Example of a picture window flanked by 2 "double hung" windows

This week I decided to contact a local window company to get some quotes on vinyl replacement windows. The first step is to have the window company come to your home to measure the windows for you. They will then be able to give you an accurate quote on pricing. While the “window guy” was measuring my windows, it was also a good opportunity to get to know him, and bounce some ideas off of him about the layout of the windows.

So, why should you consider replacement windows?  Well, an easy answer is because of energy efficiency. Windows have come a long way over the years, and replacing old windows with Energy Star rated ones will really help keep the heat in during the winter and the cool air in during the summer.  Visit www.energystar.gov first to find out if there are any rebates available in your area.

Vinyl replacement windows are also used because they are affordable with a wide range of styles, easily customizable and maintenance free. They even come in a variety of colors, so you’ll never have to paint or stain them.

Remember, just because they are “replacement” windows, does not mean that they have to operate in the same way. For example, I have large 3-pane picture windows in my living room and front bedroom (the front of the house). The side panes are very narrow and open using a crank mechanism, while the large middle picture window does not open or close.  When discussing these windows with my window guy, we decided to make the narrow windows a little wider, and set them up as double hung windows flanking a picture window.

I found a really helpful tool at Window World, Inc. that allows you to click on different window styles and actually see what they look like.  Vinyl windows come in a wide array of styles:

  1. Single Hung: Traditional in appearance, single hung replacement windows slide vertically, reminiscent of old-style sash windows. They also open without using any exterior or interior space.
  2. Double Hung:  Both top and bottom sashes open, and the sashes tilt inward for easy cleaning of the interior and exterior window pane! These are a great option for upper floors, where cleaning the glass from the outside can be dangerous or just plain impossible.
  3. Horizontal Sliding: Popular for an easy-opening solution over kitchen counters and sinks, and for providing a contemporary look. Opens without using any exterior or interior space. Horizontal sliding windows are best used for shorter-height windows.
  4. Double Horizontal Sliding:  This is the same as the horizontal sliding option, except both ends slide open without using any exterior or interior space.
  5. Picture: Maximize your view in living rooms, dining rooms and master bedrooms with a picture window. Picture windows do not open, so it’s helpful to combine them with other types of windows on the sides to get better ventilation.
  6. Radius/Arch: Radius windows, also known as arch window, this window has a half circle on top of a regular rectangular shaped window, creating a dramatic effect.
  7. Casement: These provide excellent ventilation, has no rail to obstruct views and puts the screen on the inside where it doesn’t get as dirty. These windows open outward, usually with a crank mechanism.
  8. Awning:  These windows are hinged on the top to tilt outward and to enable ventilation. A lot of homes have awning windows as an accent above or below picture windows.
  9. Bay/Bow: Bay or Bow windows give the illusion of a bigger interior space because they curve, or bow outward.  This leaves room inside for a nice shelf/bench area under the window.
  10. Jalousie:  These are a nice option for porches and sunrooms or in regions with mild winters, and are available with multiple glass options or cedar slats. Their louvers (glass slats) open easily and close tight.


Whatever your reason for needing windows, with vinyl windows you’ll definitely be able to find an option that suits your needs. Make sure to read my post about working with a contractor before you move forward with your job!


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