Last week, we reviewed the many benefits of adding a bay window to your living space. If this home improvement investment appeals to you, read on for some advice on planning the perfect bay window for your space.

Adding a Bay Window: Energy Basics

Energy efficiency is a particularly important consideration for bay windows. Because they are so large, poorly installed or insulated bay windows have the potential to significantly tax your energy bills.

When selecting the windows for your bay, look for double-paned styles to ensure that a layer of insulation stands between your living space and the elements. If you live in a geographical area that experiences temperature extremes, consider going one step further and choosing glass that features a gas fill–available in non-reactive, non-toxic argon or krypton–to protect your home’s energy efficiency by further slowing the rate of heat transfer.

Low-emissivity, or “low-e” coatings, like gas fills, are another option for slowing heat transfer. As the US Department of Energy explains, “A low-e coating is a microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide layer deposited directly on the surface of one or more of the panes of glass… Windows manufactured with low-e coatings typically cost about 10% to 15% more than regular windows, but they reduce energy loss by as much as 30% to 50%.” And a bonus: low-e coatings also help protect furniture from fading, so your investment pays off in more ways than one.

Adding a Bay Window: Style Considerations

All bay windows feature the same three basic elements: a picture window flanked by two side panes. But there are some variations that will suite different aesthetic and functional purposes. The angled bay window style is the most common, and gets its name from the way the bay window slants back toward the home. This style is most appropriate for those incorporating a bay window to accentuate and add to the interior livable space. It fits best with more traditional architecture.

Homeowners can also choose the box bay window style, also referred to as a greenhouse bay window. This style utilizes 90-degree right angles all around, so it protrudes in a “boxy” fashion. This option certainly affords homeowners the opportunity to utilize more livable space, but it’s also particularly useful for building in a bench for sitting and storage. When utilized in the kitchen, a small box bay presents an opportunity to give houseplants and herb gardens the light they need to thrive.

Adding a Bay Window: Materials

When it comes to selecting the right materials for your bay window, consider the look you’re hoping to achieve, the weather patterns of your area, and how much upkeep you’re willing to do as time passes.

Wood windows are a popular choice because of their classic look, but they demand the most upkeep to avoid rot and keep their paint looking fresh. If you live in an area that experiences temperature extremes and a fair amount of humidity, this might be a more labor-intensive option–a complaint of many of our Middletown and Newark, DE window customers. Vinyl, on the other hand, presents a low-maintenance opportunity for homeowners to add a bay window at a reasonable cost, but it can look out of place in older homes that feature natural materials. One option that many homeowners find attractive is vinyl-clad wood: low-maintenance vinyl on the exterior resists the elements, while the interior wood finish lends the look many homeowners desire.

We hope this overview of bay window options is helpful. We’re here to discuss any questions you might have, and guide you through the process step by step!