Hopper windows are hinged at the bottom and tilt open from the top into the room, blocking wind and precipitation from getting in. They look like small picture windows and usually include screens. Sometimes placed above regular windows, hopper windows are available in a range of sizes, but customers most often opt for hopper windows when looking to provide light and ventilation to a small moisture-prone area like a bathroom or basement. Small spaces like walk-in closets or utility rooms can also benefit from a hopper window's compact size and ventilation capability.
If you are considering hopper windows for your basement, you will want to keep in mind that low windows can present a security concern. Shop for durable glass matched with heavy-duty latches.
Popular brands and costs
Shops like Home Depot, Lowes and Sears Roebuck have vinyl windows in popular brands like Pella and American Craftsman by Andersen for a little less than $100. These economy windows come without screens or grilles but do have low-e glass and are warrantied. According to the Lowes in Athens, Ga. wood windows cost from 20 percent more than vinyl, and clad wood costs another 5 percent more than vinyl.
Materials, colors and stains
Low cost and maintenance-free, vinyl makes up half of the replacement window market according to Consumer Reports. An inexpensive vinyl window is usually white both inside and out, although many mid-range manufacturers offer beige as well. Higher-end brands include vinyl, fiberglass, wood and wood clad options, along with many exterior and interior finishes.
Offering the best of aesthetics and practicality, a clad wood window has a natural wood grain on the interior and a durable low-maintenance exterior of either vinyl or aluminium. Pine and fir are popular choices for the interior, and standard options for the exterior include bronze, white, green, gray and brown. Manufacturers also offer additional specialty finishes and colors, as well as the option to customize.
All hopper windows tend to be energy efficient due to a special latch system that creates a compression seal, but you will want to consider the full window. Consumer Reports, for example, found that wood clad and fiberglass windows perform best at preventing cold air and rain from getting inside. The glass you choose will also impact your window's efficiency.
You will find U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient [SHGC] energy efficiency test results on just about all windows. The U-Factor measures airflow through a window, while the SHGC evaluates the radiant heat a window allows in. Lower numbers represent better performance and can provide some assurance of a window's efficiency. The Efficient Windows Collective, however, recommends that customers consider all the parts of a window's construction, relying on the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label on the window for energy-efficiency information. The NFRC evaluates and assigns ratings to the entire window's energy properties.
Where to buy
You can get started shopping immediately by filling out the form on this page for more information. Manufacturers' websites also provide names and locations of dealers and contractors in your area who supply and install the windows of your choice.