Bay vs. Bow Window: Which Window Adds More Value to Your Home?

Read on to discover the pros, cons, and everything in between about the bay vs. bow window to make the right decision for your home here.

Did you know new windows offer a 72.3% return on investment? Replacing your old windows increases your home’s energy efficiency. New windows also give you the curb appeal you need to sell your home.

If you’re staying put but looking to upgrade, you’re thinking about doing a remodel. You’ve always wanted a bay or bow window. What’s the difference?

Read this comparison of a bay vs. bow window to find out which is best for you.

Difference Between Bay and Bow Window

Bay and bow windows look about the same, but there are some distinct differences. Both add a pleasing aesthetic to any home but knowing which you should build means learning what they are.

Bay Window

A bay window is a three-window protrusion. The center pane is wider than the other two. To give the bay window more character, people often build bay windows with the center as a picture window.

The two panes on either side of the picture window are double-hung or casement.

Bow Window

A bow window is a four to six paned rounded protrusion. The individual windows are set side-by-side and are the same size.

The higher number of panes in a bow window means it’s larger and rounder than a bay.

Bay Window Pros

Who doesn’t love the look of a bay window? Aside from the exterior beauty and curb appeal they add, building one comes with many interior benefits.

Added Light

Extra sunlight transforms a home’s interior from drab to fab like nothing else. A bay window lets the sunshine in so you can receive all its health benefits.

Extra Floor Space

Because bay windows protrude, they add extra floor space. That extra space is perfect for a comfortable reading chair or lounger where you can bask in all the added light.

A Better View

Do you live in a geographic area with hilly terrain or wide-open vistas? Or do you live in an urban area with unique city views?

Either way, a bay window gives you fantastic views of sunrises and sunsets.

Bay Window Cons

There are cons to a bay window? Though hard to believe, it’s true. A bay window isn’t for every home.

Structural Issues

Improper installation will lead to home structural issues. Moisture from condensation and water leakage will degrade exterior walls and cause sagging.

You also can’t install a bay window unless your house’s foundation is structurally sound.

Expensive to Cover

Bay windows come in all shapes and sizes. When you find a window style you like, be aware that you might have to buy custom drapery to cover them.

This custom drapery can cost a lot of money.

More Space Required

If you live in an urban area close to the street or sidewalk, a bay window won’t be advantageous. For one, the extra sightline gives passers-by an increased view of your home.

You’ll also need zoning permission to build a protrusion close to walking and traveling areas.

Bow Window Pros

Bow windows are an intriguing option for homeowners who want to add a little elegance to their house. Their sleek design makes them an attractive renovation option.

Even More Light

A three-paned bay window lets in the light. A four to six paned bow window lets in even more light. This window style maximizes your home’s natural light without protruding as much from the original structure.

Extra Ventilation

Having more windows allows you to increase your airflow. Bow windows are most often formed from separate casement windows. Crank them open and let in the fresh air.

Increased View

The wider-sized bow windows give you a better view. Enjoy the purple and orange hues of a late summer sunset in a panoramic view from your living room or bedroom.

Bow Window Cons

Like bay windows, bow windows have their drawbacks. While adding more light and a better view is hardly ever a bad thing, there are reasons you should consider other renovation options.

No Added Floor Space

Bow windows extend out from your house. Unlike bay windows, they do not add much or any extra floor space. If you want to install a new window structure to increase a room’s size, a bow window is not a good option.

Less Unique

Bay windows give you the opportunity for different sized panes and often include a larger picture window. Bow windows install with panes of the same size and are far less customizable.

Complex Installation

A traditional bay window is a three-paned design. Because bow windows use more panes, the installation process is more complex.

Average Size and Cost for a Bow vs. Bay Window

Each window has its style and function pros and cons. There are vital size and price differences to consider, too.

Average Size Bow Window vs. Bay Window

Depending on your home size and budget, you can build any size bow or bay window you like.

A bay window’s average size is 3.5-10.5 feet in width and 3-10.5 feet in height.

A bow window’s size depends on the number of panes you want. Standard sliding windows are 36-84 inches in width and 36.5-83.5 inches in height. You won’t often see bow windows crafted from large windows.

Bow Window vs. Bay Window Cost

Bow and bay window prices depend on your desired size and the local costs of materials and labor.

  • Average bay window installation costs $1,150-$3,550
  • Average bow window installation starts at $3,600

Bay vs. Bow Window: Which is Right for Your Home?

New windows increase your home’s resale value and improve your energy efficiency. If this project is next on your list, you might want to take the next step and install a bay or a bow window.

When weighing a bay vs. bow window, consider your budget and your space.

Do you need more home improvement tips? Make sure to check out the rest of our page.

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