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Bow windows cost between $1,500 and $15,000 per window, with most homeowners spending an average of $3,900.* Bow windows can make your home feel larger and boost its curb appeal, but they’re a considerable investment compared to other window styles.
Your price depends on several factors, such as whether you choose a made-to-order window or a custom one, as well as the window frame material, glass type, and number of panes. We’ll cover these factors and more in our guide.
*Article cost data via Angi, Home Advisor, and Pella.
What Is a Bow Window?
A bow window is an arc-shaped window that extends outward from the home. They’re typically comprised of four or more equally sized casement windows and are often referred to by the number of glass sections, such as four-lite bow, five-lite bow, or six-lite bow.
You can find bow windows in modern homes, but they’re more common in Victorian-style houses. Customization is possible, and homeowners can choose additional features such as energy-efficient upgrades or window seating.
Benefits of Bow Windows
Here are several advantages of adding a bow window to your home:
- Additional space: Bow windows create more space in your home because they project beyond the exterior wall or corner. Some homeowners choose to add interior seating in this space.
- Increased curb appeal: Bow windows are a visually exciting and unique architectural feature. This can help boost your home value and curb appeal.
- More natural light: Bow windows allow plenty of light into the home at multiple angles, helping to brighten up the room.
- Panoramic views: The arc shape of bow windows gives homeowners a panoramic outdoor view.
- Improved aesthetics: Bow windows can go on an exterior wall or around a corner. There are various finishes to choose from, and you can customize the window type and panel amount.
Drawbacks of Bow Windows
Bow windows do have some disadvantages and may not work with every home. Here are some drawbacks:
- They’re expensive: Most custom-built bow windows cost as much as $15,000 or more.
- You need ample wall space: Bow windows require at least 80 inches of wall space.
- You lose some privacy: Large windows allow more light and fresh air into the room but can reduce privacy.
- Complex installation: Bow windows are heavy, and you may need to consult a structural engineer for installation. You may also require a soffit tie-in or an extended hip roof.
- There could be maintenance challenges: Multiple glass sections and the curved window shape can make it more challenging to clean and maintain bow windows.
Bow Windows Major Cost Factors
Bow window prices depend on whether you’re replacing an existing bow window or installing a new one. The cost also depends on your home’s location, your chosen materials, the panel number, and if your window is custom or prefabricated.
A premade window costs as low as $1,500, but customization options can push the price to $15,000 or more (for materials and labor). You’ll pay at least two times the amount for wood than you would for vinyl. Below you’ll find the material price for bow window replacement followed by the installation cost.
|Installation Type||Average Cost Range|
Bow Window New Installation
Bow Window Replacement
Bow window prices depend on various factors. We’ve outlined some of the largest contributors to price below, but this list is not exhaustive.
Vinyl and wood are the most common framing materials, but other options are available. Here are bow window prices by frame materials for replacing windows.
- Vinyl: Vinyl is the least expensive material, costing $100 to $900. You can’t paint or stain vinyl, but it’s durable and can withstand harsh elements.
- Wood: Wooden bow windows are pricier at $150 to $1,300 per window.
- Composite: Bow windows with composite frames cost $300 to $1,200. Composite frames made from reclaimed wood fiber are energy-efficient and can be twice as strong as vinyl.
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass bow windows continue to grow in popularity and cost $500 to $1,500. They’re more energy-efficient than vinyl and last longer than other materials.
You can choose from various glass types to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
- Double-glazed: Double-glazed glass provides extra insulation and sound reduction. Expect to pay $3 to $6 per square foot.
- Insulated glass: Insulated glass has two or three panes of glass, and often has a krypton or argon gas layer between the panes to slow down heat transfer.
- Laminate: Laminate is similar to double-glazed glass but has moisture resistance. This can cost between $10 and $20 per square foot.
- Low emissivity (low-e) glass: This microscopic glass coating allows natural light into the home while deflecting ultraviolet (UV) rays and infrared light to preserve your home’s internal temperature. This costs between $300 and $1,000 per window.
- Tint: Tinted glass can also reduce the heat entering your home and block UV rays. This costs $7 to $110 per square foot.
- Tempered: Tempered glass is the strongest type and can withstand some of the harshest weather conditions and climates. It costs $12 to $14 per square foot.
Number of Panes
Adding more glass to your bow windows increases energy efficiency. Multiplaned glass costs more up-front, but it will help to save you money over time by reducing your monthly energy bills.
- Single-pane windows: Single-pane windows are the lowest priced but the least energy efficient. Expect to pay $100 to $350 per window.
- Double-pane windows: This type has two glass layers and costs $280 to $1,500 per window with labor.
- Triple-pane windows: Triple-pane windows provide maximum efficiency with three layers of glass. They cost $300 to $2,700 per window.
Custom vs. Prefabricated
Prefabricated bow windows cost between $700 and $1,900. These are standard, prepackaged sets offered by most manufacturers using vinyl materials. Many homeowners prefer custom bow windows so they can match them to their home. Opting for custom work or luxury materials usually costs $6,000 or more.
Factors such as your home’s location and age can also affect bow window prices. Not only do contractors charge different prices based on location, but they’ll charge more to install a bow window on the second or third floor or if large structures nearby make window access more difficult.
If you live in a historic building, you may need to hire a certified specialist or obtain a permit. Making any structural alterations to an older home may require a structural engineer’s expertise and additional labor, which can significantly increase the cost.
Bay Windows vs. Bow Windows
Bow and bay windows are often confused. Both types of windows extend beyond the home’s exterior walls, but bay windows are more angular and require less space than bow windows. Bay windows consist of three windows, typically with two operable casement windows or double-hung windows on either side of a fixed picture window. They are more often used in transitional and contemporary home styles.
Professional vs. DIY Bow Windows
We recommend hiring a professional to install a bow window versus doing it yourself. Even a small mistake can damage your walls and/or lead to energy and water leaks.
Professional Bow Window Installation
Hiring a professional window installation company costs more money, but the peace of mind it provides is priceless. Here are some benefits of hiring a pro:
- Professionals can help you choose the best windows for your home improvement project.
- Pros know about the required window installation permits.
- A professional has the required tools and can purchase materials at wholesale prices.
- A pro knows how to properly seal and weatherproof your bow window.
- Older homes may require a structural engineer for bow window installation.
- Most window warranties require professional installation, or else they’re voided.
DIY Bow Windows
We do not recommend do-it-yourself (DIY) bow window installation, even if you have professional experience. The materials are heavy and often require more than one person to lift and install them. Because of the window’s weight, it must be attached to the home’s load-bearing structures. If this isn’t done correctly, your walls could crack.
Bow windows are more expensive than other window types, but the added square footage and curb appeal can make them worth the investment. Their curved shape and multiple window panes help bring in more natural light and fresh air, making your space feel larger.
We recommend consulting with a professional about your bow window project. Check out our top-rated window companies in the panel below.
Bow Windows FAQ
Which are cheaper, bay windows or bow windows?
Bay windows typically cost less than bow windows. Bow window prices are typically two times higher than same-size bay windows. However, this depends on various factors, such as whether you opted for custom work or extra features.
What are the disadvantages of bow windows?
Bow windows are wide and heavy, making them difficult to install. The complex installation and higher number of glass panels makes them more expensive than most other types of windows. You’ll need to keep up with cleaning and proper maintenance to prolong your window’s life and maximize your investment.
Can you replace a regular window with a bow window?
Yes, you can replace a standard window with a bow window. The project requires widening the existing window opening to fit the new bow window. A professional will make sure the wall can support this window style’s weight.