When building a home, windows are an important consideration. South Florida’s unpredictable climate demands particular attention to window selection. In fact, building code requires all new construction to have impact windows installed when building within one mile of the coast.
All windows let in light and most provide ventilation, but when selecting windows, homeowners have many different types of windows to select. Some windows are easier to open, others offer ideal airflow, still, others are ideal for taking in picturesque views. Different windows also have different looks to match different architectural styles or decor. Here are a few different types of windows and what makes them different.
Types of Home Windows
1. Slider windows:
Also known as horizontal roller windows, these windows are one of the more simple types. Due to their simplicity, they are often the least expensive type of window. Sliders glide sideways along a track and have no mechanical parts other than a lock and very basic seals.
For these reasons, they in many ways are the ideal choice for impact windows. They offer clear views and ample ventilation and are often used for utility windows in contemporary or modern-style homes. They are extremely popular with homeowners because they can easily be removed and cleaned.
2. Casement windows:
A crank or handle hinged on either the left or the right opens these windows outward, either horizontally or vertically. Casement windows come in several different sizes and are made of a single pane of glass to accommodate unbroken views. They can offer a tighter seal than many slider windows and are an ideal choice for South Florida’s hot climate.
Casement windows were the standard window offered in traditional homes, but have made a comeback in recent years. Fixed casement windows offer the same look, but do not open. Fixed casement windows often are used to mirror the style of other windows in a room.
3. Double-hung windows:
These windows can open wide from either the top or bottom, but they remain inside the frame without protruding in or out. Double-hung windows are the most common style of windows available today for two simple reasons: they offer better ventilation than single-hung windows and are easier to clean. However, they are more prone to leaking than single-hung windows because the sash only opens one way.
Similar to a double-hung window, a single hung window is a tall aluminum window with two separate frames; however, unlike double-hung windows, only the bottom window opens. Single-hung and double-hung windows are the most common window types. They are a popular impact window choice in South Florida because their aluminum frames won’t warp in Florida’s tropical climate. They have a classic decorative look and fit in well with most decor styles.
Single-hung windows are a popular choice in home renovations because they tend to be more affordable. However, they usually offer less open area than casement or slider windows and can be more prone to air leakage.
5. Awning windows:
Hinged at the top, awning windows open outward to let in air from the right or left and bottom. Also known as projected windows, they are operated by a crank. They are best used on walls with a greater width than height. For this reason, awning windows are often placed higher up on a wall or paired with large stationary windows or above doors to provide ventilation.
Because they open outward, awning windows are not recommended near walkways and other traffic areas. They are very useful in restrooms and kitchens, which often require more ventilation and privacy.
6. Transom window:
This narrow window can be either operating or stationary and is often mounted above a window or door to let in more light. They are traditionally fan-shaped and often strictly decorative. However, in modern architecture, ventilating transoms are often rectangular and used in spa-like bathrooms.
7. Jalousie window:
This is a distinctly American style window that consists of thin strips of glass, acrylic or plastic that open and close like a Venetian blind, normally by using a crank. They are well-suited for milder climates and thus became popular in Florida during the mid-century. However, Jalousie windows are not ideal for hurricane conditions.
8. Palladian window:
Famed Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio is credited for this style of window. This distinctive window design usually features one large panel, flanked by two smaller side panels and embellished by an arched top. Palladian windows are commonly seen in Renaissance architecture and other classical building styles.
9. Picture window:
Also known as stationary or fixed windows, picture windows are best in areas where ventilation is not needed because they do not open. Fixed windows are ideal in the center of large walls because they provide ample lighting and broad views. Picture windows are less prone to air leakage because they do not open, but are often less energy efficient due to their size.
Our fixed storm windows are hurricane resistant and the most energy-efficient in the business. In South Florida, we commonly see fixed windows in garages, basements, and small rooms.
10. External glass walls:
These modern-style windows let in maximum light and are made entirely of glass. They are seen in many South Florida office buildings, airport gate areas, and libraries. Window walls are used in large residences to offer sweeping views.
11. Bay window:
These windows are favored by architects to create angles in a room. Bay windows became popular in castles during the English Renaissance and now are often used in kitchens or family rooms, where the sill can be used as a window seat or shelf. Most bay windows offer airflow by way of the side windows that can open. They are a common choice in traditional building styles.
12. Skylight or Roof window:
A skylight is defined as a fixed window installed in a roofline, while a roof window can be opened and closed to provide ventilation. They are often used to bring light into attics, upstairs spaces or high ceilings in rooms with limited wall space. These windows tend to have a shorter lifespan than other windows due to the heavy beating they take from the sun and rain.
Whatever your design preference, consider impact windows
While it can seem confusing to keep all the window types and names straight, whichever style you choose, it’s imperative for South Florida homeowners to consider hurricane-tested high-impact windows. Even if not demanded by the building code, Florida is subjected to some of the most severe weather in the country. Impact-resistant windows and doors, known simply as impact windows, protect from wind, rain, intruders and environmental impacts.
At Ocean Impact, our impact doors are missile-tested against hurricane winds and debris and can be customized to your aesthetic preferences. Our high-impact hurricane windows meet South Florida’s challenging high-velocity requirements, save energy and offer a clean look on the home interior and exterior. Impact windows require particular expertise in installation, so contact us today for a consultation.