When it comes to replacement windows for your home, there are several types to choose from. Each type of window serves a different function, and there are many on offer, so it pays to get clued up on your options before settling on the one that best suits your needs.
Window manufacturers can offer even more variation on the different window types so it's a good idea to browse through the brochures and determine exactly what you are getting for your money.
The windows' primary function is to let in light, and most will also provide varying degrees of ventilation. Beyond that, there can be wide differences. Some windows are great for views, others are easier to open, and others excel with ventilation and airflow. Windows also add aesthetic appeal and need to fit in with a property's architectural design or decorative style.
Narrowing down the many options for windows starts with identifying one of the basic window types.
We offer advice and information on the various types of window replacement and why they are popular with homeowners.
Casement windows are the standard windows seen in almost every home. Window panels have hinges on one side that allows the frame to open outwards. Many casement windows have large glass areas to provide maximum light, but some will have mullion bars holding smaller panels.
Casement windows offer plenty of ventilation when open but none at all when they are closed or locked. Side opening windows can also let in the rain if left open during a storm, while a top-hinged window offers more protection.
Casement windows come in a variety of styles and materials. Large pane casements tend to be cheaper as they are easier to manufacture and are produced in standard modular sizes.
Side hung casements are the most popular and are hinged at the side for easy opening and closing. Some casements have a top-hinged panel to provide ventilation.
Variations on the casement window are:
Awning window: Here, the panel is hinged at the top, which allows the window to be left open even when it is raining.
Hopper window: The hopper is the reverse of the awning in that it is hinged at the bottom. Hopper windows are sometimes used for basements or bathrooms, but they are rarely seen nowadays.
These are windows where one panel slides over the other to create an opening. There are two basic types, single-hung or double-hung.
A single-hung sash has one moveable panel, usually the bottom one. This slides up to open the window and back down to close it.
Both panels are moveable with a double-hung sash, so either the top or bottom can be opened or closed. The main advantage of double-hung sash windows are the improved ventilation as both can be half-open to encourage air circulation,
A modern variation on the sash window is the flush sash. Here both inner and outer frames sit flush to each other to give a smooth, flat surface and look less cluttered. Sash windows typically let in slightly less light than casement windows but can be cleaned on the outside without the need for a ladder or long pole.
Here, the window panel is hinged at the centre and can pivot open at both top and bottom. Tilt and turn offer excellent ventilation, need less clearance inside and out and are relatively easy to clean.
They are a popular choice for smaller rooms as they combine security and weather protection with good airflow options. They come in all types of material with uPVC the cheapest to aluminium, the most expensive.
Picture windows offer large expanses of glass to give clear views. Developments in materials mean picture windows can be very large and can occupy part of a wall to offer panoramic views and plenty of light.
Picture windows do not open to the outside, so they are usually used in areas where there are alternatives for ventilation and airflow. As they don't open, picture windows can be tightly sealed and provide good insulation, but larger ones can transmit lots of heat.
Modern technologies such as low-emission and reflective coatings can alleviate the problems, but costs do rise.
Sliding windows have two large sashes, usually made from toughened glass so that one sash slides horizontally over the other to open or close. They often replace a wall or part of a wall to provide good views over a garden or patio.
They are usually made from uPVC or aluminium, the latter offering slimmer lines and more glass area. Often used on patios, this type of window does not need any clearance, inside or out.
Modern sliding windows are easy to maintain, and the durable hardware rollers hardly ever need replacing. Lightweight sashes make them easy to open and, with few moving parts, they shouldn't need much maintenance.
Bay window project outwards from the external wall, usually in the shape of a bow and are a feature of many Victorian and Edwardian homes. They come in slightly different shapes:
Canted: A canted bow is one where the bay is formed with straight sides, often with just three panes of glass.
Bowed: Where the bay is gently curved, the bow will usually have more panes of glass.
Oriel: Where the window sits above ground level, supported by corbels or brackets.
Bay windows not only increase the size of the room but allow much more light than normal casements. They can also provide a focal point to a room and bring a considerable 'wow' factor.