Learn the Basics of Window Types and Shapes

Knowing What You Need is the Key to Staying Within a Budget

Kitchen window

Mint Images / Helen Norman / Getty Images

Many homes have only the basic types of windows—meaning square and boring. Updated windows can make a nondescript home into one that shines with curb appeal. But you need to know what is available (and what it’s called) when talking to your window professional. Here are some terms you should know:

  1. Fixed: This type of window cannot be opened. It is usually inexpensive and suitable for higher windows that won’t be opened anyway.
  2. Double-hung: One of the most common windows and a great window for a period home. The window consists of two sashes that move up and down. Only half of the window can be open at one time.
  3. Casement: Another common window, casement windows are hinged vertically to swing in and out like a door and operated with a crank.
  4. Awning: Awning windows are similar to casement windows but are hinged horizontally.
  5. Jalousie: Jalousie windows are horizontally placed narrow strips of glass, lowered by a crank. Out of favor today, they were very popular in the mid-century.
  6. Sliding: Sliding windows move on top and bottom tracks. They are very common and can be inexpensive.
  7. Palladian: A Palladian window consists of a group of three windows with an arch over the center. These windows have become very popular in the last decade. They provide visual interest and drama to a home.
  8. Picture: Picture windows are especially popular in ranch-style homes. They are large fixed windows flanked by two casements or double-hung windows.
  9. Clerestory: Clerestory windows were especially popular in Craftsman homes. They consist of a strip of small horizontal panes set high on a wall.
  10. Elliptical or arched: Elliptical or arched windows often placed above double-hung or fixed windows in today’s new homes.

The right windows can make the world of difference to the look of your home. You are now equipped to talk with your local home improvement store in the language of windows.