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 isHoxie 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.
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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.
Choosing Bay or Bow Windows
Bow and bay windows are sought after by homeowners to make a bold statement. Curb appeal is often enhanced by replacing a few standard double-hung windows on the front of a house with one large "showcase" window that projects outward from the exterior wall of the home. By extending the facade in this manner, you are afforded the ability to construct an interior window sill onto which you can set vases or other floral arrangements, fine porcelain or even trophies, if your heart desires. I had a customer several years ago who purchased a large bay window for one simple reason: to allow his cat a place to comfortably lay in the sun.
As with all replacement windows, there are many factors you must take into consideration when purchasing a bow or bay window. First and foremost is the energy-efficiency of the product. Remember, these windows are much larger than traditional double-hung windows, the ones you will likely find in your bedrooms. As such, there is substantial glass surface area which will be exposed to the elements. Choose a window with poor glass and you'll be miserable for years to come.
The interior window sill on a bay or bow window can be vinyl or wood. Often, birch is the wood chosen by manufacturers for its beautiful wood grain. Be careful if you plan to place plants on this window sill. When watering, any overflow will damage the wood before long. It may be best to opt for a vinyl sill if this is your intention. If instead you plan on placing a large vase or artificial flowers on your new sill, birch will be your most attractive option. A wood sill can be stained and a polyurethane coating applied to not only protect it, but to complement your home's interior. Often we will stain a sill to match a wood banister or hardwood flooring in a customer's home.
Glass Block Window Sizes For Basements, Bathrooms, and Buildings - 4 Steps For SuccessWhy Choose Vinyl Windows?The biggest advantage with vinyl windows is that they are maintenance free. Make sure the vinyl window products you choose are 100% virgin vinyl, which means it will never pit, crack, peel, fade or require painting. Vinyl is a natural insulator which adds to the energy efficiency of the windows. Vinyl will not swell, rot or be susceptible to insect damage. Vinyl windows are a maintenance-free addition to the home.How does Low/E Work?Solarban 60 Coated Low-E Glass allows natural light to enter freely. In winter, indoor long-wave heat energy is reflected back into the house, lowering heating costs. In summer, outdoor long-wave heat energy , radiating from objects, is reflected back outside, lowering cooling costs.What is an Energy Star Window?The ENERGY STAR label for residential windows simplifies your purchasing decisions. You can be confident that ENERGY STAR-labeled windows, doors and skylights exceed the minimum energy efficiency criteria for the climate region in which you live - sometimes by as much as 40 percent! This means that ENERGY STAR window products will reduce your home energy costs compared to other products.Look for the label on the window that identifies it as a qualified ENERGY STAR product, and tells you in which regions it qualifies. Windows can qualify in some or all of the northern, central, and southern climate regions. Additionally, all ENERGY STAR qualifying windows, doors and skylights will carry another label which indicates that it has been certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). These independent ratings provide the basis for ENERGY STAR´s window performance requirements.ENERGY STAR performance requirements are tailored to fit the energy needs of the country´s different climate regions - northern, southern and central states. Additionally, recent technological advancements -- new materials, coatings, design and construction features -- make it possible to choose window products that allow you to balance your winter heating and summer cooling needs without sacrificing versatility or style. Look at the Climate Region Map on the ENERGY STAR label to be sure that the window, door or skylight you have selected is appropriate for use where you live.About Climate ZonesThe ENERGY STAR label identifies efficient windows appropriate for the following three broad climate areas.Buying a Window for the Northern ClimateENERGY STAR windows in the northern region must include features to reduce heat loss (windows with a lower U-factor have lower heat loss). The most common way to do this is with a low-e coating, which is a microscopically thin metal coating that is applied to the glass by the manufacturer.All low-e coated glass products reduce heat loss compared to clear glass products without a low-e coating. Look for a low U-factor on the product´s NFRC label to be sure. Some low-e products also reduce solar heat gains. The percentage of solar heat that is admitted through a window is shown by the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) rating. The lower the SHGC rating, the less solar heat the window transmits into your home. If you live in a house that is designed to take advantage of the free solar heating, or you have minimal concern about summer cooling you should look for windows with somewhat higher SHGC ratings.ENERGY STAR qualifying windows in the northern climate region must have a U-factor rating of 0.35 or below. Skylights must have a U-factor rating of 0.45 or below.Buying a Window for the Central ClimateENERGY STAR labeled windows in the central region must include features to reduce both heat loss and solar heat gain. The most common way to do this is with a low-e coating. All low-e coated glass products reduce heat loss compared to clear glass products without a low-e coating. Some low-e products also reduce solar heat gains more than others. The percentage of the solar heat that is admitted through a window is shown by the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) rating. All ENERGY STAR qualifying windows for the central states must have a U-factor rating of 0.40 or below and a SHGC rating of 0.55 or below.If you live in a home that is designed to take advantage of the free solar heating, or you have minimal concern about summer cooling costs, you can look for windows with somewhat higher SHGC ratings on the NFRC label. If you are concerned about both heating and cooling costs, you may want to look for windows with lower SHGC ratings.Buying a Window for the Southern ClimateENERGY STAR labeled windows in the southern region must include features to reduce the solar heat gain. Two of the most common ways to do this are through tinted glass and low-e coatings. These features limit the amount of solar energy entering your home and reduces the amount of air conditioning needed to keep you comfortable.All windows, doors and skylights qualifying for the ENERGY STAR label in the southern region must have a U-factor rating of 0.75 or below and a SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) rating of 0.40 or below.