Picture Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages

Written by AnonymousApril 4, 2011

Examining Picture Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages

Picture windows are fixed windows, which means they can’t be opened or closed. These large expanses of glass have one use — to frame a beautiful view. Picture windows are often found in homes with high or vaulted ceilings and they’re often installed as an arched window over vaulted areas, doors, and other windows.

Although they are not the most popular choice, some manufacturers make combination picture windows that allow both light and air in. Common combination styles include casement and picture, double-hung and picture, and gliding and picture.


The advantages of picture windows are:

  • Costs. Picture windows are fixed, so there are no mechanical parts to break. This eliminates the costs associated with purchasing replacement parts. The lack of mechanical activity also means the windows cost less than other similarly sized windows with moving parts.
  • Heat gain. During the winter months, the heat from the sun helps warm the room. Using a natural source of heat reduces heating costs. 
  • Natural light. Picture windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but even small picture windows allow lots of natural light in.


The disadvantages of picture windows are:

  • Heat gain. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on they way the windows are manufactured. If they don’t contain coatings to reduce solar heat gain, the room may feel hot and stuffy. An air conditioner can solve the problem, but more energy will be needed to cool the room, especially in hot climates.
  • No ventilation. Operable picture windows are an option, but most homes have inoperable ones. Because they don't open and close, picture windows don't offer any natural ventilation.


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