Considering the Different Types of Replacement Windows

Deciding to get your windows replaced isn’t as simple as going to the store and picking out a window that looks similar to the previous one. There are many different things to consider when choosing a replacement window for your home. Is it made out of the right material? Will it let in enough light while keeping the cold out? These are the kind of questions you need to think about when searching for the right replacement window.

Windows come in various types and it will be very useful to know about them before making a purchase.


These are the common materials that windows are made from. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, based on both appearance and maintenance needed.

  • Wood – Most windows are traditionally made out of wood. They can come either painted or unpainted, with unpainted wood needing to be treated or painted. While quite effective in keeping out the weather, wood windows need to be regularly maintained with paint or wood finish.
  • Vinyl – These windows offer good heat and sound insulation. Unlike wood, they do not need to be maintained.
  • Aluminum – Due to aluminum’s strength, its thinner frames are able to support large pieces of glass. This makes aluminum windows desirable when more light is required. Durability and low-maintenance are other benefits of aluminum windows. However, they do conduct heat and are prone to condensation.


Windows can be typically classified based on its width, height, features, and the way that it opens. Here are the most common types of windows based on these criteria:

  • Double Hung – The window is divided into two vertically sliding sashes. This is a distinctively traditional design, where the height of the opening is greater than the width.
  • Sliding – Two or more panels that slide horizontally. Best for openings where the width is greater than the height.
  • Awning, Hopper, and Casement – These windows are hinged on one side. Awnings are hinged on the top side. Hoppers are hinged on the bottom side. Casements are hinged on the side. These windows are opened outwards, either with a fold-down latch or crank
  • Bow and Bay window – These windows make beautiful focal points in your home and are often used as reading spaces. A bay window is a collection of three windows at 25- to 45- degree angles. A bow window contains 3 to 5 windows at 10- to 15- degree angles.
  • Accent Windows – Unlike other windows, these windows do not need to open and are often decorative. These can be picture windows, glass blocks, or other custom shaped windows.

Window Ratings

Some windows will have tags from Energy Star or the National Fenestration Rating Council. Below are some details for the information you’ll find on those tags.

    • Visible Transmittance – This is an indicator of how much light a window typically lets in. It runs from a scale between 0 and 1, with the higher number signifying an increased amount of light that can enter through the window.
    • U-factor or U-value – This value shows how much heat the window can keep inside the room. It also has a scale that ranging from 0.20 to 1.20, favoring lower values in this case.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – A rating of the window’s ability to block heat from the sun, preventing it from getting in. Its rating has values that range from 0 to 1, with the ideal number depending on the climate where your home is located. In warmer climates, it’s best to look for a lower SHGC. Alternately, colder climates would prefer to get windows with a higher rating.

Installing Your Replacement Windows

Once you have selected the windows for your home, then it’s time to have them installed. While replacing your own windows can be an interesting DIY challenge, there are times that a professional is recommended. Our HandyCrew contractors have years of experience with window repair and installation in the Orange County area. Our skilled, licensed, and insured contractors can ensure that your windows are properly fitted – saving you time and effort.

Double Hung


Awning and Casement

Bow and Bay window

Custom shape

  • More window types

  • Do not change just to save energy – it will take time for the break even
  • Do change when there is condensation, rotting frames
  • -casement and double hung are the most popular
  • Only as good as the installation

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