Picture windows can mean many things! They can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, with many different configurations. The basic definition is simple, however: These are windows designed to maximize your view, be it a cityscape, wilderness, or the view of your own backyard. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and configurations, but they all have a few things in common.
First of all, picture windows are made with fixed panes, which means they are stationary. Because they’re all about the view, they don’t offer any ventilation or airflow—you won’t be able to open or close them.
Picture windows also typically feature as few glazing bars as possible. Glazing is the glass in a window, and the bars are the pieces that bisect the glass to offer support or as decoration. Since these windows are all about the view, too many bars—like you might find in French windows or doors—will obstruct that view. That said, some picture windows will have bars, but these windows will usually feature a large, central pane to give you the clearest view possible.
Benefits of Picture Windows
The view is perhaps the biggest advantage to picture windows. They’ll give you a sweeping look at your backyard or whatever is in the vista behind. Not only can you enjoy the scenery, but it also gives you a good way to keep an eye on kids playing in the backyard. This isn’t the only benefit, however.
These windows also give your home a big boost to its aesthetic appeal, both indoors and out. Because these windows are typically quite large, they add interesting architectural detail to your home’s exterior. Inside, these windows are notable for creating beautiful sitting areas—and they look amazing when decorated with creative curtains.
Picture windows also let in a lot of sunlight—which can also be a disadvantage, but if you’re looking to brighten up a room, these windows will do it!
Surprisingly, energy efficiency is an advantage with picture windows. Even though they let in a lot of sunlight, because these windows are non-operable, they typically don’t leak as much as windows with moving parts and seals or weather stripping that wears out over time.
Disadvantages of Picture Windows
We’ve mentioned above that these windows let the sunshine in—and that can be a disadvantage due to solar heat gain. The more sun streaming through windows, the warmer interior temperatures will be. Your air conditioning system may have to work harder in the summer to compensate for the heat gain.
These windows are also non-operable, so you won’t be able to crack them open for ventilation or to help cool off the home. However, it is possible to install openable windows around picture windows to help mitigate this issue if you would like the extra ventilation.
Picture Window Sizes
These windows come in all different shapes and sizes. You’ll find many of them are custom designed to fit a particular wall or to match a home’s overall aesthetic. However, there are some sizes that are commonly available, too.
Picture windows are often hung alongside double or single-hung windows so that you have both the “picture frame” along with two openable windows flanking it. If you plan to install this type of window, a common size would be 28 to 36 in width and 52 to 74 in height. For windows that will be shaded by awnings, it’s better to stay smaller at 20 to 24 inches wide and 24 to 24 inches tall. The maximum size for the largest picture windows is more than nine feet wide and eight feet tall.
Picture Window Styles
Because picture windows can be custom designed to suit just about any home, you’ll find them in every style imaginable. They commonly feature a modern look, but for something more classical, bay windows with the center window as your picture window are a good option, too. You’ll also find arched windows and other shapes, as well.
Picture Window Prices
Here again, window prices can vary widely. If you’re installing a massive picture window or a custom design, you can expect to pay as much as $2,000 for a premium energy-efficient window system. On average, however, most homeowners pay about $700 for a mid-sized to large picture window.
Because they add so much light and beauty to a home, picture windows can be a great investment. If you’re thinking of installing one, Energy Kingston Exteriors can help. Ask about our window services or contact us for additional information.