Bow Window vs Bay Window – Choosing the Right Style

bow window vs bay window

If you want to boost the curbside appeal of your home, a bow window or bay window works well to improve your home’s exterior aesthetics. Besides, adding these window styles to your new home building project or during a renovation will also increase your outdoor views and improve the interior room’s functional living space.

As you can see, both bay and bow designs are projection windows that have the power to impact both your home’s interior and exterior. So, whether you are looking for replacement window options for an older house or seeking new window installations for custom-built homes, investing in these window styles are a great option.

But first, you must understand the difference between them to choose the best style for your property. When it comes to bow window vs bay window, which is the right style? Comparing and contrasting both can help you make an informed choice. Here is everything that you must consider when selecting between the two.

The Similarities of the Bow and Bay Windows

Some people get confused between bay and bow windows because they look similar. In fact, they also serve the same purpose of protecting your house while allowing fresh air to circulate. Both window styles possess the capacity to open a room. They will give you more space to breathe and move around as the panels jut out of the home’s exterior. The elegant curves from within form a nice nook where people can sit and hang out. As such, both provide a bit more interior space for your enjoyment.

At the same time, both window styles permit more natural light to come with its numerous panes. On top of that, bow and bay window treatments also add a dose of glam to any room. They look elegant, sophisticated, and stylish. Furthermore, since you get more expansive windows with a bow or bay style, you can fill the room with breathtaking landscape views that are more visible from the angled panes.

Furthermore, both window styles offer a touch of elegance for the exterior walls. Since they are a cut above normal window designs like a single slider, anyone looking at your home will think it looks elegant. Both are fancy styles that level up the aesthetics. With these visually appealing window designs, you can make a good impression and resounding impact on home visitors and even those who randomly pass by.

The Variations Between Bow and Bay Styles

Now, let’s take a look at the significant differences between a bow window vs bay window. Though they share similarities, you must know their variations to pick the best style for your home. Look at their specific details below:

1. Bay window

A bay window usually has three window openings, available in angled projections that go beyond the exterior wall. Hence, it is often referred to as the “3 lite bay.” A reputable window installer can expertly put the perfect angles measuring up to a 90-degree box bay. Because the window protrudes out of the wall, you can take advantage of bigger views. It can also provide additional seating space or floor area, which offers more functionality for the room.

The structure of the bay window has a big, fixed picture window.  Smaller windows surround each side, which can be either fixed or vented. Since these bay windows have three panels, they are usually not as wide as the bow window. However, the flat planes and angular lines work well with contemporary, modern design. With the help of your architect, contractor, and window supplier, you can incorporate this window into your home.

2. Bow window

This design also extends beyond the exterior wall. Since bow windows have 4 to 6 windowpanes, they sweep away from the wall in a graceful curve. They sometimes call them “4 lite bow” or “5 lite bow.” When you put that many panes together, they form a lovely arch or rounded appearance that creates an elegant look for your home. Some say that it is perfect for the more ornate Victorian or Tudor-style architectural theme.

Notably, the bow window is larger than a bay window because it uses more glass. On top of that, it does not have any corners but creates a curve instead. Each of the window panels can be vented or fixed. They form a more semi-circular look outside and can be used to wrap around a building’s corner. Sometimes, you can use the panes to make a turret. Meanwhile, it creates a cozy corner from within. With this cool option, you can get views from two sides of your home when you go near the bow window.

In summary, both bay and bow windows work well if you want your room to look brighter and bigger. In addition, you can use both styles to add more seating and hidden storage below the window. Bay and bow windows consist of a shell of the projects outside of your home. Hence, it can transform your house inside and out.

The Price Difference Between Both Styles

Installing bow windows will cost more because they use more window panels and occupy more space. Industry experts say you can spend 2.5 times more on bow windows compared to a similar flat window with the same size as the opening.

On top of that, installing a bow window is more complicated than putting in a regular bay window. You will need a new hip roof or soffit tie-in to correctly seal the window. Since it comes with more materials, it also entails more work to put into place.

Similarly, bay windows will cost more than a single slider window because you also use three panels. However, they are cheaper to install than bow windows, but it requires meticulous work to put in both bow and bay windows. After all, you want to keep out air and water. If you do not pay attention to proper installation, your windows can get easily destroyed because of the moisture. Also, your energy bills will go haywire because of the cold draft or hot air leaks.

Notably, the custom-made hardwood shells of bow and bay windows are usually high-quality. When you work with the right supplier, you can expect this new investment to last for the long haul. Most of all, purchase energy star certified windows for more savings. Highly efficient windows with no leaking air will not decimate your utility bills. When you make this smart choice, your windows will bring more than just charm and beauty into your home. With this product on your property, you can expect the following:

  • Save money on heating and cooling bills.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Help save the planet with minimized consumption.
  • Increase the property value.

Things to Consider for Proper Installation

When choosing a bay or bow window for your property, the key to a good result is the right shell. It would help if you had a reputable installer because they must establish proper structural integrity. Otherwise, the entire window system will be compromised. For starters, the right housing must support the heavyweight of the windows. Your exterior walls must also accommodate the size of this more elaborate design.

Apart from that, you must prepare the correct insulation for your bow and bay windows project. After all, a big chunk of your window will be outside your home, making them more exposed to inclement weather. You can think of this as the slab flooring with no basement. That scenario will be cold during winter. Thus, proper preparation is necessary when installing bay and bow windows to ensure your investment lasts.

Furthermore, selecting the best materials assures you get value for money. There is vinyl, wood, composite, aluminum, and more. You want durable products that can withstand the test of time and harsh environmental elements like sun, snow, rain, and strong winds. Thus, it would be best if you took your time in choosing between the different types of shells that offer style, support, and protection. You can also select from various interior and exterior colors like:

  • White
  • Light oak
  • Beige
  • Cherry
  • Walnut
  • Brown
  • Cocoa
  • Clay
  • Hunter green
  • Redwood

Apart from that, you can take your pick from the different glass options and hardware details to suit your home. You can also dress your bow or bay windows with grilles and other embellishment options to complement the style of your property. Both window styles are flexible when it comes to each pane. You can combine the following styles to create a unique look:

  • Double-hung
  • Picture window
  • Casement
  • Awning

Remember, choosing a bay or bow window for your home is an affordable home enhancement that can increase your home’s property value. Use it as a replacement for large window openings or include it for a new home construction. Both window styles will improve your home’s exterior and interior, so they are truly a worthwhile investment. Plus, it helps that you can customize every detail of the window to suit your taste and preference. Make sure you have a reputable supplier that will offer high-quality materials and premium customer service.

Top Tips to Ensure You Get Stellar Bow and Bay Windows

When you have finally decided to install either bow or bay windows for your home, you need to make sure you get everything done right. There is no room for errors here. After all, you are paying a pretty penny to customize them to fit your home. You cannot change your mind and suddenly shift to a different color or material midway. To ensure you get what you want, take note of these helpful tips:

Work with Products that Are Made-to-Measure

Make sure the materials measure the spot where you want them installed. On top of that, if you want to put blinds or other window treatments, have them measure as well. Finally, if you want a touch of luxurious elegance, select Roman blinds, and separate them into segments for a seamless fit.

Seek Expert Advice

If you want bay or bow windows for your home, seek help from your interior designer and architect. Meet with the window installer as well to get further insight. This is the only way you can make a sound decision. With their expert assistance, you can get the best material that suits your home and personal preference. If you want to add window treatments, they can craft a customize curved headrail to ensure a perfect fit for blinds or curtains to your bow or bay windows.

Prioritize Natural Light

Bay and bow windows are specifically designed to let a lot of natural light flow inside your home. They give you stellar views that you cannot get from an ordinary window. Thus, take advantage of this by optimizing where you place them. Pay attention to how the sun rises and sets so you can allow gentle morning and later-afternoon sun to filter in.

Consider Placing Fully Lined Materials

Since these windows use more glass than standard windows, you want to make sure heat does not escape. If it is constantly chilly where you live, having fully lined curtains fitted to the windows will help with insulation and heat retention.

Think About Shutters to Make an Impact

Homes with stylish windows will look even more striking with shutters. You can play around with them and choose larger louvers that allow light to come in. Tier-on-tier shutters will work well, so both the top and bottom half will act independently of each other to give you more freedom whether you want to peek out or opt for more privacy.

If you are in search of stylish bay and bow windows, talk to our team of experts at North Shore Windows Inc. Peruse our gallery and call us for a free consultation. Moreover, our design pros can help you decide what window model to get based on your needs, preference, and budget. Finally, we can start your replacement window project or help you with a new custom build house anytime.

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