Learn the Difference Between Bow Windows & Bay Windows

bay window or bow window New Jersey, New York

The decision to modernize a home in New Jersey or New York metropolitan neighborhoods includes selecting replacement window styles, among other important factors. There are many styles in the Renewal by Andersen portfolio, including casement windows, picture windows, sliders and awning replacement windows, and of course, bow and bay windows.

For people who want a unique feature that adds beauty and value, bay window and bow window configurations are well worth considering. While both styles will enhance energy efficiency, especially if you’re replacing old windows that leak air and moisture, there are a few differences in these two styles that extend beyond the flat exterior surface of a home.

Here is a brief rundown of the similarities and differences between traditional bays, boxed bays, and bow replacement windows.

Seven Comparisons of Bay & Bow Replacement Windows.

  1. A traditional bay window features clear, crisp angles. The most popular configuration contains three sections: a large center panel, joined by narrower windows of the same size on either side, installed at an angle.
  2. A boxed bay window is more like a rectangle. The center section and side window units are joined at a sharper angle, typically a 90 degree angle, creating a boxy appearance, although not usually a true cube where all sides are the same width.
  3. A bow window usually features four or more panels joined together to create a gentle curve. Where bay windows work equally well in modern and vintage styled homes, a bow provides a more elegant, rounded appearance that doesn’t complement every architectural style.
  4. Both window types bring in more natural light than a traditional window style that fits flush with the building envelope and bow windows tend to provide a bit more light than bays.
  5. Bow windows are a better fit in areas where an extended window may interfere with sidewalk traffic or surrounding landscape near the home. The narrower profile usually extends no more than a foot beyond the exterior wall, and can be installed when space is limited to four to six inches, depending on the width of the overall window.
  6. While expert craftsmanship and design mean that bow windows can be built with operable windows – and a gently curved bow created with a series of casement windows creates a stunning display when open – many people prefer fixed windows. For one thing, hardware and hinges may detract from the smooth curves that define this replacement window style.
  7. Bay windows on the other hand, look beautiful with any combination of square and rectangular window styles mulled together for an expansive view with ventilation opportunities. Double-hung and casement windows are favorites among homeowners who choose to add a bay to expand indoor seating areas and increase natural light flow.

Bow and bay replacement windows work well in almost every room in a home from the kitchen to the bathroom and the den to the bedroom.

Some people say that dressing a bow window is harder, and they prefer bow windows for private settings, such as the bathroom and bedroom. Fortunately, there are dozens of window treatment options on the market today, including custom-made drapes, blinds and shutters, and off the shelf curved rods to make hanging curtains easier than ever before.

Which Will You Choose for Your New Jersey or New York Metro Home: Renewal by Andersen Bay or Bow Replacement Windows?

If you have questions about styles, glass solutions and accessories for bay or bow replacement windows, we have answers. Fill in the short form on this page or dial 1-888-826-2451 to schedule a private, in-home consultation today.


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