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 isMidway 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.
Casement Windows and Double-Hung Windows: Which Is Better?
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.
UPVC Windows and DoorsWhen sizing a glass block window panel you need to throw out the old saying "measure twice and cut once." With an interior or exterior block window project you need to measure twice and don't cut at all (this is because you can't slice through a block and have it retain it's structural integrity and energy efficiency properties). Although determining the size of the block glass window does require skill and knowledge, it does not take a neurosurgeon to figure this stuff out. In this article you'll learn the 4 step process to get the correct window size, system, pattern, color and options for your needs and tastes.Step 1) Where do you want to use the block window? What material is (or will be surrounding) surrounding the window opening?o Will your glass block window be used in a lower level basement, a 1st floor garage or commercial building, or a 2nd floor bathroom window that is 20 foot to the sill? If you're putting the window on the lower level you can generally make the window panel larger since you won't have to be lifting it in the air (most basement windows tend to use anywhere from 8 to 15 blocks in a pre-assembled section - weighing from 50 lbs. to 90 lbs per section). Most second floor bathroom windows tend to use 12 to 24 blocks so you might want to select a thinner block thickness (either 2" or 3 1/8") so the panel is lighter and easier to install.o The surrounding materials the window panel will be set in (also called the head - or top, jambs - or side, or sill - or bottom) are also important. If you're doing a basement foundation window that will be set inside a masonry wall made of concrete block, sandstone, or poured concrete you may want to size your block window using a mortar joint (to match up with your surrounding masonry materials) vs. a silicone jointing process for the window. For a bathroom window inside of a wood framed opening the silicone vinyl framed glass block window system might be preferred because this window is lighter (usually built with 2" thick blocks) and easier to set, making an upper level installation safer.Step 2) Measuring an existing opening or determining the size you'd like to create a new openingo To replace an existing window you start by measuring the opening first. When measuring an existing masonry opening for block basement windows or upper floor windows you usually want to measure assuming the frame will be removed (this happens about 90% of the time), from side to side, and from the top of the sill to the top of the header plate. The block window will need to be sized smaller than this opening remembering that you can't cut the glass, or as my Dad used to say fit 10 lbs of you know what into a 5 lb. bag. For upper floor frame openings you usually will measure the area inside of the frame after the window sashes would be removed to size your window.o Creating a new opening for a block window If you're creating a new opening for a block window you want to begin with the end in mind. Choose your specific block window system, pattern, design, and/or colors and find out from your glass block window manufacturer what size the window panel will be after it's manufactured. Then you'll create your opening usually about ½" larger than the size of the panel (for example if the glass panel size is 40" x 40" you'll want to create your rough opening to be 40 ½" x 40 ½").Step 3) Choose a glass block window system and select your pattern, design, air vent, colors, and block sizes.o Block window panels can be made either with or without a frame. For existing basement windows in masonry openings a frameless block window is more cost effective, can be mortared in place, and is usually the way to go. The frameless window panels can be joined together either with mortar or silicone. The advantage of the mortared windows is they are harder to break in through and match most foundations. The advantage of the siliconed windows are they are smaller in size when pre-assembled together (which works well for tighter fitting openings), lighter, and have an all glass look.o For upper level frame openings a vinyl framed block window can be an excellent choice since these windows are available in different frame colors and can be installed just like a standard replacement window. For openings you are creating, or can modify the size of, this is the way to go.o There are a wide selection of block sizes, patterns, design possibilities, air ventilation products, and colors for your windows. A brief overview is presented below:o Sizes and thicknesses of glass blocks - Glass masonry units are made is both metric and American sizes. Most of the blocks available in the United States are American sized. The American sized blocks are available in 4" x 8", 6" x 6", 6" x 8", 8" x 8", 12" x 12" and specialty shapes to turn corners or radiuses if you're looking to create a bay or bow block window. The blocks have nominal sizes meaning the actual size of the block units is ¼" smaller allowing for a mortar joint (a 6" x 6" block actually measuring 5 ¾" x 5 3'4"). There are 3 available thicknesses - 2", 3 1/8", and 4" thick. Thinner blocks are lighter and generally easier for someone less experienced to work with.o Patterns, designs and colored glass blocks - Blocks come in a multitude of patterns providing different levels of privacy, style, security, and energy efficiency. The block are now available in standard and custom colors and artistically decorated murals to match any interior design style. Check out a comprehensive block web site to see the possibilities.o Air ventilation and acrylic block windows - Glass block windows are available with vinyl air vents, dryer vents, or power exhaust fans. There are also acrylic block casement and awning windows that give you the look and feel of real block with the ability to open completely as well.Step 4) Don't worry about any of the first 3 steps and call a glass block window manufacturer and installation professional - If you really don't want to figure out what size window you need call a block specialty company who offers design, fabrication and installation services. This type of company will usually come to your home or business (without a charge), measure your openings, figure out the right window size, and install it for you with a guarantee.
How to Prepare Your Home For Replacement WindowsWith the price of heating and cooling rising almost daily I started looking at my old windows and wondering if it wouldn't be worth it to replace them with newer, more energy efficient ones. I had read about Energy Star® Ratings and how they are (supposedly) indicative of the most energy efficient appliances and building materials available.I started to do a little internet research to see if it would be a good investment to install more efficient windows in our townhouse. I wanted to find out if they could really pay for themselves and how long the payback period would take.After a little searching I found a simple calculation that will yield your payback period for installing new energy efficient windows.According to Energy Star, "An average household spends over 40 percent of its annual energy budget on heating and cooling costs. You could reduce those bills by up to 15 percent with ENERGY STAR® windows."We can break that claim down into a simple formula:(Your average monthly energy bill (if you have gas and electric just add them together) X.4 ) X.15 = projected savings per month. Divide this number into the cost of upgrading your windows and you have how many months it would take to recoup your investment.To make a long story short, projected savings are 6% of your monthly energy bill.For our house the calculation looks something like this:Average month's electric bill: $141.20* Times 6% X.06 = Avg energy savings per month $8.472Cost to replace 6 windows with Energy Star windows: Approx $330 (at the low end) per window X 6 windows = $1980 (if you have special tax rebates available in your area subtract those from your total).Next I figured out the projected payback period:$1980 / $8.472 = 233 months or 19.5 years (Update: since I wrote this article the Energy tax credit has been phased back in, so you would subtract the $1500 credit available (0r 30% of the cost of the windows not including instalation costs and take whichever is smaller) before dividing by monthly usage ratio. In the example you would take 1980-1500 = 480 and divide by 8.472 = 56.66 months until payback).Based on my math the investment without the tax credit hardly seemed practical. I calculated this based on costs which include installing the windows myself. Now including the tax credit in our calculation the payback period is 4.72 years, making it a very worthwhile investment, to get that return on an investment I'd have to get a 50% return on your money....pretty good huh?)You can take this same calculation to decide between replacing your windows with cheaper ones or going for the added expense of putting Energy Star rated windows in, just subtract the cost of the cheaper windows from the cost of the Energy Star windows and see the projected payout period differential.While the additional expense doesn't seem worth it for my project, perhaps with better tax rebates available in your area, and/or a higher energy bill it may be worthwhile for you. Just remember before making any major purchase, first DO THE MATH!*Note: I already knew my average monthly bill, but you can get a fairly accurate estimate of the average for your home by calling your local utility and asking them about their monthly budget plan. The budget plan amount for your house and family will be a fairly accurate estimate of your monthly energy bill customized to your home size, number of occupants, and your geographic area.