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Introduction to Window Types: Casement, Double-Hung, Bay and More

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Windows: More Than A Hole In The Wall

Uncover the extraordinary function of windows – they’re more than just holes in your wall. Windows have the power to fill your space with sunlight, introduce fresh air, and provide a stunning view of the world beyond your home. Journey through the fascinating history of windows, from their humble beginnings as unglazed openings in roofs to their progression into beautifully designed, functional features of modern homes. Explore how the evolution of windows has contributed to both the aesthetic appeal and practicality of our living spaces.

A Look Back: The History of Windows

View of the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral in the city center

Windows, once mere holes in walls or roofs, have evolved remarkably over centuries. Initially covered with animal hide or wood for ventilation and light, the advent of the Roman Empire saw glass being incorporated, though these were small, thick, and relatively opaque. The Middle Ages introduced stained glass windows, particularly in churches and cathedrals.

With the Industrial Revolution, large plate-glass windows emerged, thereby beginning the tradition of window shopping. In the 20th century, advancements led to a variety of window types with features like double-glazing and PVC frames for improved insulation, durability, and maintenance.

Today, windows are an integral architectural element, designed for practicality and aesthetics. Their evolution, from simple openings to complex structures, signifies human ingenuity’s progress and leaves us wondering what future innovations may unfold.

Window Types

Modern single casement window near light grey wall indoors, space for text


Firstly, casement windows are designed with side hinges, allowing them to swing outward. This design makes them an excellent choice for spaces where you're looking to enhance both light and air circulation. Secondly, these windows provide superior ventilation, making them a practical choice for maintaining indoor air quality. Additionally, they ensure a tight seal when closed, enhancing energy efficiency. Lastly, their simple design makes them exceptionally easy to clean, adding to their appeal.

Double hung window with fixed top sash and bottom sash that slides up, sash divided by white grilles a surrounded by white elegant frame on a horizontal vinyl siding, under a gable and soffit

Double Hung

To begin with, double-hung windows boast two sashes that slide vertically within the frame. Interestingly, they can be opened from either the top or the bottom, yet they remain inside the frame. This design prevents any intrusion into your home's interior or exterior spaces. The significant difference between single and double-hung windows lies in the mobility of the window panels. Specifically, in single-hung windows, only the lower panel, which is referred to as the sash, is capable of movement.

bay window installed in new jersey

Bay Windows

To start with, bay windows, which project outward from a building's primary walls, result in the creation of an interior bay. Not only do they enhance the architectural appeal, but they also increase access to natural light. Furthermore, they contribute to extra interior space due to their protrusion. Consequently, they significantly elevate both the aesthetics and functionality of a room.

Other Window Types

glass slide window replacement on white wall of a new house

Sliding windows have sashes that slide in either a vertical or horizontal direction. They are best used in areas where space is a concern.

Awning window frame open, black metal detail with nature view and free space. Louver glass texture for house decor, building, real estate, property, living, hotel. Close up Aluminum casement.

Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward. They are ideal for letting in fresh air, even during a light rain.

A large farmhouse single farm house sink with a massive picture window with a view of the wooded lot yard.

Picture windows are large, fixed-pane windows. They are typically used when there is a desire to maximize the view.

Window tilt open in a city apartment, letting in fresh air

Tilt and turn windows offer two opening positions: they can open like a door or tilt from the bottom to provide ventilation.

Anatomy of a Window

A window, while appearing simple, is actually a complex assembly of various parts, each fulfilling a unique purpose. Firstly, it consists of the frame, which includes the head, sill, and jamb. Following that, we have the glass pane, which can be either single, double, or triple-glazed, depending on your preference. Additionally, the hardware includes essentials such as locks, cranks, and handles. To add a decorative touch, elements like muntins and grilles may also be incorporated. Thus, despite its seemingly straightforward nature, a window is indeed a sophisticated component of any building.


The frame is the outermost part of the window that holds all the other components together. It provides structure and stability, and is typically made of materials like wood, vinyl, or aluminum.

The sash is the movable part of the window. It can be a single unit or divided into sections. In a double-hung window, there are two sashes that move up and down.

This is the transparent part of the window that allows light to enter and provides a view of the outside. It can be single, double, or triple glazed, with the latter options providing better insulation.

These are decorative pieces that divide the glass pane into smaller sections. They can be removable or permanently attached to the glass.

These are decorative pieces that divide the glass pane into smaller sections. They can be removable or permanently attached to the glass.

This is a locking mechanism that secures the window when it’s closed.

This is a material used to seal gaps around the window to prevent drafts and heat loss.

Glazing refers to the glass part of the window, but can also refer to the process of securing the glass into the frame. It helps in insulation and energy efficiency.

Rails are the horizontal pieces of the sash. The top rail is at the top of the sash, and the bottom rail is at the bottom.

Choosing the Right Windows - An Informed Decision

The journey of understanding windows, from their humble origins to their current diverse designs, is an enlightening one. It’s not just about choosing a window, but understanding how each type can impact your home’s aesthetic appeal and functionality. By considering the historical evolution and technological advancements in window designs, you’re better equipped to make informed decisions. 

Remember, the right windows do more than just let light in; they enhance your living space and contribute to a home’s overall character. So, whether you’re building a new home or renovating an old one, ensure you give window selection the consideration it deserves.

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