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Window Types

Selecting the proper window for the style of your house is as important as the way you want the window to operate. The arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows are known as fenestration, and it can make all the difference in the architectural success or failure of any building. Windows come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, and they can be a single pane of glass (most often used in contemporary buildings) or multi paned (a more traditional look).

If you are thinking of installing new windows and want them to complement the style of your house, consider the following:

  • Fixed windows let in the light and view but do not open to admit air. They come in a variety of shapes, including circles and ovals. Fixed windows are frequently combined in sets of windows, often as the center flanked by windows that do open. They are commonly installed near the ceilings of rooms or on staircases. Fixed picture windows are usually found in 20th century homes, especially in ranch houses.
  • Casement windows are hinged on one side so that the whole window opens in or out when a crank mounted at the bottom of the window is operated. Older casements opened into the room, so that they would not swing in the wind; most newer casements are reinforced at the bottom to prevent this, so they swing out. Casement windows are associated with Tudor and Spanish style buildings, with Craftsman bungalows, and with cottages of any style.
  • Only the bottom part of a single hung window opens. Double hung windows have both upper and lower sashes that ride up and down in their own channels. These are the proper windows for Georgian style buildings.
  • Three part Palladian windows that gently curve at the top are also suitable for classical style structures.
  • Bays are sets of at least three windows mounted together that project out from the wall to let more light into the room. Bow windows project out in a curve. Oriel windows are bays whose projections are supported by corbels or brackets. They are frequently installed over arched doorways. Although associated with traditional building styles, these window types can also be used in contemporary architecture.
  • Sliding windows have top and bottom tracks so that the sashes can move sideways. Small versions are often installed near the top of the room to provide light and air while maintaining privacy. They should only be used in 20th century buildings.
  • Awning windows are hinged horizontally to swing out at the top. They can be left open in mild rainstorms. They are also appropriate on 20th century structures.

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