Which One is Better: Bow Window or Bay Window?

Posted by improveranking on January 11th, 2020

Projected outward, a bow window or a bay window completely transform a living space. They make for a modern, yet classic addition to your aesthetics. At first glance, both bow windows and bay windows may look identical. However, there are many differences that exist between the two in terms of their appearance, cost, efficiency, installations, and others. This article looks at the pros and cons of both the windows to help you choose between bay or bow window replacement.


A bay window usually has three openings available in angled projections. Extending farther out, a bay window creates additional space near the window sill, and is suitable for most types of structures. The extended structure makes it difficult to install them when space limitations exist. Comparatively, bow windows are narrower and fit well next to sidewalks and other buildings. Their modern design is believed to be more appropriate for Victorian-style, classic houses.

Light and View

Both the windows allow for a good amount of light to enter, but given the curved structure and additional glass in a bow window, it allows for more light to come in. The curved design also gives a bow window an advantage with a panoramic view of the outside. It can be wrapped around a building, forming a unique turret shape and allowing view from two sides of the house, making bow window replacement preferred by many.


In a bow window, many small windows are set together; it is difficult to incorporate an easy opening mechanism without hampering the elegance of the design. This is why most bow windows have fixed glasses, not allowing for it to open. This limits the amount of air let into the house. On the contrary, bay windows are often casement windows, allowing for versatile opening mechanisms. They allow for far greater ventilation.


The cost of installing either of the two windows includes many individual costs such as labor costs, material costs, alcove, flooring, molding, and others. Given the greater number of individual windows in a bow window, it costs more than a bay window on average. A 5-panel bow window could cost around USD 3,500, while an 8-foot bay window could average around USD 2500. The labor costs, material costs, and repair costs are all higher for a bow window, making people neglect bow window replacement.


Both bow windows and bay windows are more complex to install and replace than a traditional flat window. The material, design, size, location, and many other factors determine the real complexity of the job. Given the larger size and weight of a bow window, it is often more complex to install. Even after installation, bow window replacement is a more tedious job out of the two replacements.


The decision between which window out of the two is the best, depends on not one but many factors. This decision is individual to each customer, depending upon his needs and requirements. A customer with budgetary constraints or one that prefers less complexity and more natural air in the air should opt for bay window replacement. A customer that wants a superior view and more elegant appearance should go for bow window replacement


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