Letting in the Air: 13 Types Of House Windows For Your Home

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 04/04/22 •  16 min read

We’re creatures of habit.  We tend to choose the same things over and over because it’s how we’ve always done them. But whether you’re renovating your home or building a new one, taking a closer look at all of your options can create possibilities where you didn’t see them before.

Windows are a great example of this. Windows are one of the most important features of a home but we often just opt for what we’re used to or what’s in the brochure when the time comes.

Even a beautiful piece of architecture build it to the highest quality standards could have a look (and have an energy rating) that’s drastically different depending on the window that’s installed.

To help you choose the right windows to let some fresh air into your space, we’ve put together a list of the 13 most popular window styles below. Not only are these window styles popular, but they also have a variety of pros and cons to consider. So, let’s dive in!

1. Casement Windows

Casement windows are dual windows that open outward through the use of a hand crank. While the hand crank may be a questionable feature, it’s a solid construction that allows you to open your window only as far as you want and remain in that position, regardless of wind. 

This feature provides a controllable level of airflow. They also have a traditional, classy look that vibes well with most modern home designs. In terms of security, casement windows are high on most lists as they provide an excellent seal when closed and can only be opened with the inside crank.

Though casement windows are essentially miniature double-doors constructed of glass and metal, they do afford an excellent view, even when they’re closed. Of course, you can find casement windows with more material designs in the glass but the vast majority are wide open and clear glass. 

For outstanding, whole-home ventilation, it’s hard to do better than installing casement windows all throughout your home. It’s the best way to customize your airflow throughout the home without using some sort of smart device. 

Choosing casement windows is generally a stylistic choice, though they have more to offer than traditional decor. They’re very secure and have a high level of efficiency in terms of durability and energy savings in your home. 

Casement Window Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent airflow
  • Highly rated security windows
  • Traditional and classy review
  • Mixes well with other windows

Cons

  • Only open with a hand crank

2. Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows are the most popular type of window, both in terms of consumer desire and level of manufacturing. Most of its popularity comes from the fact that there are so many materials and colors that are available. 

If you are designing your own home or want to upgrade your own windows, it will be difficult not to find a matching choice. Double-hung windows bring a lot of things to the table in terms of material and other aesthetic choices. 

Vinyl and wood materials are by far the most popular choices but they aren’t the only materials to choose from. The degree of energy efficiency can’t match that of casement windows, but double-hung windows are no slouch in that department either.

When fitted right, they seal very well and they are extremely budget-friendly. You can also purchase double-hung windows with low E-glass coatings, which seals out ultraviolet and infrared without sacrificing the amount of light that passes through the glass.

Double-hung windows have excellent ventilation and you can easily control the amount by lowering either the top or the bottom. They’re not as controllable as casement windows, but provide a good layer of customization regardless. 

Pros

  • Large selection
  • Great airflow
  • Optional Low E-glass
  • Energy efficient

Cons

  • Aged windows leak
  • Maintenance is easy but more frequent than other windows

3. Single-hung Windows

Single-hung windows open vertically at the bottom sash and are pretty popular windows in their own right. There are a lot of materials and colors to choose from and they have a positive rating in terms of increased energy efficiency.

The method for opening a single-hung window helps you maintain interior space behind the window, as it all operates in a single motion that takes up no space inward or outward. Since they only move in one direction and in one piece, there are fewer penetration points for outside air to get in.

This means that they will hold up for a good amount of time before age catches up with them. Another thing that really makes them a popular choice is all of the shapes, trim, sizes, colors, and materials to choose from. 

Out of all of the windows on this list, the single-hung window is probably the one with the most variety to choose from. Unfortunately, they’re not the showiest or glamorous of windows, however, they still look great, if a bit standard.

If you want style, you’ll have to choose single-hung windows that come with other layers of artistic or architectural material that will install with or over the window. 

Pros

  • Short-term price savings
  • Saves space
  • Easy to use
  • Longevity

Cons

  • Less ventilation
  • Harder to clean

4. Bay Windows

A bay window consists of three or more windows ⁠— typically a central picture window flanked by two windows that are typically smaller, but this is not always the case as in the picture above.

The window panes used angle out, creating a bump-out from the house, which gives you a little more space in the room.

Bay windows are more expensive to install than typical windows and may require a foundation or footing depending on your local building codes.

Click over to our full article about bay windows here to learn more.

Pros

  • A beautiful, three-dimensional look
  • Creates more “usable” space in the room
  • Lets in tons of light and creates great views
  • Can increase property value

Cons

  • Building and repairs can be complicated
  • Costly installation

5. Bow Windows

Bow windows are often confused with bay windows as they also bump out of the exterior wall. To help, you can think of a bow window as a very curved bay window.

Unlike bay windows, which are often made up of three window panes, bow windows are made up of several, smaller and usually same-sized window panels. Bow windows usually consist of 4-6 panels that join together to form an almost seamless curved arch.

They’re quite beautiful in design and best for houses with several rounded corners. Regardless, bow windows have an astonishing aesthetic from the outside and provide extra space inside. 

Any space that they don’t provide they make up for with the illusion of a larger area, which is a common feature of large windows. 

Click here for more information about bow windows, including how to decide between a bow and a bay window for your home.

Pros

  • Large, beautiful design
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Expansive interior
  • Make for great views

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Difficult to clean

6. Awning Windows

Awning windows are similar to casement windows in how they operate and therefore, are highly energy efficient as they seal extremely well. They open from the bottom, with the hinge halfway up the overall window, and it’s easy to use this opening method to control the airflow through your home. 

The way they open allows you to keep them open during heavy rain, as the window creates an awning that effectively serves as a patio overhead. They are surprisingly budget-friendly as well, although their design aesthetics are a bit limited. 

However, you can purchase them in a variety of materials, such as steel, aluminum, vinyl, and wood. Also, like casement windows, they are difficult to break into, which heightens their popularity. 

They can also be difficult to clean. Not the inside, of course, but since the outside tilts upwards, it’s hard to get an arm beneath, up, and around the window in order to wipe down the exterior. If you’re looking into awning windows, having a two-story house may be a turn-off. 

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Unique aesthetic
  • Very energy efficient
  • Great airflow

Cons

  • Difficult to clean
  • Limited color choices

7. Hopper Windows

While the bottom of the sash of an awning window is designed to swing outward. Hopper windows, on the other hand, are designed so that the top of the sash will swing inward when opened.

Hopper windows are popular choices for small and high windows like basements and bathrooms.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Energy efficient
  • Easy to open and close

Cons

  • Limited air flow

8. Tilt and Turn Windows

Tilt and turn windows are like casement windows with the additional ability of opening and closing from the opposite end of the panel. For instance, you can pull the bottom to you and the top will lean outwards (outside), or you can push the bottom out so that the top leans into the home.

These are highly energy-efficient windows and their unique design features, especially in terms of the ventilation levels offered, are growing in popularity. They’re also easy to clean, as you can tilt it one way and then the other to reach all of the surface area of both sides of the window. 

These windows are best for small rooms and small space, such as office areas or the smallest “living” area in the house. The ventilation levels are adjustable, with either an airflow that is upward or downward.

These windows typically offer a wide view that is all glass, so your viewing ability isn’t obstructed by a bunch of squares throughout the glass surface. Security is great on these windows as well, since their operation is difficult from the outside and there is little to no room to climb in. 

They generally come in UPVC or aluminum frames, of which aluminum is slightly more popular. The operation mechanism is more complex than it is on other windows, so if it breaks, you can expect to pay a pretty penny in order to replace it. 

Pros

  • Solid built
  • Very energy efficient
  • Easy to clean
  • Security

Cons

  • Expensive to repair

9. Picture Windows (and Fixed Windows)

Pros

  • Lower cost per inch than other types of windows
  • Let in lot of natural light
  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • Easy to clean (no “glazing bars”)
  • Highlyenergy efficient (if in the right position and climate or with a low e-glass coating added when necessary)
  • Low maintainance (no hinges, latches, screens, etc.)

Cons

  • No ventilation
  • Repair can be costly (large panes of glass)
  • Can be energy deficient (if in the wrong position and climate and without a low e-glass coating)

Picture windows (and their siblings, fixed windows) are essentially just large windows with just one fixed pane of glass. This means it does not open and it does not have “glazing bars”, which are support bars that separate the different panes of glass.

Bothe picture windows and fixed windows offer impressive views of the outdoors, which can be used to create a natural work of art (a picture) in the room.

Picture windows and fixed windows are essentially the same except that a fixed window frame is made to match other windows in the space. Picture window frames are made thin and small to maximize the viewing area.

Picture windows are very energy efficient, as they are sealed all the way around with no additional seals for opening and closing them. They let in a good deal of light, especially since they are often large, and the sun it lets in can warm a space that needs it to reduce heating needs. If the sun is too warm for the space, climate and direction of the window the optional addition of low e-glass coating may be necessary to prevent the room from overheating. When considered properly, picture windows are by far the most efficient windows in this list. 

One unfortunate aspect of a window that doesn’t open, is the fact that you will get no ventilation advantages with it and its inability to open may alter or decrease the airflow throughout the house from other, open windows. 

Also unfortunate is that if they ever need to be repaired, the whole window has to go as they often are made from just a single, large pane of glass. 

For a ton more information and frequently asked questions, check out this full article I have on picture windows and fixed windows here.

10. Garden Windows

Garden windows are similar in form and function to bay windows in that they are built outwards into a three-dimensional box that acts as a mini greenhouse.

Like bay windows, garden windows provide extra shelf space, but in this case it’s to provide the shelf space necessary for a miniature garden inside your window. 

If you’re thinking about a garden window—pre or post-built home—carefully consider where the sun will rise and fall in terms of the direction that your home is facing. Since they essentially serve as a mini-greenhouse garden, they will increase the temperature of your room. 

Garden windows often come with side windows that open for ventilation.

Unfortunately, garden windows tend to be expensive. 

Pros

  • Large and beautiful aesthetic
  • Great for indoor and outdoor gardening
  • Side windows for ventilation
  • Increased space

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low energy efficiency

11. Slider Windows

Slider windows are just what they sound like and they open and shut just like a traditional sliding glass door, with one side of the window sliding to the left or right, adjacent to the permanent section of the window. 

One of the reasons you should strongly consider a sliding window is its simplicity. Sliding windows are fairly inexpensive as they don’t have hinges or expensive moving parts. They also get a nice tight seal, which makes them secure.

Slider windows are usually pretty good in terms of energy efficiency, but age will usually make it more difficult to get a good seal when it slides closed. Also, you have to worry about debris and other material falling down into the tracks that it slides on. 

Finally, since they remain flat, and don’t protrude outwards or inwards, you can fully design your home around them or install them without having to keep space clear in that general area. 

Click here for more information about slider windows, including a DIY security hack to make them the safest windows possible.

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Cost-effective
  • Secure

Cons

  • Tracks have to be routinely cleaned out

12. Glass Block Windows

You’ve probably seen block windows before as they are usually found in public building such as public schools, public libraries, and breezeways outside of public property. They are small, around 6” x 6”—maybe a little smaller or larger—and stacked on top of and next to each other.

Think Tetris, with several glass blocks that are translucent or completely opaque. That doesn’t mean that most of them don’t allow sun in however, as the outside light brightens the block windows in whatever color you chose to install them in. 

You won’t get any level of ventilation with block windows. They are essentially bricks made of glass and in a square, rather than a rectangular, shape. These are energy-efficient, however, and will often qualify your home for LEED-certified or Energy-Star certified rewards

They can certainly operate as a window, if that’s the way you want to have it installed, however, they’re often installed as a sort-of pseudo wall. Unfortunately, glass blocks are a lot heavier than lumber and sheetrock, and may require additional structural accommodations in order to have it installed.

They’re also pretty costly, with a small amount (enough to fill up a doorway’s worth of surface area) costing up to $1,000. If you want to go larger than that, the costs increase exponentially. Also, they aren’t traditional windows in any way, as you can’t see through them outside of a blurry or shadowy image on the other side. 

Pros

  • Unique looking
  • Structurally sound
  • Energy efficient
  • Can qualify for a green energy credit

Cons

  • No ventilation
  • Costly

13. Skylight Windows (and Roof Windows)

Pros

  • Vews of the day and night sky
  • Bring lots of natural light in
  • Add perceived value to your home during resale

Cons

  • Can be expensive (proper instillation is not easy or cheap)
  • Can be prone to leaks, especially older models in climates with lots of ice and snow

Skylight windows (and their close-cousins, roof windows) do exactly what their label suggests: allow light in from above, and beautiful views of the sky. Aesthetically, skylights are beautiful day or night as they allow a view of the sky, sun, clouds, stars, thunderheads, etc.

Practically speaking, skylight windows can be beneficial or they can be a nuisance depending on where you live and the design of your home.

To explain, all that light let in by a skylight generates heat. This extra heat can of course be beneficial if the room with the skylight is naturally cool or dark. Conversely, if you live in a warmer climate or if the roof of the room with the skylight is facing a strong mid-day sun, a skylight can overheat the space. An overheated room can be an energy suck as you’ll need to run air conditioning to balance out the added heat.

Skylights are also known for leaking, though this has more to do with poor seals in older models of skylight windows. Modern skylights are much less prone to leaking but wintery ice and snow can increase the likelihood of the window seal becoming damaged over time.

All-in-all, carefully considering your climate and home design will be needed when making a decision on if a skylight is right for your project.

For more information on skylight windows and if they will be worth it for you, check out this full article I have on the topic.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. Thirteen window types that we hope will give you a broader and more in-depth understanding of these window types and how they will be beneficial to install in your home. These are all residential window types and are great choices no matter what you choose. 

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.