French windows can be a great choice for your home renovation or new building. Perhaps you’ve heard of both French windows and French doors, but don’t realize there’s a difference. If so, you’re not alone!
What are French Windows?
A French window is a type of casement window with two or more sashes. Whereas a normal two-sash casement window will have part of the window frame in the middle of the opening, a French window creates one large opening without any obstructions.
French doors operate in the same way as French windows, but they extend to the floor and allow you to walk through to the outside, or into another room. Both French doors and windows originated in the Renaissance era in France when it became fashionable to have lots of open space in the home.
Pros and Cons of French Casement Windows
Here is a comparison of the pros and cons to consider before you go ahead with the installation of your casement windows.
- Views and ventilation: If you have a room that’s simply begging for an uninterrupted view and lots of natural light and breezes, then French casement windows are a great choice. Sunrooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens benefit from the large opening created by these windows.
- Energy efficiency: French windows are highly energy efficient. When they are closed, the windows fit tightly into the sashes on all sides. This stops air from leaking through the window, which costs you extra for your heating and cooling.
- Style: French casement windows give your home a classical and refined look, whatever your choice of décor. They come in a number of styles, materials, and finishes. For example, you can choose between a window with a large single glass pane in each sash or a number of smaller panes in a grid pattern.
- Swelling: Wooden French windows look great, but they are at risk of swelling and contracting with changing heat and damp conditions. This causes the frame to stick and makes the window hard to open and close. Installing vinyl or PVC frames helps to prevent this problem.
- Wind: If your windows open outwards widely, they might catch the wind. They can rattle and get damaged if this happens, so you might have to be extra-vigilant in windy areas.
- Space: French windows consist of two or more casement windows side by side, so they need a substantial amount of space. If your window space is narrow, these windows won’t be suitable. Rooms such as hallways and bathrooms usually need smaller window styles. You should also make sure that the space outside the window won’t be obstructed by wide-opening sashes. If your window opens onto a sidewalk or narrow patio, consider double-hung or sliding windows instead.
French Windows Price
French windows are very similar to standard casement windows, but the construction is slightly different. They have no middle supporting section or “mullion” between the sashes. French window prices are around the same as normal casement windows.
The cost to install French windows starts at about $120, and labor estimates run between $150 and $270 per window. Costs depend on various factors, including the size and type of French window, and the area you live in.
Here you can see the average costs of French windows at a glance.
|$120 – $150
|$180 – $216
|$276 – $336
|$150 – $168
|$192 – $222
|$240 – $270
|$270 – $318
|$372 – $438
|$516 – $606
*The above-mentioned costs are based on national averages. Always compare estimates from professionals in your area for a more accurate estimate of how much your installation will be.
Factors To Consider
Some other factors you should consider when figuring out your French windows costs are:
Materials: The frame and type of glass will affect the price. You will pay more for high-end materials like exotic wood, or glass features like insulation and low-E glazing.
Remember that you get the type of window you pay for – lower-cost windows might be perfectly adequate for your needs, but don’t expect a luxury product at a lower price!
Molding and trim: French windows need molding on the interior side, and trim on the exterior side. This makes the window look good and improves insulation, but also adds to your materials and labor costs.
Awnings: If your French windows open outwards, they are at the mercy of the elements. Many homeowners like to install awnings over the windows, to increase protection from the rain.
French windows have made a comeback over the last decade, and they are great for brand new ultra-modern buildings as well as traditional homes.
If you have a narrow space for your replacement windows, then French windows won’t work. A single- or double-hung window would be better in this case. But if you have plenty of space, then it makes sense to install a window that lets in so much of the outside!
Unlike complex window styles like bow windows or lantern windows, French casement window installations don’t generally involve an extensive renovation. The windows themselves are also pretty reasonably-priced – depending on the type and quality of frames, glass, and other factors.