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The Difference Between a Bay Window and a Bow Window

Choosing the right windows for your home can be a little more complicated and involved than you may have imagined. With architectural trends constantly changing and new materials hitting the market every month, it is easy to get lost in the seemingly endless sea of window frames and windowpanes. 

Exterior Bay & Bow Window Remodeling

Two of the most popular window styles are bay windows and bow windows. Yet surprisingly enough, most homeowners still can’t tell them apart. Regardless of their differences, both styles add significant value to any home. To settle this common conundrum once and for all, we’re going to take a closer look at the difference between bay windows and bow windows

What Is the Difference Between a Bay Window and a Bow Window?

Before we get to what sets these two styles of windows apart, it may be helpful to point out their single shared characteristic. Both bow and bay windows project outward from the home or structure and are considered projection windows. For those inside looking out, bay and bow windows offer a grander view of the outdoors and create a feeling of openness. 

If you have never been able to tell bay windows from bow windows, now is your chance to never confuse the two again. 

Bay Windows – One of the most distinguishable attributes of the popular bay window is that it’s comprised of three separate windows or sashes that are affixed together at an angle. The center window is typically bigger and is flanked on either side by narrower windows. Bay windows are installed in a way that extends outward to create a generous seating area in its interior. There are some variations of bay windows that complement different areas of the home. 

  • Box Bay Window – Box bay windows are typically found just above a kitchen sink offering better views of the yard. These are also referred to as sun bay windows. Like the traditional bay window, box bay windows have three sashes, but they are affixed at right angles forming a boxy or squared-off protrusion.
  • Garden Bay Window Another variation of the box bay window is the garden bay window. The only difference in this bay window is that it has a slanted glass roof to create a greenhouse appearance and is excellent for growing house plants, flowers or herbs. 

Keep space in mind if you are considering bay windows for your home. Bay windows project outward more so than bow windows. A 30-degree bay window will jut out about 13-14 inches, with larger bay windows requiring even more space on the exterior. To prevent sagging, most bay windows are propped up and supported by braces that are screwed to the frame of the home right below the window. Another way bay windows are kept in place is by feeding steel support cables down from above to effectively create a suspension window seat. 

Bow Windows – To simplify the description, one could go out on a limb and describe a bow window as a ‘curved bay window’. The gradual curvature that bow windows provide is attributed to the number of windows it consists of. Unlike bay windows that are made up of 3 window panes, bow windows are comprised of a series of same-sized windows. Bow windows typically consist of 4 to 6 window casements that are married together to create an almost seamless curved arch, giving any room an awesomely expansive view with loads of natural light. Bow windows are highly customizable and can range anywhere from 4-13 feet wide, but larger installations are available from certain manufacturers. If increased ventilation is your desired goal, homeowners can opt to have them double-hung or single-hung. These nearly panoramic windows don’t stick out from the exterior as far as bay windows do, but they do jut out just enough to form one of those picturesque window seats we all swoon over. 

Take Your Time When Deciding on New Windows

While both bay windows and bow windows create a beautiful effect and are easily the focal point of any room, only you know what style and design you want in your home. Choosing the right type of windows can make all the difference, especially for your property’s resale value. 

Although these windows differ in appearance and construction, both bay windows and bow windows add lasting value to any home or property. You really can’t go wrong with either option. Before you purchase, take the time to do your research and go with a trusted window installation company like Window World Boston

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