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The complete bay windows guide for homeowners

Are you looking for windows with big panes to expand the room and let in a lot of daylight? Bay ones are best for these purposes. They form the framework for a cozy seating area and look fabulous both from the inside and outside. Bay windows can easily enhance the look of your bedroom or living room. Keep reading to discover the most common types of bay windows, their advantages and disadvantages, frame materials and glazing, and the costs.

The complete bay windows guide for homeowners

The essentials in brief

  • Bay windows create light-flooded rooms in the home and add significant value to the property.
  • Casement or lattice units are usually used in bay windows.
  • Windows of this type are often installed floor-to-ceiling or connected to a bench inside.
  • Bay windows can be modern or have a classic rustic look.
  • When buying and installing a set of new bay windows, you should expect costs of between $800 and $3.000.

What are bay windows?

Bay windows are made of two angled operable units and one fixed inoperable. They are bowed outwards, creating additional space inside the room. The central window is a picture one that offers an unobstructed view and ample sunlight. Two other units most commonly feature either casement or double-hung window types that are operable and can be opened for ventilation. 

Characteristic is their large surface, which in turn requires effective thermal insulation. Therefore, modern frames and multiple glazing that offer sufficient thermal insulation are essential for bay windows.

History of bay windows

Bay windows have been built since the Middle Ages, on the one hand, to show that the homeowners have money and can afford a unique house. On the other hand, the residents have a better view of what is happening outside. 

This was especially important for the ladies, who used to not go out into the streets alone, but with the ample windows, had the opportunity to take part in life without leaving the house. The bay window was also used as a place to read.

Bay windows in old and new houses

Today, bay windows in old buildings can be found on the upper floors. In newer homes, they are instead built to the ground, forming a veranda or a conservatory. For example, one side of the bay window would often be wholly glazed or provided with a patio door. As a result, the residents get more light into the house.

If you have bought an old building with bay windows, you will have to deal with their replacement at some point. If the house is listed as a historical monument, the windows must be replaced true to the original. This can be expensive and troublesome because such windows do not correspond to today's standard dimensions, and you must create custom-sized window panels. You are more unrestricted with a non-listed building. In this case, it is worth enlarging the relatively narrow windows and letting even more light into the apartment.

Pros and cons of bay windows

Due to their size, bay windows let a lot of light into the room and allow a good view of the surroundings. However, the glazing of a bay window is associated with some costs since the large window areas must be equipped with sufficient thermal insulation.

Advantages of bay windows

  • A bay window can enlarge the interior space thanks to the exposed construction.
  • The large area of ​​bay windows intensifies the incidence of light.
  • Bay windows allow for a more expansive view outside. Viewing angles from 45 to 270 degrees are also possible.
  • Bay windows offer a traditionally elegant look for your home.
  • If you don't design your bay windows at floor level, they offer you additional seating on the windowsill.

Disadvantages of bay windows

  • Due to their size and unique design, bay windows are more expensive than other options.
  • Bay windows increase the area of ​​the house, which in turn allows more heat to escape. You need more expensive thermal glass to counteract heat loss through the window.

The different types of bay windows at a glance

Because of their exposed position, bay windows should fit as harmoniously as possible into the house facade. Casement, lattice, or fake lattice units are usually used in bay windows installations. 

  • Box (casement) windows

Casement windows have two casement frames that are combined in a box-like construction. The wings can be opened independently, whereby the opening direction depends on the respective design. Casement windows are among the most traditional window models and are mainly found in old buildings.

  • Lattice windows

With mullioned windows, the glass pane is divided into several parts. The rungs serve as connecting pieces between the individual glass parts. In the past, glazing large areas in this way was possible. Today, rungs only serve as a design element. Because the production is complex and special attention must be paid to adequate window insulation, genuine lattice windows are more expensive than other types of bay windows.

  • Fake lattice windows

Fake lattice windows use the look of their real counterparts. The glazing is not subdivided here. Bars can either be installed in the spaces between the panes or placed on top of the glass pane. Since they are not used to stabilize the pane, the strips on such windows can be narrower. This, in turn, allows more light to enter the bay window. This technology is mainly used to construct large bay window sizes. 

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Frame and glazing of bay windows

Two factors play a decisive role in selecting the frame material for your bay window: the insulation and the appearance. If there are various wooden windows in your facade, you should also buy bay windows made of wood. However, each material has its own advantages.

Wood, for example, achieves the best thermal insulation values, but it needs regular care. Plastic is the cheapest option but can discolor over time. Aluminum is the most robust but also expensive. Besides, you can go for a combination frame made of wood and aluminum or plastic and aluminum, especially if you need a small bay window size. 

Types and functions of modern window glazing

You have to reckon with these costs for new bay windows. Since bay windows are often glazed all around and are usually installed floor-to-ceiling, higher costs can quickly arise. In terms of design, however, there is no difference between windows in conventional facades. Instead, the following factors play a role:

  • Window size
  • Window type
  • Shape
  • Frame material
  • Opening mechanism
  • Accessories
  • Glazing
  • Sprouts
  • Manufacturer

What are the common sizes of the bay windows?

Bays are two to three times larger than standard-sized windows, which is why not every room in your home will work for their installation. Most commonly, they're suitable to install in spacious dining and living rooms. Nevertheless, the sections of the supporting wall may need to be reinforced to bear more weight. 

When you determine the size of a replacement bay window, consider the room where it will be placed and the functions you want it to perform. It's always a good idea to apply to a professional contractor to avoid costly mistakes. A pro will examine your home and recommend a unit of a suitable brand and size. 

Bay windows of small size are 3'6 in width and 3′ in height. They help to avoid additional wall reinforcement and are usually easily operable. Besides, a window crew will rate you a lower price for their installation than large-scaled ones. On the contrary, bay window sizes that equal 10'6 in width and 6'6 in height can take up the better part of a wall and put an extra load on it. You may expect to spend up to $300 on their installation. 

How much does a bay window cost?

Bay windows, along with bows, are one of the most costly to install. Their prices vary from $1.300 to $2.600, including material and labor. In some rare cases, the upper range of the cost may rise to $3.000. Bay window replacement cost can be impacted by several factors, including unit size, style, configuration, frame material, and manufacturer. Another criterion to consider is your location which affects the cost of labor. According to our research, bay window installation costs may differ from $120 to $180 per unit from state to state. 

FYI! We recommend you reach out to the local contractor for a realistic quote for your window project. Another option is to leave your request on HomeQuote and get multiple quotes at once that can be matched side-by-side in real-time. If you find bay window prices from your local contractors too high, we will be happy to provide you with more affordable alternatives. 

Bay windows: Repair or replace completely?

Bay windows have a few elements that fall into the category of easily breakable. The fittings, for example, are pretty delicate and can wear out over time. The primary question that confronts every homeowner is whether they need a replacement bay window made from scratch.

The more serious the damage, the more sensible it is to replace the entire bay window. However, very old bay window models are challenging to repair today because there are no longer any spare parts for them.  

Here are the common reasons that lead to bay window replacement:

  • Window age. If the bay windows are older than 15 years, they need to be replaced as soon as possible as you may encounter problems with their operation and energy efficiency.
  • Glass breakage. A complete bay window replacement is always warranted. Theoretically, broken window glass can be replaced, but restoring the original condition is no longer possible even with double glazing. At the same time, the scope of work would be so enormous that it would exceed the cost of a new bay window, including bay window installation costs. On some occasions, the exchange of the wing is often sufficient.
  • Frame breakage. Several factors play a role. In the case of a frame breakage, however, the aim is usually to replace the window. A real breakage means that a good part of the window frame is torn or broken deep down. Simple splintering, on the other hand, can be easily repaired.
  • Leakage. Sometimes, moisture pools between the window panes, so the frame leaks. A simple repair is impossible here because the gas between the panes has escaped. It is practically impossible to simply swap the dark rubber between the frame and the lens.
  • Poor energy efficiency. Energy-saving units can help to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 22% annually. It makes sense to get rid of units with poor insulation that transmit air from the outside through cracks and holes. They don't allow you to keep the comfortable temperature inside the home and affect your utility costs. 
  • Out-of-date style. The common reason that makes homeowners replace their old bay windows is their outdated style. If the windows don't fit the home's exterior, they ruin its curb appeal and lower sale value. 

The problem with replacing an old bay window is that the homeowner often has to compromise. The older the defective bay window, the lower its insulation value. For example, a single new bay window in the living room can now lead to thermal bridges since the rest of the outer wall is not improved, and the window is practically the best-insulated point on the facade. 

Entrust your bay windows installation to professionals

As we said before, getting new bay windows is a costly affair. That is why you may want to ensure their installation is performed by certified professionals who provide a warranty on their services. HomeQuote is here to connect you with proven window professionals in your region who will take care of your project from A to Z. We don't charge for our matching services and allow you to get up to 4 clear-cut quotes within a couple of hours. Follow this link to leave your request

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