Glossary of Home Window Styles

The days of designing a home with few or small window openings in order to conserve heat are behind us, but it is not an inexpensive project to upgrade the old single-pane, wood frame types of windows of older homes and buildings. In order to make your choices easier, this is a guide to the most popular types of windows found in North American homes. Becoming familiar with the terms will also add to your enjoyment of the process.

  • Awning – windows that are hinged at the top and open outward. They are designed to provide ventilation without letting in rain, etc. Awning windows can be used alone (commonly used in basements), or in vertical or horizontal groups in combination with additional awning windows, other types of windows, or above doors.
  • Bay or bow window – a window style which protrudes from the exterior wall of a room. Often a window seat fills the space in the interior of the room
  • Casement – Casement windows hinge on one side of the window frame so they open like a door. These are widely used in both traditional and contemporary design. Casement windows are typical of the Tudor style of architecture and are particularly convenient over a kitchen sink where it’s easier to open a window with a hand crank than to lean over a countertop and push up.
  • Clerestory – Windows placed high on a wall below the roof line, above eye level. They are usually small, horizontal, and used in multiples to allow sunlight without providing a view.
  • Double-hung – Double-hung windows have two sashes that slide up and down vertically. Early double hung windows had many panes of glass per sash and were called “12 over 12,” meaning 12 panes per sash. Modern styles are usually 6 over 6 or 6 over a single pane. You can open it a little or a lot from either the top or the bottom.
  • Glider – A sliding window unit consists of two sashes: one that’s stationary, one that slides left or right in a track. Screens can be placed on the exterior or interior of the window unit. Also called “sliders”. Patio doors are also called “gliders” and are simply larger versions of sliding windows.
  • Hopper windows – Hoppers are hinged at the bottom and open inward. Hopper windows are popular in commercial buildings such as restaurants or bars, etc., or in residential applications where an open-out window would not work because of clearance, space restrictions, security grills, etc.
  • Jalousies – These are made of glass slats set in metal clips that can be opened and closed in unison. Also called a louvered window, a jalousie is made like a glass shutter. This type of window is manually rotated to open or close the overlapping panels as required and can be opened by degrees to control how much air or light is allowed to pass through.They are very common in tropical regions where they allow breezes but prevent rain from entering.
  • Palladian – Palladian windows are named after the 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, who used this window design in developing what is known as the Palladian style of architecture. This window will be a focal point in a room and has been widely used in a variety of traditional architectural styles.
  • Picture windows – A picture window is a fixed pane of glass that does not open or close. The shape and size are custom-made for your needs.

You are no doubt familiar with most of these “eyes” in the houses around you. They shed light on their surroundings, provide a view for the folks inside, add sheltering insulating qualities, and help to define the architectural style of the building.