Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Window Replacements

Bay Windows vs Bow Windows: A Comparison

June 19th, 2013 | 4 min. read

Bay Windows vs Bow Windows: A Comparison

Print/Save as PDF

There are a number of window styles to choose from when it comes to replacing the windows in your home.

If you’re like a lot of other homeowners we meet with, you might not know about all of your options for window styles. To help you make a decision you’re really pleased with, we put together an article series on comparing different window styles. Thus far, we’ve covered Double Hung vs Gliding Windows, Awning vs Casement Windows, and Picture, Specialty, and Transom Windows. Today, we’ll finish the series by discussing the benefits and disadvantages of arched windows:  Bay Windows vs Bow Windows. 

Bay Windows: Pros and Cons

Southwest Exteriors San Antonio TX Bay WindowsBay Windows are comprised of 3 windows in an angled arch shape, with the center window generally much larger than the other two. All three can be fixed windows, or sometimes the two side windows are casements or double hung. This type of window style will make the room seem more spacious, adding a window seat and much more sunlight in that area, without requiring added square footage of floor space. They are a beautiful addition to sunrooms and living rooms, especially for anyone who enjoys reading a good book from their window seat.

Each specific type of window that makes up the bay window would come with its advantages and disadvantages. For example, the picture windows would be energy efficient and provide an unobstructed view of the outdoors, but they do not offer any ventilation, and they cannot be the only windows in the room for egress code compliance. The casement windows would provide great ventilation along with an unobstructed view, but if they are too large, the hinges can become slightly twisted out of shape with weight and wind resistance. Double hung windows would also be good for ventilation, but the check rail in the center of the window breaks up the view of the outdoors. The other downside to bay windows is simply the higher cost of a unit that has three window sections in it.


Bow Windows: Pros and Cons

Southwest Exteriors San Antonio TX Bow WindowsBow Windows are comprised of 4 to 6 windows in a gentle arch shape, where all the windows are the same size. Typically we see all of the windows as fixed windows, but they can also be a series of casements, double hung, or a combination. Like the bay windows, they add the feeling of extra space with a window seat and plenty of natural sunlight brightening the room.


Functionally, they are essentially the same as bay windows with the same benefits and disadvantages related to ventilation, view, egress code compliance, hardware, and cost. If you are trying to choose between bay and bow windows for your home, many times the shape of the window hole will dictate which style fits best in that space. It also depends on your preference as far as the aesthetics of each window is concerned. Whatever you choose, they will always create a great accent for the room they are in.


This wraps up our series on comparing different window styles for your home. Our earlier articles discussed Double Hung vs Gliding Windows, Casement vs Awning Windows, and Fixed Windows, so you can check them out for valuable information on each style.  If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us directly.