Seven Window Types and Their Typical Uses

December 18, 2009

Before you go shopping for replacement windows or windows for your new construction job, know the seven basic types of windows are how they are most commonly used.

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Single Hung Windows

These windows are placed in a vertical wall opening. The bottom sash (frame + glass) slides up and down, while the top sash remains stationary. Single hung windows and sliders are two two of the least expensive options for replacement or new windows.

Double Hung Windows

Like single hung windows, these windows are installed in a vertical opening. The difference between single and double hung windows is that with double hung, both the top and the bottom sashes open and close. The advantage of double hung windows is better control of ventilation; with each sash opened part way, hot air flows out the top while cool air enters through the bottom. Both single and double hung windows are associated with architectural styles popular from the early 1700s to the early 1900s.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows, are another style of sash window. Sliders are placed in horizontal wall openings. They may open from the right, the left, or in the case of double-sliders, from both sides. Sliding windows give a more streamlined, less traditional look than do single or double hung windows, and are appropriate for architecture from the mid 1900's forward.

Picture Windows

Often paired with flanking windows that open for air flow, picture windows are are stationary panes of glass that frame a view. Bay windows are usually constructed by placing a pair of flanking windows at an angle of 15O or more on each side of a picture window.

Casement Windows

Casement windows are attached to their frames by one or more side hinges, and open via crank, lever, knob, or folding handles. They may be installed with one or a pair of panes in a single frame. Modern casement windows open to the outside. Casement windows were used before the invention of sash windows and have enjoyed a resurgence in the late 20th century because they are easy to open and close, and offer a sight line unobstructed by a sash.

Awning Windows

Awning windows, like casements, are single panes of glass that open to the outside by use of a lever or crank. However, instead of side hinges, the hinges on awning windows are at the top, allowing the bottom edge to move away from the frame. Awning windows have the advantage of allowing air flow while preventing wind and rain from entering. And although the name awning might suggest that they are placed only high on a wall, they can be located anywhere, from floor to ceiling.

Geometric Windows

Geometric windows include full circle, half round, quarter round, radius, and octagons, among other shapes. They are usually stationary, but if they open, are hinged. Geometric windows are used for decorative accents or to provide light where a full window would not be practical.


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