost:

  • Excellent for areas with little outdoor space
  • Low maintenance
  • Good insulation
  • Affordable
  • Not great for rooms with little space as it takes up more room
  • Could let water in during a storm
  • Approx. Cost: $100-$600

Jalousie Window

PC: https://windows-hawaii.com/

Jalousie windows have layered horizontal slats that cover each other. You open the slats with a crank. Most jalousie windows allow you to turn the slats completely horizontal giving a mostly unobstructed view of outside. These windows are diverse in design, compliments many house aesthetics, and is very functional.

Features and Cost:

  • Good ventilation
  • Enhanced airflow due to the slats making the most of the entire opening
  • Complimentary design that fits with many different aesthetics
  • Can keep out water during storms while allowing airflow
  • Most have glass panels, but some have aluminum or other material panes
  • Easy maintenance
  • Affordable to repair (one slat vs. whole window)
  • Less water-resistant and poor insulation—better in sun rooms or warmer climates
  • Approx. Cost: $150-$400

Palladian Window

PC: https://artsandcraftshomes.com

Palladian windows have a large center window, a rounded/arched window above the center window, and small windows on either side of the center window. Usually, there is a vertical division, which is often decorative, between the center window and the smaller windows around it. While perhaps less common than it was for American homes in the 1700’s, Palladian windows are still a beautiful statement.

Features and Cost:

  • Usually custom ordered
  • Can be made to be more energy-efficient and may offer ventilation depending on how you order the window
  • Beautiful statement pieces
  • Unique and aesthetically pleasing
  • Offers a lot of natural light
  • Approximate cost of Palladian windows: $700-$2,000

Panoramic Window

PC: http://panoramicdoors.com/

Panoramic windows are several large, connected windows without the hardware (hinges) connecting them. Homeowners use them as doors as well as simply windows. You can have one or more panoramic windows, and they allow you a lot more control over where people come in and out of your home.

Features and Cost:

  • Allows viewing of scenic landscape
  • A lot of natural light
  • More control over where people come in and out of your home
  • Variety in number of panoramic windows you can install
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Approx. Cost: $1,000-$10,000

Picture Window

PC: http://arelisapril.com

Picture windows are fixed in the wall and does not open. It essentially frames a view of the outside. These windows can usually be found on vaulted walls or ceilings.

Features and Cost:

  • Good for framing a view
  • Low maintenance
  • No need for blinds or curtains
  • Approx. Cost: $200-$700!

Prairie Window

PC: https://brennancorp.com

Prairie windows are usually in groups of three on many sides of a home. Prairie style homes tend to go smaller where they can with simple lines. The smaller clusters of windows allow light to reach the interior of all sides without huge windows.

Features and Cost:

  • Tend to be neutral toned and simple
  • Pleasing to the eye for most people
  • Smaller windows
  • Offers good ventilation since the clusters of windows open
  • Usually casement style windows, but will also use single and double-hung, awning, and picture windows
  • Energy-efficient since casement windows are known for their energy-efficiency and because the windows are smaller
  • Affordable to repair and maintain
  • Approximate cost of prairie-style windows: $250-$800

Round Window

PC: https://modernize.com

Based in old gothic cathedral architecture, round windows are a beautiful addition to almost any home. Round windows have so much versatility, and they enhance your home’s curb appeal. Round windows are technically not always perfectly round. They’re grouped in the same family as quarter-circle, half-circle, chord, elliptical, and oval windows. Since these are all related to a circle shape, they are in the same family.

Features and Cost:

  • Beautiful, decorative, versatile and useful
  • Can be sealed closed or installed with the ability to open or close
  • The round window family extends to quarter-circle, half-circle, elliptical, chord, and oval shaped windows
  • Easy to combine these windows with other windows for unique shapes and aesthetic
  • Usually the round window family are fixed shut, though some, like the fully-round window, can be fixed to open and close to allow ventilation
  • Many homeowners like round windows to be decorative with fancy grills, casing, design, and glass
  • Round windows may not be considered “on trend” at the moment, but it may be a good fit for your home design
  • Approximate cost of round windows: $250-$800

Skylight Window

PC: https://www.veluxusa.com

Skylight windows are in the roofs of your home and offers ventilation as well as natural light. Some may even serve as an emergency exit in the right place.

Features and Cost:

  • You can get a fixed skylight (doesn’t open) or you can get a skylight that opens manually or electrically
  • Excellent attic or ceiling ventilation
  • May be a good option for a fire escape in attic rooms
  • Watertight
  • Consider Low-E treatment to protect carpet and furniture from more sun exposure
  • Approx. Cost: $900-$2200

Sliding Window

PC: https://clearchoicewi.com

Sliding windows open horizontally from the left or the right. They slide through built in tracks and create an opening on either side.

Features and Cost:

  • Usually wider than they are tall
  • May move only one way or both ways
  • Good with space inside or out
  • Works great with furniture and some privacy
  • Simple maintenance
  • Approx. Cost: $300-$1300

Storm Window

https://roofworksinc.com

Storm windows are solid windows that don’t open or close. They are usually installed on the exterior of your home over your standard windows. Storm windows create a seal to improve insulation and protect your home from outside debris and weather.

Features and Cost:

  • Improves sealing and insulation
  • Keeps home safer from weather and debris
  • Installation varies between wood, aluminum, and interior storm windows
  • If you have single-pane windows, storm windows might be a more affordable installation rather than replacing all your windows
  • Affordable and helps your windows be energy-efficient
  • Helps keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter
  • Approx. Cost: $200-$500

Transom Window

PC: https://www.marvin.com

Transom windows are rectangular, fan-shaped, or angled windows placed horizontally above or below a door or window. They are usually decorative and used to accent a room.

Features and Cost:

  • Enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home
  • Decorative
  • Extra ventilation
  • Affordable upgrade
  • Brings in more natural light
  • Approx. Cost: $200-$600

Victorian Window

PC: http://wvsfa.com

Victorian windows refer to a style of windows in a period of architecture after the civil war. Homes started taking on the ornate Victorian details rather than the classical architecture that had been popular.

Features and Cost:

  • Typically larger in size
  • Renovating for smaller windows is not advised as it ruins the look of the Victorian architecture and can be structurally compromising
  • Double-hung, casement, and bay windows are frequently used in Victorian style homes
  • Approximate cost of Victorian style windows: $200-$800

 

Be Money Smart AND Energy Smart When Buying Windows

Depending on where you live, you’re going to need certain types of windows.

If you’re building, consulting with your professionals on window placement to maximize energy savings is an important step in your window installation.

If your window frames are still solid, you can save money by only doing partial replacements–windows that will fit in your existing frames. If you’re looking for a full replacement, that’s going to include the sill, jambs, flange, and the frame in addition to the buying windows itself.

Ask your window professionals about current federal, city, and state incentives/tax ride-offs to save on window installation. The U.S. government will often create incentives for energy-savings that reduce your carbon footprint.

ENERGY STAR appliances are often a large part of these incentives. Check out some of your options HERE.

Find the Best Pro When Buying Windows

Here at Home Professionals, we value the pros that make your life easier and better–getting you the best deals available.

Windows are an investment, and you’ll lose sorely if those windows are installed poorly.

Your window installing pros should have insurance, credentials, and a standing business record that you can refer to.

Don’t just hire anyone. Look online for reviews, make sure the business has a permanent address and number. You can often check authenticity with their insurer or the BBB.

Get the best quote for your area. A good quote on windows should include, the window type, manufacturer, sizes, add-ons, amount of windows being done, and labor costs. You should ask for an itemized quote that lists out material and labor costs.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What material should I get for the frames of my windows?
A: Wood frames usually have vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum around them in order to protect the wood. This also saves you a paint job you’d otherwise have to do. Wood frames also tend to be the most expensive. Fiberglass frames don’t need to be painted either, and may be a more affordable option. Vinyl is the cheapest option, but they don’t look as good as the other ones.

Q:When should I shop for windows?
A: Like anything, you’ll want to shop around and compare prices before you settle on a window choice. You may want to wait and search for specials and sales that happen every now and then on manufacturer websites. Windows tend to go on sale in the late fall or winter, so you may want to check out prices then. That being said, if you can’t afford to upgrade all your windows, simply focus on the broken, leaky, or most energy-wasting ones. Check energy.gov for energy rebates and ask your professional about any incentives or rebates they may know about.

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