A window performs many functions. It brings light into a room, aids in heating, cooling and ventilating the room. It can be an architectural focal point as well as a means of emergency escape. These functions are found to differing degrees in all 12 types of windows on the market today.
Fixed Frame - These are windows which cannot be opened or vented. Typically, they are available in many shapes and sizes, and are more affordable to purchase.
Casement - Casement windows open with cranks or levers that open them like doors. Older casements swing on hinges while newer ones have pivot mechanisms. Most swing outward, but models that swing inward are available. Casements provide excellent ventilation because both halves of the window open. Because they seal tightly when closed, they are considered energy efficient. Another advantage of casements is they are easier to clean than most other windows because both inside and outside surfaces are accessible from indoors.
Double Hung - This design is more traditional than the casement window. They open by sliding the bottom half of the window up, or sliding the top half down. Because only half of the window area can be open at one time, they provide less ventilation than casement style windows. An advantage of double-hung windows is they can be used to create air movement in the home by opening the top portion of the windows on one side of the house and opening the lower portion of the windows on the coolest side of the house. Air will naturally rise out of the higher opening, pulling cooler air in the lower opening.
Single Hung - Single-hung windows are similar in operation to double-hung windows, with the exception that only the bottom sash opens.
Hopper - These windows are hinged at the bottom and open inward.
Bay - This design is three different windows joined together to form one viewing area. The center window is commonly a fixed frame while the side windows can be either double hung or casement style.
Bow - This is similar to the Bay window. However, it consists of four or more casement windows joined together to form a curve. The windows can be fixed frame or vented windows.
Sliding - These windows slide horizontally to create ventilation to the full height of the window. They have one stationary side, and the other side slides to either the right or the left. The sliding window is on rollers and can be removed for cleaning.
Awning - These windows are very similar in design to casement windows, however, awning windows are typically wider than they are tall. Awning windows are commonly used for ventilation and are placed above or below a window or door. Awning windows provide more light than casement windows and are common to homes already fitted with traditional, double hung windows.
Garden - These windows are great for letting sunshine into a room. They extend out from the exterior wall of your home. They have a bottom seat and shelf designed to hold a planter or pots of flowers. Usually, casement windows are used for the sides of the garden window.
Rotating - These windows open by pivoting around a central point. They allow great ventilation when the window is open, with almost the entire window area unobstructed. They are easy to clean because either side can face in.
Jalousie - Glass louvers overlap one another to form this type of window. A crank or turn-screw tilts the louvers open for air flow. A wall of jalousie windows can be opened to let breezes flow, making the indoors feel like outside. This advantage, however, is also their greatest disadvantage -- they allow ventilation so well they are almost impossible to seal. When closed, each glass louver rests against the one below it, rarely if ever making an air-tight seal, and the hinges along the sides are almost impossible to seal without covering the entire window. They are not energy efficient and may be a security risk. Many building codes no longer allow jalousie windows.
There is definitely a window to match any design idea you may have. Talk with a designer or local window distributor to see which ones are best for you.