Picture windows are inoperable--they have no moving parts. So when someone uses the expression, "out the window," he or she is not referring to a picture window! Picture windows are an inexpensive way to let a lot of light into a room and open it up to a pretty view. Picture windows are often hung in combination with others that can be opened for ventilation. A classic look involves a central picture window and double-hung frames on each side. Coordinated window treatments enhance the effect and provide privacy when desired.
What do picture windows cost?
Unlike operational windows, which have moving parts, picture windows are not prone to wear, and they are cheaper considering the area they cover. However, picture windows range widely in price from economy manufacturers like Harvey to those built by higher-end companies like Andersen or Pella.
Given that the cost of replacing ten windows for a typical home runs between $7,000 and $20,000, expect to pay $700 to $2,000 to replace a good-sized pane. What you spend also depends on whether you plan to add decorative elements or special glass. Experts do say that you should not scrimp on your picture window's installation, because you could end up with glass that fogs; nor should you forgo extra panes or high-efficiency glazing if you live in extreme climes. You can, however, cut costs by replacing extensive combinations of casement or sliding windows with large picture windows flanked by smaller ventilating units.
Most popular picture window elements
You'll want your window's interior hardware to coordinate with your decor, whether bright or antiqued metal, or surfaces treated to mimic painted wood, stone, even canvas. You can choose different interior and exterior frames to blend in or contrast with the surrounding walls. Popular exterior colors include most earth tones; homeowners may duplicate that inside or opt for natural-looking stained woods. Other decorative elements include grilles, which break up the expanse of glass and impart the look of a farmhouse, colonial home, or prairie bungalow--not all homes with large picture windows are modern!
The beauty of energy efficiency
One advantage delivered by picture windows is energy efficiency. Because they do not open and have no moving parts, there is less opportunity for heat, cold, and dirt to sneak in. High-quality frames surrounding the glass add insulation. Good quality replacement windows feature fusion-welded corners. Low-e glass adds to the window's efficiency--coating a glass surface with a low-emissivity material and placing that coating between the panes blocks radiant heat transfer, thus lowering the total heat flow through the window. This helps keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulated edge spacers can also increase efficiency and decrease condensation from forming on the edge of the glass. Multiple window panes increase energy efficiency of a window by resisting heat flow.
Picture windows can add beauty and efficiency to your home, but glass, hardware, frame, color, combinations and style selection can often be intimidating. Now that you have an idea of what elements you may have to choose, get professional help! Use the form on this page to get additional information including price quotes and guidance from reputable designers and window contractors.