Types of Windows
Before you do anything, you must have some idea of what kind of windows you want to install. There are several types differentiated by how they open and how they are used. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Probably the oldest way of hanging a window was to frame a plate of glass and fix it into place. Of course, this did not allow opening and closing for ventilation or access. However, it was effective for allowing light, while at the same time keeping out the elements. Fixed glass windows are still used in many places today in buildings and homes. In homes they are generally decorative windows near doors, stairwells and high-places or are used in combination with other styles.
Casement windows have been around for centuries. They are hinged and open outward. Today, most casement windows are equipped with a crank that opens and closes the window. This allows a screen to be attached inside the window. Casement windows are often more expensive than other types of windows because of the amount of hardware necessary in their construction. Yet they are reliable, useful and attractive in most situations.
An awning window is very much like a casement window turned sideways. It is generally chosen in combination with fixed upper windows in order to create a stunning effect. The upper fixed window allows the light in, while the lower awning portion allows for ventilation. Meanwhile, the fact that the window hinges outward with the hinge at the top, allows it to prevent precipitation from coming into the house even while the window is open.
A very popular style is the double-hung window which is really two separate windows (sashes) hung together so that the bottom window can be opened by pulling it up in a set of tracks in front of the upper window. Often the top window can also be pulled down to allow higher ventilation. The screen is usually on the outside of this window. It is usually less expensive than the awning or casement window. Unlike the awning window, it offers less protection from precipitation in case windows are left open on a rainy day.
Gliding or sliding windows are very much like double-hung windows turned on their side. However, they do not have to contend with gravity. For this reason, they are often used for wider expanses. Here again, the screen is on the outside.
Picture windows and combination windows generally come as a fixed window in the center, flanked by two opening windows, usually casement style. They are excellent for areas where you wish to showcase a view, whether it be mountains, oceans, gardens or play areas. Picture windows are usually quite large and are often specially built for the project.
Bay windows usually have a large fixed plate flanked by two opening windows just as the picture window. But the window is extended outside the room. The flanking windows are angled extending one or two feet beyond the wall reaching out to the plate glass which remains parallel with the wall. This leaves a large sill which can be used for a bench, setting plants or even accommodating a built in chest. Bay windows are used in a similar way to picture windows; however, they give an effect of projecting the inside into the outside and consequently making a room feel more as though it were part of the surroundings of the house.
Storm windows function much like a storm door. They are an inexpensive window that is mounted in front of an existing window. They are normally used on older homes that have poorly insulated windows. This is a low cost alternative to replacement windows, however, it is acknowledged that they are not as attractive as standard windows.