Mix of motherhood, writing, photography and homemaking

The Pros and Cons of a Picture Window

May 6, 2013

Many homeowners fail to recognize the importance of windows when they are building their house. Yes, they make sure that each room of the house has natural light coming in through the windows. However, they don’t really give due consideration to the style of the windows. For them, everything’s fine as long as there are windows all around the house.

The fact is there are a wide variety of options when it comes to choosing windows for your home. Some of the factors worth considering are price, aesthetics, surrounding architecture, surrounding landscape, and most importantly, the weather conditions in your area.

Price plays an important role because obviously, it would affect the size of the window. Bay windows cost more than traditional single-hung windows. Nevertheless, these are aesthetically pleasing. If you live right smack in the city like New York for instance, it’s pointless to choose windows that give you an unobstructed view of your surroundings. Why is that? Well, chances are all you’re going to see are building, high-rises, and rooftops.

Of course, if you live somewhere far from the hustle and bustle of the city, then picture windows would be a good idea for your home. A picture window is typically large and is usually fixed. Unlike conventional windows, this one doesn’t have glazing bars. If it does, the glazing bars are placed along the edges of the window. Effectively, a picture window looks like a large transparent wall. It is aptly named since its purpose is to provide you with a clear, unobstructed view of the area surrounding your home. In effect, a picture window is like a picture frame for the view outside your house. Most homeowners install picture windows in their homes to highlight a particular view outside like their landscaped garden. For houses near the beach, a picture window offers a perfect view of the clear waters and shoreline.

Aside from its aesthetic benefits, a picture window illuminates your home with natural light from the sun (or the moon, for that matter). One thing you need to know about picture windows, though, is that these are mostly inoperable. That means you cannot leave the windows open.

If you plan to install a picture window in your home, choose the type that is energy efficient. There are models of picture windows that have high solar gain glazing, which is perfect for areas where the climate is generally cold, and there are models with low solar gain glazing that is just right for warmer climates.

The only downside to having a picture window in your home is the lack of privacy. Even if it offers a picturesque view of the outside and brings in the maximum amount of light into your home, you would still want to preserve your sense of privacy. Fortunately, this is something that blinds can remedy. You can mount vertical blinds outside the window frame that you can shut when you need privacy or draw back when you want natural light to seep in. You can even place a valance in a color that complements the theme of the room.

picture windows are great for reading nooks too
  1. Picture windows are perhaps the most energy-efficient type of window. Because they do not open, there are no joints, cracks, or fittings that can admit outside air. A double-pane or triple-pane picture window with Low-E glass provide excellent insulating properties in both summer and winter. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to choose a picture window with high solar gain glazing. Conversely, low solar gain glazing is preferable in warmer climates. For the frame, vinyl or wood provides the best insulation.

  2. Picture windows are a great way to let nature and light into your home. The house I lived in previously had a large one and it was really nice. Great post.

  3. Having a picture window especially when you have a picturesque view is like having an oversized HD TV! What can be cooler than turning your view into a living painting!

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