There are many different types, styles and operation of windows available but to determine what you need you have to ask yourself a couple questions. Does it need to open? How big does it need to be and is it too large to open? Am I trying to match existing windows or changing the style completely? What style am I trying to create?
First thing to consider is budget as this will determine what the windows are made out of as well as the look. A lower budget may allow for a vinyl PVC basic window line where as a higher budget may allow for a wood or metal exterior window with more options. More options mean more availability to customize to your personal style.
Second thing to consider is the style that you are trying to achieve. For a traditional look you may want to use a wood painted window and for a contemporary style you could use a very stream line metal extruded window.
I have listed the most typical window types below.
Vinyl Windows PVC:
Typically white or beige inside and out. Great for small renovations with small budgets. Limited options, hardware, colours and brickmold. The biggest selling feature is that these are virtually maintenance free, come with longer warranties and you will never need to paint them. The downside to these windows is selection and if they were ever scratched or chipped there is no way to fill or fix it.
Huge selection of paint finishes, brickmold, sill nosing, hardware and wood species. Best used on historic or traditional renovations and new construction. Has a lot of room for customization with a medium to high budget range. Pros, beautiful painted finish, seamless with the ability to customize. Cons, do require maintenance and will need repainting in 10-15 years.
Metal Clad or Extruded Windows:
Large selection of colours, hardware and wood species with a set number of brickmold and sill options. There is a little less room for customization but most metal product I have dealt with can be customized almost as much as the wood. Great for contemporary or modern styled homes with a minimal look. Pros, Longer warranty, finish is more durable and less lightly to fade, chip or crack. Virtually maintenance free but with beauty in mind. Cons, higher cost and harder to repaint.
Just as with type and style there are also many different ways that a window can operate.
Casement opener: Cranks or pushes out or pulls in hinged from the left or right. These are typically Slimmer but taller units.
Single or double hung: A vertical slider where the bottom sash slides up and the top is either fixed in place or slides down. Can usually be tilted for ease of cleaning. Very traditional look used most commonly in a historic renovation. Large opening are possible with these types of windows.
Awning: Cranks or pushes out hinged from the top. Wider but shorter operator.
Hopper: Pulls in hinged from the bottom. Wide and short operator.
Tilt and Turn window: A dual operation window that opens in like a casement and tilts in like a hopper. Larger in both width and height and can be used as doors.
Now that you have a basic understanding of styles and operation you can start your search for the best suited window for your home. If you are still unsure, most window and door dealers will be able to recommend what would work best for you so don't hesitate to ask.
Word of the Day: Mullion
A wood or metal decorative divider used in-between or on the glass of a window or door. Also called divided light, grills, SDLs, PDLs and bars.