f you are researching windows to install in your home and come across one called a bow window, don’t worry. It’s not a typo. Bay windows and bow windows are very similar, but not identical. If you are unsure which one best suits your space, learn more about what each has to offer.
</p><p><strong>Bay </strong></p><p>A bay window isGravette a three-paneled window that juts from your home, and typically features a window seat or storage bench below it, on the inside of the house. It is an attempt to bring the outside indoors. By creating the illusion that while in your living room, you’re simultaneously in your yard, the bay window creates a unique space in your room and eye appeal.</p><p><strong>Bow </strong></p><p>Bow windows are typically larger than bay windows, but serve a very similar purpose. Usually, bow windows have five panels, which cause them to curve like a bow instead of appearing more rigid like a bay window. The size makes them a prominent feature in your room, so it’s important that you have the wall space to incorporate them, and that you are comfortable with the light and exposure they allow.</p><p><strong>Customizing </strong></p><p>Once you have decided between bay and bow windows, the fun begins! You can customize with finishes such as:</p><p></p><ul> <li>Wood color</li> <li>Glass type</li> <li>Hardware</li> <li>Grilles</li> <li>Screens</li></ul><p>These choices will dramatically change the look of the window, so before you commit, envision the window with all of your selections. Have a good sense for the finished product before you head home. Otherwise, you may have an unpleasant surprise when the window arrives for installation. Once the window is in, you also have the opportunity to create a new internal space.
All About Bay Window TreatmentsWinter can be a beautiful season, but its pleasures are often best enjoyed from the warm interior of our homes. That's where beautiful bow windows come in. You can sit by the window, comfy and warm on cushions, hot cocoa in hand, all the while watching snowflakes fall or the cardinals and chickadees at the birdfeeder. So, if you have a room that seems to need "something" and you have been planning a renovation that involves replacement windows, consider some of the many benefits of installing a room expanding bow window.Bow windows are perfect for living rooms, kitchens, sitting rooms, dining rooms, or even master bedrooms. Consisting of a series of four, five, or six identical windows, the bow window gently curves out from a wall, creating a kind of panoramic effect on the view outdoors while offering convenient and gracefully curved seating or floor space indoors. The addition of a bow window actually extends room size, but it also appears to bring the outdoors in without the expense of a sunroom. Your room will be awash with natural light. And contrary to popular opinion, an expanse of glass in a stylish bow window does not make a room cold. In fact, new advances in glass and framing technologies actually make this energy efficient home remodel a smart idea.Low-E (low-emissivity) is a thin layer of transparent metallic material that's applied to window glass for insulating purposes. Renewal by Andersen windows, for example, have nine layers of metallic materials. This Low-E coating helps to prevent heat loss in your home by acting as reflective shield, pushing radiant heat that tries to pass through the glass back to the source it originates from. That means, come winter, the metallic coating holds warm air generated in your house inside, preventing it from escaping out through the glass. The result is a warm and cozy room-with an impressive view!So while there is more "window" in your room, today's window glass meets or exceeds all of the rigorous energy-efficiency standards as set out by federal regulations through the Energy Star ratings. If you have been following some of my previous articles, you will know that the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) energy performance label can help you determine how well your windows will perform in terms of their U-factor, SHGC, how they block out wind, and resist condensation.Concerned about drafts? Air can rush in through gaps between the window frames and wall, as well as between the window frame and glass window panes. Today's major window manufacturers have created some amazing new composites for window frames that boast great insulating properties, so multiple side-by-side windows won't let in any drafts.Wood and vinyl hybrids like Fibrex from Renewal Windows (made by Andersen) have half the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE) of regular vinyl and are much closer to a home's wood framing. The CTE describes how the size of an object changes with a change in temperature. You may ask why that matters. If a window frame reacts to changes in temperature differently than the wall where it is attached, then small gaps are created that increase over time and allow drafts in. Wood and vinyl composite window frames respond to changes in temperature very similar to the way your house does; they expand and contract together as the weather changes. That means no gaps or cracks will appear, so your windows stay airtight and foggy windows will be a thing of the past.So let the cold winds blow! Between today's composite window frames and Low-E glass technology, your house will stay comfortable all winter long, and you can significantly cut your energy bills while you're enjoying the view.As an added bonus, today's composites offer the real look of wood, both inside and out, so the exterior of your home will also benefit from the addition of a beautiful bow window. Now, all you have to do to make the picture complete is get your landscape in order!
How to Prepare Your Home For Replacement Windows
While bay and bow windows are similar in some ways and often confused as being the same by many people, they each have interesting unique advantages over one another. Before shopping for a bay or bow, it is a good idea to do some research to gain an understanding of the inherent differences between them.
The bay and bow windows provide a much wider view to the outdoors than could be achieved by a flat window. This is possible because both styles project outward from the walls to allow for a better arc of visibility. If a person is standing close enough to the bay or bow, they will be able to view a 180 degree arc outside. For this reason, bays and bows are often used on walls where great views are available. Also, because of the way these windows project out from the wall, they are often used to give the impression that the room is bigger than it actually is. A large bay or bow window can project out a foot or more from an existing wall giving the whole room a more spacious feel.
The bay window typically consists of three windows: a large center picture window which is parallel with the wall and two smaller windows (called flankers) on either side which angle out from the walls to provide the projection. The angles that are typically used for the flankers are 30 and 45 degrees. These two flankers are often configured as double hung or casement windows to allow them to open for ventilation, but they can also be fixed. What is special about the bay window is the large center picture window. This large picture window gives a great unobstructed view to the outside, much like a plain picture window, but it has the additional advantage of some ventilation options and the wider view that is provided by the two flanker windows on each end.
The bow window is different in that it usually consists of three to six of the same-sized windows. The use of more windows allows the bow to project outward from the wall in more of a gentle curve than the bay. The windows which make up a bow window are usually configured as fixed or casement windows. Some companies offer double hung or single hung window combinations; however, these combinations are not common because the view through the window can be dramatically reduced due to the extra hardware required. If casement, double, or single hung windows are used instead of fixed windows, then the bow gains a much greater advantage over the bay in ventilation. This advantage in ventilation is possible because there are more windows included in the bow's construction that can open to allow air flow. This greater ventilation comes with the disadvantage of having a smaller unobstructed view to the outside since each window used to construct the bow is smaller than the bay's large center picture window.
The differences between the bay and bow window can be summarized as follows: the bay is a more angular design with a larger unobstructed view than the bow; the bow is a more gently curving window which offers the possibility of better ventilation than the bay should casement, double, or single hung windows be selected as an option.
Double Hung Windows - What to Look For
To answer the nagging question that so many bay window owners have, namely "How do I treat a bay window?" let's first take a look at what a bay window is and what that means to you the homeowner. A bay window is a recessed window with angled sections. So in essence it is like one large window, with two smaller angled windows on either side. For many, especially those with an outstanding view and with privacy and light control this should not be a concern because it is a great window to leave uncovered. Unfortunately most bay windows do not have fabulous views and plenty of privacy. Most bay windows require window treatments such as bay window curtains.
Each bay window is going to have a unique set of circumstances that will dictate what type of bay window curtain or treatment should be used. So, let's take a look at a few of these:
If your bay window has unique features, or maybe features handsome window frames, etc. consider playing them up with individual, inside-mounted cafe curtains, shades, or blinds. Roman shades with contrast banding are tailored and traditional.
For closely spaced windows, try a simple set of shades or blinds, and add a continuous valance or a series of shallow swags. If you can plan carefully, your bay window curtains will look lovely whether your blinds are up or down. If you should use a valance, plan so the top treatment conceals the under treatments when they're raised.
For many bay windows, you will want to use rod-pocket curtains or curtains on rings. If you have rod-pocket curtains and curtains on rings you should know that they may require a hinged, flexible, or custom-bent rod to fit your window properly.
If your bay windows are not closely spaced, and if there is enough space in between, hang a stationary panel between windows and at each outer window. For a bay window with little space between windows, flank the entire window area with a pair of panels and top the treatment with a cornice. This will give you the best looking results for whatever bay window you have.
Despite the stigma, finding the perfect window curtains for covering the bay windows in your home is easier than you think. You do not have to spend a whole lot of money to get bay window curtains that fit your needs. Affordable bay window curtains are available in various solid colors, print fabrics, and also in a huge selection of materials. You are not limited to one or two choices. You can also skip bay window curtains altogether and simply treat your bay windows with blinds and a window topper such as a valance or cornice. When it comes to bay window curtains you can choose from a variety of styles including... Pinch Pleated Drapes, Insulated Drapery Panels with foam backing, Tab Top Drapes, Velvet Drapes, simple valances, detailed cornices and more! And why not use a little of everything, for bay window curtains and drapes you can usually find bother the drapes and a coordinating valance top.
Have fun with your bay window curtains, and do not let the size or shape be an obstacle, rather make it a fun design challenge.