Bay Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages

Written by AnonymousMarch 3, 2011

Examining Bay Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages

Bay windows project outward from the side of the house. They are made up of a central window and two side windows. The central window is usually fixed, and parallel to the existing wall. The side windows are set at a 30°, 45°, 60°, or 90° angle. They’re often casements or double-hung styles and are either stationary or operating. Bay windows have a deep sill area that’s commonly used as a display for plants. Whether you choose to install a bay window in your master bedroom, kitchen, or living room, there are several advantages and disadvantages to consider.


The advantages of bay windows are:

  • Add value to the home. Bay windows are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal. From the outside, the shimmering glass gives the home a clean, modern look. On the inside, the style looks elegant and creates a feeling of additional space. Aesthetic appeal and increased square footage add to the resale value of your home. 
  • Allow natural light to enter. Bay windows have panoramic views, so they allow more natural light to enter from multiple directions.
  • Good ventilation. Because bay windows offer the option of having two operating windows, the homeowner and guests can enjoy a nice breeze from two directions instead of just one.
  • Versatility. Bay windows can be found in any room in Victorian homes, but they’re also a popular enhancement for modern homes. They can be installed anywhere, but bay windows are popular in the kitchens and living rooms of modern homes. The area around the window allows for a reading nook or banquette style seating.

Bow windows and bay windows are often confused, based on the names. Although bow and bay windows have the same effect, they are a bit different in construction. Bay windows have three parts, while bow windows have four or more window units joined together to form an arc.


The disadvantages of bay windows are: 

  • Difficult to add a window treatment. The tight angles and unique configurations of bay windows make it difficult to place and install hardware. You will have to hire a professional to avoid damaging the frame or compromising the style.
  • Allow natural light to enter. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Bay windows allow lots of light to enter, so it is important to purchase windows with high ratings against solar heat gain.
  • Low-budget options are risky. A poorly constructed bay window will have structural problems. When the foundation of the home settles, structural problems can cause the window to creak and leak. If the window isn’t properly supported, it can sag. If this happens, you will have to buy a replacement window, which can cost several hundred dollars or more, depending on the size of the window.  


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