When your client asks about window types, the conversation become confusing very quickly because there are several different window types. The good news is that many of them have specific applications and once you know that, the conversation becomes a little easier. The not so good news is that many homes have multiple types of windows. So what are the different types and where are they used?
Single hung and double hung windows. These are the most common windows used today. They will be in bedrooms, family rooms, kitchens, etc.. They consist of two sashes (individual window panels within the entire window frame). With a single hung window, the bottom sash is the only one that opens to allow air into the room.
With double hung windows, you can open either the top or bottom sash. An additional option for double hung windows is that you can have them "hinged". When the sashes are hinged, you can open the sashes from the top as shown in the picture below.
Single hung windows are more common. However, double hung windows are becoming more popular. So when would a homeowner choose one over the other?
First, single hung windows are more cost effective. However, double hung windows have a few benefits and advantages. Safety is one of them. If a family likes to have the windows open whenever possible for fresh air but they have small children, double hung windows are a great option as they won't have to worry about the child climbing through the window. Another safety concern is pets. Both dogs and cats like to watch the outside world through the window. Some pets are easily excited and might break through the screen if they see someone or something they want to greet. Having the top sash open allows for the fresh air the homeowner wants and can still keep the children and pets safely inside the home.
Having double hung windows that are also hinged is a great feature for cleaning the windows from inside the house. You can open each sash to clean the windows without having to climb through the shrubs or climb on a ladder from outside the house.
So what should you recommend to your client? While the budget is always a concern, it comes down to a couple of things: Personal preference and the type of home. If a homeowner likes the safety and convenience of double hung windows, they will not regret the additional expense. If they are in a higher end home, the double hung windows will be a feature that a future buyer will expect to have.
One extra item to mention to your clients is the window screen. In order to keep costs down, many manufacturers no longer include window screens. All manufacturers will have them available for an additional fee. If the homeowner does not want the additional expense of a screen or does not like the look of the screen, most big box hardware stores sell screens that are adjustable and can be put in the window only when it is open.
Another type of window is the "Picture window". These are typically large windows that are "fixed". Meaning that they do not open. While they cannot be used to provide ventilation, these are great windows to have in a room where you want let in more natural light or in a place where you cannot easily reach a window to open such as the upper level of a two story foyer.
Bay windows are great windows to have when you want to create a larger feel to a room. They extend outward beyond the house and are made up of several different windows. The center window is typically a fixed picture window, however the side windows are angled and can either be smaller picture windows or windows that can be opened.
Casement windows are a great option for those that want the look of a picture window but the functionality of a window that can be opened. They swing open from one side with the use of a hand crank. Casement windows are among the most energy efficient window because the window itself is sealed and there is a gasket around the frame. They are also more expensive than other window styles.
Awning windows are similar to casement windows in that they open from one side with a crank and are sealed. However, they open vertically from the bottom. Awning windows are suitable in bathrooms, bedrooms where the window needs to be a little higher on the wall, and narrow rooms.
One last window type is the Horizontal Sliding window where the window opens from side to side. These can be single or dual sliders just like the single/double hung windows. The versatility of these windows along with being relatively cost-effective makes these windows a great option for the homeowner that wants to maximize ventilation and natural light. If the home is on the smaller side, or has a low ceiling, these windows can make the home feel bigger by creating an open view. They are also typically shorter and wider than a hung window.
One important thing to remember when discussing windows with a client is that while it is common for a home to have multiple window styles throughout the house, you want to encourage them to make sure they don't use too many styles and that everything blends into the style of the home. Hung, casement, or slider windows along with a picture window on the front of the house can help make for great curb appeal. At the same time having a hung, and slider or casement window along with a picture window on the front of the home can make the home look chaotic and less appealing.