What kind of windows should you install, if you want your house to stand out from the rest of the neighborhood? And what will they cost?
While many types of windows can make your home eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing, both inside and out – nothing says “refinement and luxury” quite like bow windows.
Here we look at the features, pros and cons, and installation costs of bow windows to help you decide if they’re right for your renovation or new building.
What is a Bow Window?
Bow windows are a less common form of bay windows.
A bay window is a type of window construction that projects beyond the exterior wall of a building. It usually consists of 3 casement windows joined together in a box shape. A bow window combines four or more casement windows joined together to form a rounded arch, instead of a box.
Contemporary bay windows have flat angular lines that are often considered more appropriate for modern homes.
The rounded structure of the bow window is ideal for architectural design with Regency or Victorian overtones. There is no rigid definition of either style though – these windows are versatile, and can be incorporated quite nicely into your specific vision!
Bow windows in the West were first seen in 18th century England, but became very popular in genteel Regency architecture of the 19th century.
The Regency period was a time when the wealthy invested in elegant terraced city houses and seaside holiday homes, rather than spending all their days in old-fashioned country mansions. To this day, bow windows lend a home a breezy, modern, refined atmosphere.
Bow Windows Pros and Cons
If you’re designing your own home, or wanting to replace windows in your existing home, then bow windows might fit your style. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of window.
Floor space – a bow window protrudes out from the room, thus adding more floor space. You can decide whether to display a special piece of furniture or artwork, or install a boxed window seat in the extra space by the window.
Bow windows make a small room appear larger, and provide great views of the outdoors. Whether you have a suburban garden or an urban street to look out on, you’ll feel less enclosed than with ordinary flat windows.
Light – bow windows have more panes of glass and less supporting features between the panes than other types of windows. This allows much more light into the room. Bow windows can also be designed to wrap around the corner of a room, creating a unique feature that lets even more natural light in.
Privacy – while bow windows offer you a fantastic view of the outside environment, remember that outsiders will also have a better view of you! You’ll have to consider what kind of measures you need to take to maintain your privacy.
Tinted window panes can allow light in while still maintaining a measure of privacy – but these will cost more than normal glass panes.
Building permits – if your house is close to the street, you will need to check how far your window can project from the building without impeding a walkway or road. If the bow window is on an upper story of the house, the heavy structure will need extra support.
Both of these factors might require some extra planning, and consent from your local building authority.
Ventilation – bow window design allows for only a few of the casement windows to be opened. It’s possible to allow for all of the windows to open for ventilation, but then you’ll compromise the seamless curved shape of the structure.
Bow Windows Cost
Because of the complex design, architectural considerations and extra glass panes of bow windows, they are a relatively expensive choice.
A small bow window of around 3×3 to 4×4 feet will cost from around $500.00 to $900.00. A larger bow window in a living or dining room, or master bedroom, will probably measure around 4×8 feet. This can cost from $1,750.00 upwards, excluding labor.
You’ll note that these prices are PER WINDOW – and most homeowners will want to install more than one bow window, especially if it’s in the front of the house.
Bow window prices will vary depending on whether you’re just replacing a broken window, or installing a brand new window. Make sure your service provider gives you a full quote including any supporting structures, roofs on the top of the bow window, necessary permits, and clean up afterward.
Including labor costs, the national average cost of a single bow window is $2,250.00.
As beautiful as bow windows are, they can be a costly investment. You will need an experienced professional to quote on and install them for you. Bow windows are unusual, and not all window companies will be able to handle the job. The rooms where you have the windows installed might require some extensive renovations, both inside and out.
If you don’t mind extra expense and messy renovations, then bow windows can’t be beaten for bringing elegant, timeless luxury to your home. They add a unique sense of refinement to both suburban homes and city apartments. Choose your company carefully, and bow windows can add a great deal of value and enjoyment to your living environment!