Windows Buying Guide

Learn the pros and cons of different types of windows, the various styles and latest trends.

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Awning Style Pella Windows and Doors Courtesy of Pella Windows and Doors

Back to the Future

Windows come in heaps of sizes and configurations, and custom capabilities can accommodate just about any over-active imagination, albeit at a custom price.

To put some pizzazz into window planning while keeping price reasonable, homeowners are exploring the possibilities with window styles other than standard double-hung and casements. Options include:

Awning windows are hinged along their top edge, and the bottom swings out. They became synonymous with factory construction in the 1950s and 60s. Awning windows are great for providing ventilation while keeping out the elements. Fitted with privacy glass, awnings are ideal for bathroom installations. As an architectural statement, try a vertical column of awning windows stacked on top of each other.

Jalousie windows, also called louvered windows, feature glass slats that open and close in unison. They look like glass shutters, and recall the architecture of the American South. With their multiple panes, jalousies have been a challenge to seal completely, and they're recommended for mild climates. Nevertheless, modern manufacturing techniques have improved the performance of jalousies, and they provide big retro style points.

Glass block windows are composed of individual glass blocks sealed together into a unit and placed in a vinyl or aluminum frame. The windows can be fixed, or operable casement- and awning-type windows. They come ready-to-install, with frames and nailing flanges.

With choices of classic glass block styles, such as clear, wavy, fluted and frosted, glass block windows hark to the heyday of mid-century modern. These days, however, blocks can be made of either glass or lightweight acrylic, and modern manufacturing ensures tight seals and good thermal performance.

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