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Bay Windows: Everything You Need to Know

There are just so many things to like about bay windows and it’s easy to understand why this window style is so popular. Whether you’re looking for added character, additional space, or to allow more light to flow into a room, installing bay windows can do all of these things.

Bay windows have been around since the end of the 15th century. They were first introduced for style reasons and to add architectural detail and elegance. These first ornamental bay windows showed people added benefits of them, which is why they’re still popular today.

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In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about bay windows. Let’s begin with a description of what they actually are!

What are bay windows?

Instead of a flat window on a flat wall, bay windows project outwards. There are many styles of bay windows and some are bigger than others. Essentially, they all create more space in the interior as well as being attractive from the outside.

A typical bay window will have between three and five panels. The more panels a bay window has, the greater the panoramic views.

Bay windows come in all sorts of styles and materials from timber, and aluminium, to uPVC. They can be made for any property style.

Bay windows

Bay window styles

All bay windows are the same in the sense that they project outwards from a flat wall but there are several different bay window configurations that each offer a unique look to the outside of a home.

Box bay windows

Box bay windows are, as their name suggests, box-shaped. They have flat sides that protrude away from the property and a flat front. All sides have 90-degree angles.

Bow windows

Bow bay windows have a round appearance. They typically have more windows, which means more light enters the room. Rather than the typical three to five panes, bow windows will have between four and five.

Circle bay windows

A circle bay window is the roundest of bay windows. It is a semi-circle that comes out of the property wall and has lots of window panes.

Angled bay windows

The most frequently installed bay window style is the angled bay window, often with sash windows when added to more period properties. This type protrudes from the property at a 30 to a 45-degree angle.

Oriel windows

An oriel window is a bay window that is on the upstairs of a home rather than on ground level. These are usually supported by corbels or brackets.

Oriel windows are popular decorative glazing options for people who want to enjoy panoramic views from the higher rooms in their home.

What is the difference between a bay and bow window?

Bay and bow windows are very similar and people often struggle to differentiate between the two. A bow window is a window that projects outwards, the wall inside the room doesn’t change and so you don’t have an extra space. Conversely, bay windows do have that extra space and the wall is projected outwards as well as the window.

Advantages and disadvantages of bay windows installation

There are lots of benefits of bay windows and they’re not just a feature of traditional properties. There are many window designs and window styles so it is possible to find the perfect bay window style for your home.

Here are some benefits of having bay windows:

  • They add curb appeal
  • They add value
  • They can add character or charm
  • A bay window adds space
  • They let light into the room
  • They’re low maintenance
  • They’re durable
  • They come in a huge range of colours, designs and styles

As well as the positives, it is worth weighing up potential downsides too. Here are some considerations:

  • Bay window cost is usually more expensive that standard window styles
  • More natural light is great, but it also brings more heat in the summer months
  • With more panes of glass, you could see a rise in energy bills due to escaped heat
  • Getting curtains to fit is more expensive.

Bay window materials

There are lots of different materials for bay windows. The most common are uPVC bay windows. This is often because these are the cheapest to install. However, being white plastic, they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing. The benefit of a uPVC bay window is that all individual window units have security features like multipoint locking.

Instead of uPVC windows, some people choose a timber design. However, wood is more expensive.

For somewhere in between the two, you can get a uPVC bay window with a woodgrain effect. This will be more expensive than a white uPVC bay window but not as expensive as wood. As well as wood effect, you can also get coloured uPVC. A popular colour is anthracite grey.

Another choice for your new windows is aluminium. An aluminium bay window is the most energy-efficient of all window materials. What’s more, aluminium bay windows are resilient, strong, and modern.

Bay window insulation

Like all window designs, when considering replacing old windows for home improvement, you need to think about insulation and energy efficiency. If you’ve got old, traditional windows that aren’t very energy efficient, installing bay windows will likely keep much more of the warm air in and the cold air out. However, bay windows allow more heat to escape due to the fact that there is more glass.

When having a new bay window installation, it’s recommended to consider the following:

  • Double glazing. Instead of a single glass pane, double glazing will keep the heat in and the cold old. Usually, the two panes of glass are separated by gas (e.g., argon) that acts as an insulating layer.
  • Floor to ceiling curtains. Curtains are effective in keeping the heat in during the cold months. When you get bay windows installed, you will also need to think about getting curtains to fit.

Bay window design

As well as the style of window, e.g., a curved design like a bow window. A bay window can be designed to suit and be made to measure.

Bay windows can incorporate casement windows for easy ventilation (and for escape routes).

It’s a good idea to ask the company to create a few styles for you to look at. Even if you have a particular window style in mind, ask them to look at other styles so you can see all of your options.

Usually, you can get a free quote and design. To ensure competitive prices, ask a few window companies to do you a quotation. It’s also a good idea to choose a company that is a member of the GGF – the Glass and Glazing Federation – as this will ensure the windows are made to high standards.

Finally, lots of bay window designers will offer a price promise as well as financing options from a range of financial providers so you won’t always need the cash upfront.

Final thoughts on bay window installation

Bay windows look great on both traditional homes and contemporary homes. There are so many options available that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Whether you want to replace an original bay window or bow window, or create a bay window where there hasn’t been one before, you can do this.

A bay window will add space to the room compared to a traditional flat window. You’ll also have more light and better views.

Bay windows come in all sorts of materials, styles and designs so it’s worth getting a quote to see what’s available to you.

Bay window FAQs

How much is a bay window?

The cost will depend on a variety of factors, including the number of units, the material of the frame, the configuration, and the finish options. The cheapest material is uPVC and the most expensive is timber. The larger the window, the more you’ll pay.

Are bay windows energy efficient?

If you already have a bay window in your property, a new one will likely be much more energy-efficient, given that it’s more modern. However, if you are creating a new window from an existing flat window, you could lose some energy efficiency just because there is more glass and open space. However, provided you go for good construction and double glazing, you will likely not notice any difference in energy bills.

How personalized can a bay window be?

There is a huge range of options available and you can choose the material, the configuration, the color, and the hardware (e.g., the handles and locks).

Compare Window Costs Online

You can save up to 65% OFF new windows and doors by using our online cost calculator.

FENSA approved installers
It only takes one minute
Receive as many as 4 quotes
Save time and money
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