Aside from entry door installation and siding replacement, a solid window job goes miles. When choosing new windows, however, a lot of homeowners are confused by the differences between bay and bow windows. Before you start your window replacement job, check out the following similarities and differences below. While similar, bay and bow windows carry a slew of differences. Both are beautiful, and both are elegant. Both, when installed correctly, impact a home.

Bay Windows: What You Need to Know

A lot of window companies promote bay windows as living room additions. Bay windows comprise of at least three windows—each extended beyond an exterior wall’s angle. Often, master installers place bay windows in four projection angles. Together, these angles make a 90-degree angle in a “box bay.” Because each window protrudes beyond the room’s wall, homeowners can enjoy extended views without forgoing seating space.

Bow Windows: What You Need to Know

Bow windows are similar to bay windows, but they sweep away from a host wall in four, five or six windows. Together, these windows form an arch. Bow windows, like bay windows, still extend beyond the main wall. Often perceived as an elegant window style, bow windows are typically wider, larger and taller than bay windows. They require more glass due to the softened curve, lack of corners and general spatial requirements. Bow windows, too, frequently feature a window seat. Typically, the seat is larger—which grants homeowners the ability to utilize the area for storage.

Bay or Bow: A Comparison

While both bay and bow windows promote comfort, beauty and sitting space, homeowners should consider several things before settling on an option. Both carry advantages and disadvantages, and your household project deserves a sharp eye.

Energy Efficiency

Bay windows, due to their generally smaller design, are made of less glass. Because of this, they provide better home insulation. If your household has energy problems, or if you don’t want to lose cash on heightened utility bills, go with bay windows. While some bow windows are crafted with energy-efficient materials, bay windows will almost always retain air conditioning better.

Spatial Requirements

Size matters, and you shouldn’t install bow windows if your room’s dimensions can’t meet the demands. That said, bay windows in a large room can look awkward. Discuss options with your provider, and ask for their input.


Typically, bow windows comprised of four to six windows offer a gentle arch shape. In most cases, this gentle angle is more durable than the sharp turns of bay windows. That said, bow windows suffer from hinge stress. The more area a window covers, the more durability loss it’ll suffer. Functionally, bow windows operate the same as bay windows. They do, however, tend to break more often.


Bay and bow windows share the same advantages and disadvantages in terms of view, ventilation, egress code compliance, cost and hardware. While both may be different at the base level, you’ll have a lot of “wiggle room” in terms of balancing pros and cons. Get ready with your home’s dimensions, get set with your power and durability needs and contact your provider today to ensure a quality installation.

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