Picture Windows: Worth a Thousand Words

By HomeAdvisor

Updated March 2, 2017

Bedroom with picture windows

While any window can be described as providing a glimpse of the outside world, a picture window is a way to truly bring the outside into your house. They provide an unobstructed look at your surroundings, while you get to stay in the comfort of home. In addition to its aesthetic value, a picture window can actually increase the market value of your house.

Types of Picture Windows

Traditionally, a picture window is just one very large piece of glass. This kind of picture window is becoming less popular because of its poor insulation properties and its fragility.

Picture windows made up of many small pieces of glass were popular when making very large sheets of glass was difficult. This type of window is making a comeback because of the classic look, and also because of the added sturdiness. Having individual panes of glass in a frame means that if one is damaged, you don’t have to replace all of the window.

Double pane windows are very popular with today’s homeowners. They consist of two pieces of glass around a layer of air. This makes them much better insulators than single pane windows. These are available with a grid frame in between the two pieces of glass if the look is desired. There is no need to clean the frame, as it will not get exposed to dirt between the two panes of glass.

Picture Window Replacement

Though most people who already have a picture window are reluctant to get rid of it, picture window replacement is a good option if your windows are very old or damaged. Since older windows of this size aren’t good insulators, those who live in very hot or very cold climates might consider upgrading to a newer, more efficient model.

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Some people choose to replace a single large window with one smaller picture window and two opening windows on either side. This will provide ventilation when desired but still keep the same view and structure of the wall.

When dealing with the large amount of space they have to work with, picture window replacement often makes homeowners look for a little extra. Bay windows, though not technically “picture windows”, are very appealing for many reasons. While still offering a very excellent view of the outside, bay windows create more space in the home by pushing out of the exterior wall. They provide not only a view, but also a spot to sit and enjoy that view. It is also possible to open bay windows, which is a task that a picture window cannot perform.

Bay windows and bow windows (basically just curved bay windows) will require more work to install than a simple picture window replacement. Since they extend past where the existing wall ends, bay windows require extra support. They will also need their own siding and roofing.

Replacing a picture window is a very big job and should definitely be done by someone with experience. Even the DIYers who has replaced other windows on his or her own might do well to hire a professional for this particular job.

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