10 Common Types of Windows for Your Home

By Amanda Lutz

May 22, 2023
Big modern metal-plastic window

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Windows are integral to your home. They set each room’s style and control the amount of natural light and ventilation. If you’re remodeling your home, consider installing new windows to match your new aesthetic. Here are the most common types of windows and window frames you’ll encounter during your search.



What to Consider When Choosing Types of Windows for Your Home

Windows are mainly categorized by function and appearance. While this list isn’t comprehensive, most windows fall into at least one of the following categories.



Awning Windows

White aluminium frame windows background and a white awning window
Adobe – Royalty Free

Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward, allowing rainwater to glide off and away from the side of the house. They may open manually or require a crank. These windows are typically for function over aesthetics. They’re often installed high on walls for privacy, allowing increased ventilation and airflow. The sash, or the part of the window that holds the panes together, presses against the frame, resulting in minimal air leakage.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Awning Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Increase your homes security, as they’re difficult to break into

Are difficult to clean

Provide increased ventilation

Feature low noise reduction

Provide a striking way to add natural sunlight

Have high pricing



Bay and Bow Windows

UPVC Double Glazed Bay Window
Adobe- Royalty Free

Both of these window styles extend past the exterior wall of a house, creating an interior nook for a bench seat or shelving. Bay windows typically consist of three angled rectangular windows, whereas bow windows have at least five tall panes set in a semi-circular curve. Bow windows are generally larger and protrude more. Both create a distinctive look often associated with Victorian and cottage homes, but many contemporary homes use modernized versions to increase floor space and natural light.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Bay and Bow Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Provide elevated look

Difficult to find quality blinds and other window treatments

Can be converted into unique sitting spaces

Have high pricing

Increase your home’s value

Will have decreased energy performance unless you add energy-efficient features



Casement Windows

Large four pane window looking on summer backyard with pool and garden
Adobe – Royalty Free

Another type of functional window, casement windows are hinged on one side and open manually or via a crank. They open outward to the left or right, allowing lots of fresh air while occupying minimal wall space. They have no sashes and seal tightly even in high winds, making them highly energy-efficient and low-maintenance.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Casement Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Match many home styles

Pose a security risk

Are easy to clean

Have less versatile sizing options

Offer some of the best ventilation

Have higher pricing than other window types



Double-Hung Windows

Traditional English sliding double hung windows
Adobe – Royalty Free

Double-hung windows are standard windows with two sashes, both of which can move up and down to open. These are inexpensive windows, but they’re also some of the least energy-efficient. You can increase their efficiency by using special coatings or multiple panes of glass.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Double-Hung Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Provide a simple, timeless style

Feature limited style options

Easy to use and clean

Pose a risk of air leaks

Are cost-effective

Require more frequent maintenance compared to other window types



Glass Block Windows

Architectural detail of building with privacy glass block window
Adobe – Royalty Free

These windows use thick frosted or textured blocks of glass to preserve privacy while allowing light in. The blocks may be stacked to create a rectangular or custom window design, and they’re typically joined with masonry. Although glass blocks are often found in bathrooms, they can be installed anywhere natural light is essential, but a view isn’t. Since the blocks are thick and shatter-resistant, they’re also useful for allowing light into basements and garages.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Glass Block Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Increase your home’s privacy

Do not open or close

Are highly durable

Provide no extra ventilation

Are energy-efficient

Sometimes require extra support structures



Picture Windows

Modern living room with garden view. There are white walls, a concrete tile floor, decorated with wood detailing and a fabric seat. There are large windows looking to big garden.
Adobe – Royalty Free

A picture window is often the best choice if you want an unobstructed view of your lawn or garden. The simplest type of window, it is a single sheet of glass with no sash, often cut in a custom size or shape. This fixed window doesn’t open but does let in plenty of sunlight.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Picture Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Provide ample natural sunlight

Create heat gain unless you add energy-efficient features

Easy to clean from the inside

Difficult to clean from the exterior

Have a sleek, simple design

Don’t provide ventilation



Single-Hung Windows

Building facade with single hung windows
Adobe – Royalty Free

Single-hung windows differ from double-hung ones in that only the bottom sash opens while the upper sash is fixed. They’re typically the least expensive type of window. They provide more security for first-floor rooms since only one sash opens, but they share the same energy efficiency problems as double-hung windows.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Single-Hung Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Allow for easy hardware customization

Has higher heat gain unless you add energy-efficient features

Easy to clean from the inside

Feature basic style options

Have a sleek, simple design that’s more compact than double-hung windows

Difficult to clean from the exterior



Sliding Windows

Glazed balcony in apartment complex with brick wall and sliding windows
Adobe – Royalty Free

You can think of sliding windows as sliding glass doors on a smaller scale. They open horizontally on a track and have multiple sashes; one or more may be moveable. Sliding windows can have leakage problems but offer more light on long walls, such as in a large living room.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Sliding Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Provide ventilation without sacrificing style

Can be difficult to clean, depending on the hardware

Increase your home’s security

Pose an air leak risk

Have a space-saving design

Most don’t feature screens



Storm Windows

Colorful hurricane window shutters on the exterior of house in Florida
Adobe – Royalty Free

Storm windows are made of special shatter-resistant glass useful for high-wind regions. They may be permanently installed or put up temporarily when the threat of a storm is high. They’re most common in coastal homes that may be subject to hurricanes.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Storm Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Provide extra protection against the elements

Detract from your window’s style

Increase security

Require routine maintenance and replacement

Increase soundproofing

Make your existing windows more difficult to clean



Transom Windows

Entrance in a historic building of red brick with a white front door, transom windows and a climbing rose, typical in Northern Germany
Adobe – Royalty Free

Transom windows sit above other windows and doors. They used to be made to open on hinges for extra ventilation, but they’re usually fixed and decorative in contemporary homes. They can be rectangular or semi-circular and may be made of frosted or stained glass. Side windows found to the left or right of a door are similar to transoms and typically called sidelights.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Transom Windows

Benefits Drawbacks

Increase natural lighting

Have limited functionality

Are cost-effective

Difficult to clean and maintain

Enhance style and widen a room’s appearance

Increase heat gain unless you add energy-efficient features

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Less Common Window Types to Consider

Here are some less common window types you may encounter while shopping. 



Types of Window Frame Materials

In addition to different window styles, you’ll often have your choice of window frames. Some styles require specific frames, but common styles such as single- and double-hung windows are usually available in many frame materials.



Energy-Efficient Windows

Different types of windows have different efficiency levels, but it’s possible to purchase energy-efficient models of most styles and materials on the above list. Windows with an Energy Star rating can save you anywhere from $27 to $583 per year on your utility bills, which is why 92% of homeowners we surveyed said that Energy Star certification was important. These windows have a low-emissivity (low-E) coating that blocks a substantial amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, protecting your indoor belongings from sun damage.

Energy-efficient windows also prevent thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and help preserve your home’s temperature.

Here are some of the most common energy-efficient window features and upgrades:



Our Recommendation

The best windows for your home depend on your desired look and function. We recommend looking for Energy Star-rated windows, doors, and skylights, which are available in many different styles and sizes. You can also save money on your electric bill by opting for efficient windows.

Once you’ve decided which type of window best suits your needs, you can choose the frame material and any energy efficiency upgrades. We recommend working with a professional window installation company for the best results.

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Types of Windows FAQ

What is the difference between a casement window and a double-hung window?

A casement window has one sash and opens outward via a hinge on one side. A double-hung window has two sashes—one upper and one lower—that can both slide up or down. Double-hung windows also typically have a screen attached to the outside, while casement windows have it on the inside.

What makes windows energy-efficient?

An energy-efficient window has at least two panes of glass with an insulating gas in between and spacers keeping the panes at the correct distance. The frame is made of a material that minimizes heat transfer, such as vinyl, composite, or fiberglass, and the glass is covered with a low-E coating.

What is the most common type of window?

Double- and single-hung windows are the most common types of windows. Double-hung windows may be opened by moving either the upper or lower sash, but single-hung windows can only be opened by lifting the lower sash.

What is the most energy-efficient window frame material?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, insulated vinyl and fiberglass window frames are the best at minimizing heat transfer and air leakage. Insulated vinyl frames have special insulating materials in their hollow spaces.