Bay windows are a type of window that protrudes from the exterior wall of a home. They are usually composed of three individual window panes — two smaller ones flanking a larger one in the middle.
Bay windows are an attractive addition to any home as they provide extra natural light and can create the illusion of more space. Additionally, bay windows can be used as a functional element, providing a built-in seating area or storage space.
In this article from Simpson Windows and Doors, we will explore bay windows in more detail, including their history, benefits, and some design considerations.
What Are Bay Windows?
Bay windows have their origins in the English Renaissance period, where they were a popular addition to the mansions of the time. Also, bay windows became very popular during the Victorian era as a way to add light and ventilation to otherwise dark and stuffy homes.
The Victorians were also known for their love of ornate architecture, and bay windows provided an opportunity to show off their craftsmanship with intricate moldings and trims. Today, bay windows are still a popular choice for homeowners looking to add charm and character to their homes.
Often, bay windows and bow windows get confused for each other. They are similar, but their differences become apparent once you realize how they’re constructed and set up:
- Bow windows: Bow windows are usually composed of four or more individual window panes — all being the same size, fitted in perfect unison, giving them a gentle curve. They are often used in formal settings and can create a graceful, elegant look.
- Bay windows: Bay windows are boxier in shape, with the panes being varied in size and constructed at sharper angles. They are a more versatile option that can be used in a variety of different settings.
What Makes Bay Windows Unique?
One of the factors that makes bay windows unique is their angled shape. As mentioned, this allows for more natural light to enter the room and creates the illusion of more space. Of course, bay windows provide a great opportunity to add some extra storage space or create a built-in seating area.
Another factor that makes bay windows unique is the fact that they protrude from the exterior wall of the home. This gives them a more dramatic look and can really make a statement in relation to the overall look of your home.
Additionally, the setup of bay windows allows for more ventilation, as the windows can be opened to allow the circulation of fresh air. Also, bay windows are often capped with a decorative cornice or pediment. This adds an extra element of beauty and can really help to dress up the exterior of the home.
What Is the Best Material for Bay Windows?
There are a variety of different materials that can be used for bay windows, including wood, vinyl, aluminum, and steel.
- Wood: Wood is a traditional material that has been used for centuries. It is a durable material that can be stained or painted to match the exterior of your home. However, it does require more maintenance than other materials, as it needs to be regularly sealed and caulked to prevent water damage. If you opt for wooden bay windows, the price could range from $2,000 to around $4,000, depending on your choice of wood.
- Vinyl: Vinyl is a low-maintenance option that is becoming increasingly popular. It is weather-resistant and does not require painting or staining. Additionally, it is a relatively inexpensive option. Vinyl options for bay windows range from $1,000 to $3,000.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is another low-maintenance option. It is also a lightweight material, making it easier to install. However, it is important to note that aluminum windows can be susceptible to corrosion. Aluminum options can be priced around $1,000 to $2,000.
- Steel: Steel is a more expensive option, but it is also the most durable. It is resistant to weathering and will not corrode. Steel bay windows will run you anywhere from $2,000 to around $7,000.
When choosing the best material for your bay windows, it is important to consider the climate in which you live as well as your personal preferences!
Some Practical Considerations for Bay Windows
There are a few practical considerations that you should keep in mind when planning to install bay windows.
First, you will need to make sure that the area in which you want to install the window is structurally sound. This means that the existing framing and foundation will need to be able to support the additional weight of the window. Additionally, you will need to take measurements to ensure that your new window will fit properly.
Another practical consideration is the fact that bay windows protrude from the exterior of your home. This can make them more susceptible to damage from severe weather, such as high winds and hail. As such, you will need to make sure that your insurance policy covers bay windows.
Finally, you will need to decide how you want to finish the interior of your new window. This includes deciding on trim, molding, and drapery. Often, homeowners choose to install plantation shutters or blinds in order to control the amount of light that enters the room.
Installing bay windows can be a big project. However, it is important to carefully consider all of your options before making a decision. Bay windows can be a fantastic addition to your home and can provide you with a number of benefits.
How Do You Update an Old Bay Window?
If you have an older home, chances are that it has at least one bay window. While these windows can add charm and character to your home, they can also be a bit of a hassle. Older bay windows often leak air and let in drafts, making it difficult to keep your home comfortable.
There are a few things that you can do to update an old bay window and make it more energy-efficient.
One option is to add weatherstripping around the perimeter of the window. This will help to seal any gaps and prevent air from leaking in or out. Another option is to add a storm window. Storm windows are designed to fit over your existing windows and help to insulate your home.
You can also replace your old bay window with a new one. This is usually the most expensive option, but it will provide you with the most energy savings in the long run.
Updating an old bay window can be a bit of a challenge, but it is definitely worth the effort!
Can You Turn a Regular Window Into a Bay Window?
While you can certainly replace a regular window with a bay window, it is not always possible to turn a regular window into a bay window. This is because bay windows require special framing and support in order to be installed.
If you are interested in adding a bay window to your home, the best course of action is to consult with a professional. They will be able to assess your situation and give you the best advice on how to proceed.
Adding a bay window to your home can be a great way to increase its value and curb appeal. However, it is important to make sure that you do it right!
Looking To Install or Replace Your Bay Windows? Simpson Windows and Doors Can Help
If you are interested in installing or replacing your bay windows, we have your back.
We are the leading provider of roofing and window services in Ontario and the GTA, with over 25 years of serving our communities. Our team of experienced and certified professionals can help you choose the best course of action when it comes to windows for your home.
Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!