When you’re preparing to purchase replacement windows for your home, it can be difficult to decide between the many window types on the market. The best replacement window types differ for homeowners depending on your style, the type of home you have and the space where your windows are located. To make it easier for you, we’ve broken down a list of standard replacement windows in terms of material and style, and what they could mean for you:
Window Frame Materials
Window frames come in several different materials — each with unique characteristics and options.
Wood is a classic material and is extremely versatile because it can be painted or stained to fit your style. Wood offers the maximum flexibility and the most customization options. But its higher manufacturing cost often translates to a bigger price tag.
Learn more about wood windows
This material is extremely low maintenance and energy efficient — ideal for homes that endure a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures. Fiberglass offers more color options than vinyl with a thinner frame offering more glass for a better view. Fiberglass windows tend to look more contemporary and have a slightly textured finish.
Learn more about fiberglass windows
Vinyl is a low-maintenance material that can offer great performance at a great price. Although it has limited options and fewer colors, it also has the lowest manufacturing cost, making it more cost-effective for homeowners.
Learn more about vinyl windows
Types of Windows
Single-Hung and Double-Hung
The single-hung style of window is fixed in place at the top, allowing you to open it from the bottom for ventilation. Double-hung is very similar, except you can lower it open from the top as well as raise it from the bottom. Double-hung windows are nice because opening the top sash allows you to let hot air leave the room while leaving the bottom sash closed for children and pets. Single-hung windows do not open from the top, but this style may be desirable for larger windows where you are less likely to reach the top to open or tilt in for cleaning. These styles are becoming more popular due to their versatile look and ease of cleaning.
Both of these window styles provide a classic look that can be perfect for a living room or bedroom, where you have easy access to the windows and want to enjoy some fresh air in your living space. Double-hung windows are great in a bathroom or shower area where you may wish to open the top sash to let steam escape.
Learn more about single-hung windowsLearn more about double-hung windows
Sliding windows work similarly to sliding doors, opening horizontally on a track. These provide a unique twist to the classic vertical style of windows, and they can give you even more control over the ventilation, which makes them perfect for rooms like bathrooms or kitchens where you might want to ventilate steam or control airflow. Some homeowners choose to replace existing side-by-side casement windows with one sliding window. Eliminating the space between offers more glass and gives a great view for a better price.
Learn more about horizontal sliding windows
These windows, sometimes referred to as crank windows, glide open from side hinges. When open, casement windows allow airflow as they “scoop” in passing breezes. These windows can be hinged on the left or the right. Since they do take up more space when operated, they may not be ideal for a deck or patio, but rather can fit beautifully over the kitchen sink, where they are easier to operate than standard single or double-hung windows that require a little more effort to open. Another bonus of casement windows is that the screen is located on the inside of the home so it stays cleaner.
Learn more about casement windows
Like casement windows, awning windows open outward, though they are hinged from the top instead of the sides. These pair nicely with stationary windows because they add ventilation and provide some visual variety. Awning windows are a great choice to let in airflow with less risk of rain entering your home when open. They make a great addition above a window or door where you want ventilation in a hard-to-reach area. Avoid placing these windows where they may obstruct movement outside, like a patio or sidewalk.
Learn more about awning windows
This style is a set of three angled window panes, typically with a large center window and smaller side panes that have the option of opening. This is the kind of window you want to install wherever you want to create interest on the outside or look at something interesting from the inside. It also makes for a perfect reading nook just by adding some cushions to the ledge. With three customizable windows in one combination, you have ultimate flexibility in styles and configurations.
Learn more about bay windows
Instead of the three-paned bay window, a bow window can include four or more panes, typically equal in size, extending past the walls of your home in a graceful curving shape. The panes can be fixed or operable depending on your preference — but either way, they will provide beautiful panoramic views of your front or back yard. What's the difference between bay vs bow windows? Here's a handy guide to help.
Learn more about bow windows
Custom, Special Shape and Specialty Options
If none of these standard replacement window styles is what you’re looking for in your home, there is always the option to customize your own window. At Pella, we can create panes in unique shapes, frames at special angles, and windows in virtually any size, shape or style you have in mind. Think circles, hexagons, octagons, arches and other unique shapes. If you are really looking to make a unique statement with your windows that is unlike anything you’ve seen before, this is probably the option for you.
Learn more about custom windows