Quality Window & Door Blog

Bay vs. Bow Windows

When the time comes to upgrade the windows in your home, you don’t have to stick with ordinary styles. Why not make a statement with bay or bow windows? Either style could be right for your home, so learn the similarities and differences to help you make the best choice.

What Are Bay Windows?

When window construction protrudes beyond the main walls of a building, it’s known as a bay window. The angles and amount of protrusion beyond the foundation wall varies, but bay windows are always comprised of three panes. The center window, which is installed parallel to the existing wall, is larger than the two panes on either side. These smaller flanking windows are often operable casement or double-hung styles.

Bay windows may be found on the first floor or extend to multiple stories of the home. They can also protrude from the second floor without extending all the way to the ground, as long as the proper support structure is installed. Because the windows extend beyond the foundation, they may require a special building permit, which means you should leave the job to a professional window installer.

Learn more about bay window manufacturers »

What Are Bow Windows?

Bow windows are a less angular variation on bay windows. They typically consist of four to six windows installed in a gentle arc. Most often, inoperable picture windows are used in bow window configurations, but casement and double-hung windows can also be used.

weather shield casement windows

As with bay windows, bow windows may be installed on the ground or upper floor and even extend between the two. The protrusion beyond the foundation provides room for the window seat you’ve always wanted. Be sure to leave the installation to an experienced window installer who has the necessary expertise and can obtain all required permits.

Benefits of Bay and Bow Windows

Now that you know the differences between bay and bow windows, you might wonder what benefits they could offer your home. As long as the windows are made of high quality materials and installed properly, you can expect to see the following benefits, regardless of which window style you choose:

  • Add more usable square footage to the room: Including a deep windowsill with the installation is the best way to utilize a bay or bow window. Turn it into a cushioned reading bench with storage beneath or use the sill to display plants where they’ll get plenty of sun.
  • Allow more natural light to enter: If you’re replacing a small window, the added natural light will brighten up the room and make it feel more inviting.
  • Expand your view: Don’t let a great view go to waste! Bay and bow windows angle outward, allowing you to enjoy a panoramic vista.
  • Increase ventilation: While you can opt for picture windows, choosing casement or double-hung windows as part of the bay or bow window installation allows you to ventilate the room with two or more windows open at once.
  • Increase curb appeal: These windows are often chosen purely for their aesthetics. The unique architectural element helps your property stand out from the rest and may even increase market value when it comes time to sell your home.

Choosing Between Bay and Bow Windows

Because they’re so similar, bay and bow windows share most of the same benefits. The differences lie in aesthetics. Do you prefer a more angular bay window, or does the gentle arc of a bow window appeal to you?

Whichever look you prefer, rest assured that Quality Window & Door can handle the installation for you. When you’re ready to get started, please contact us for a free estimate.

Featured Bay Window Manufacturer: Weather Shield

Weather Shield is a leading window and door manufacturer located in the United States. At Quality Window & Door, we are a premier dealer of Weather Shield products in the MD, DC, and VA area. Weather Shield offers attractive, durable, and energy efficient bay windows, including wood-clad bay windows, vinyl-clad bay windows, and fiberglass-clad bay windows. Call us today to talk about installing Weather Shield windows in your home or as part of your next home improvement project!

weather shield dealer in maryland

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