When choosing windows for your home you will have to consider what style of window will work best in the opening. Whether you’re getting energy efficient vinyl windows, energy efficient aluminum windows or wood windows there are some basic rules for style.
An opening that is wider than it is tall:
If the space for the window is wide and short, then a horizontal sliding window will usually work the best. Because of the slider’s construction (having a center support) they are usually the best choice for wide openings. This is also where you can use a style called a picture window or an XOX. These windows work especially well in openings that are 5 feet wide or more. If you like the operation of an up-and-down window, or hung window, you can still use them but it is wisest to use a double or twin unit, or even triple unit. If you make a hung window too wide, they will not operate properly and may eventually start to sag in the middle due to the weight of the glass. For this reason, most companies have maximum sizes they won’t exceed when building a hung window. Keep in mind that when you start putting separate windows into the same space, like a twin or triple unit, you are paying for separately framed windows. A slider, or a picture slider will be less expensive than a twin or triple unit.
An opening that is taller than it is wide:
If the space for the window is tall and skinny, then either a single hung window or a double hung window will work the best. Because a hung window has a center support that is horizontal, they do much better in a tall opening than a sliding window. If a sliding window is built too tall, or if it is built with panels that are tall and skinny, then the panels tend to rock in the track, and do not operate as smoothly as they should. In a tall space you also have the option of making the hung window have a smaller bottom panel. Having the uneven divide, especially in something very tall, will give you more of an un-obstructed view. Double-hung windows are also a good fit here. On a double-hung window both top and bottom panel can slide. This is nice to give extra ventilation, or just for top ventilation. Double-hung windows will include a full screen. The panels also usually tilt inwards for easy cleaning. Because of the extra mechanism and extra weight of the double-hung panels, they also have some size limitations, and you would not want a double-hung that has an uneven divide.
Casements & Awnings:
If you like the idea of a crank style window, where the glass panel moves away from the house, then there are several options for you to consider. Casement type windows typically work well in a square opening, or one that is taller than it is wide. Because the entire glass panel of the window moves in this style, there are some size limitations. You don’t want a moving panel that is so large it could be a hazard. The same applies to awning windows. Awning style windows have a hinge at the top of the frame so the glass panel moves out and up. Because there is significant weight on the frame and glass, you don’t want a very large panel there either. Awnings work best in wide and short openings. However casements and awnings can be combined in a variety of ways. Instead of a sliding window or twin hung unit, you could do two or casements together. On tall openings instead of a single-hung window you could have a fixed panel on top of an awning. Awnings and casements typically cost a little bit more than sling or hung windows, mostly because of the extra mechanism and framing.
Very large openings:
When you have a very large opening, it is tempting to put in a large fixed window to maximize your view. There are some important factors you have to take into account. Large windows are great, but the larger you make glass panels the heavier they are. The larger the panels are, the thicker the glass has to be to support itself. When you get into glass that is 3/16th’s of an inch thick, or 1⁄4 inch glass, the cost of the unit goes up quite a bit. These units are also very expensive to replace if the glass is broken. In large units, if you can break up the space, you can save some money. There are hundreds of options in this case, and most companies should be able to build whatever you can dream up.
In conclusion, there are virtually no limitations when it comes to style. There are many options and combinations of windows to pick from, not even counting special shaped windows, half-round windows or triangles. Because we manufacture our windows right here at Glass-Rite in Albuquerque, we can build down to the 1/8th of an inch to match whatever design you’re looking for. Call us for a free no pressure estimate and see what options will work best for you.