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Bow Windows vs Bay Windows - When to Use Each

Bow Windows vs Bay Windows - When to Use Each

Posted in Windows , Replacement Windows

Picking a new style of window can be exciting! Here's what you need to know when trying to decide between a bow vs bay window.

What is a Bay Window

bay window installation

Bay windows are a classic way to let in extra light and add square footage to your home. Bay windows are usually made of three panes of glass set at 90 or 45-degree angles to each other. The center one is a picture window, with the outer two made from another style than the central pane, but matching each other. Because of the angles of the windows, they stick out into the exterior of the home, creating more interior space for a nook, window seat, or other cozy uses. Since the panes are at angles to each other, they also let in light from three directions, brightening up your room.

What is a Bow Window

Bow Window vs Bay Window - Choosing the Right Style for Your Home

Bow windows are another way to extend your room and let more sunlight in. Bow windows are usually made from 4 or 5 panes of casement windows that have been set into a rounded-out frame, to bow out into the exterior space. Since they use 4 or 5 panes of glass, they let in a lot of light and provide a nice wall of windows. And, since they are made from casement windows, the individual panes can be opened to let in the fresh air and increase ventilation.

What is the Difference Between a Bay Window and a Bow Window?

When looking at the difference between a bay window vs a bow window, it really comes down to two big things: the types of windows, and the angles of the frames. Because bay windows have a larger angle, they tend to stick out into the exterior space more. This means that the interior space they create is usually deeper and has more square footage. Bow windows, on the other hand, usually have a smaller angle, since there are more windows curved together. This means that the interior space they create is usually more shallow.

Another bow and bay window difference is the type of windows used. In a bay window, the central pane is usually a picture window. This means that it cannot be opened, though the two side windows can, depending on the type installed. Bow windows, however, are most often made from several casement windows. This allows each pane to be opened individually, giving more options for ventilation.

When to Use Each Type?

While bay and bow windows may seem fairly similar at first glance, the differences between them are pretty big. That means that you need to consider your preferences before you decide which one will best fit your needs. If the idea of a nice breakfast or reading nook is important to you, you'd probably prefer the added area created by bay windows. But if letting in more fresh air and having greater control of the ventilation is what you're looking for, then bow windows are the way to go.

Pros and Cons of Each?

When choosing between bay and bow windows, a lot of it comes down to taste. But there are pros and cons to each type of window that you may want to consider.

Bay window pros:

  • Extra space
  • Extra light
  • Nice curb appeal

Bay window cons:

  • They can eat up your exterior space if you have a garden or small yard
  • The hard angles don't always fit every style of home

Bow window pros:

  • More light
  • Softer lines
  • The ability to open all the windows

Bow window cons:

  • Not as much interior space created by them
  • They can be expensive and difficult to install

What are the Costs Involved?

Both bay and bow windows can be expensive because of the amount of work that needs to be done to extend them out of the interior of your home. Because bow windows require a special curved frame that has to be made so the panes fit in perfectly, they are usually more expensive than bay windows. The bow windows replacement cost can also be more than the bay window replacement cost, but that really depends on the types of panes used. A large part of that is determined by the size of the windows and the types of panes used on the sides of a bay window.

How Expo Home Improvement Can Help

At the end of the day, the choice between bow windows vs bay windows comes down to your particular taste, home, and needs. The best way to make your decision is to talk to professionals who can help guide you through the decision-making process. That's why Expo Home Improvement offers free consultations to help you make the best choice for your home. Whatever you decide on, our experienced craftsmen will make sure that your new windows will be everything you dreamed of.