Bow or Bay Windows: Which One to Choose?

Sometimes referred to as a compass window, bow windows offer very distinct architectural style to home that utilize them. In fact, a bow window depends upon curved architecture and actually creates more space by projecting beyond the exterior wall of the home or building.

Erroneously, the terms bow and bay sometimes get used interchangeably.  Here is the difference:  a bay window has 3 window panels that are fixed in an angled projection.  A bow window usually has 4-5 window structures following a large curved opening; Bows create a more rounded appearance on the home’s exterior.

Both provide enhanced exterior panoramas and significantly open-up the spaces in which they are used.   Both styles extend further from the building – so, it is an important planning tip to make sure you have ample exterior space.  When working in comparatively narrow spaces, bay windows may have a slight advantage. Either can add the look and feel of extra interior space – which in always a designing plus!

Bows vs Bays. Pros and Cons

While every home and home owner are different, here are some head-to-head match-ups you may wish to consider in your planning process.

•   Style.  Bays are a 3 window array and Bows have 4 or more windows.

•   Light.  Bows take the advantage with more natural light and a more expansive outdoor view. Bays have less light but offer more privacy.

•   Ventilation. Bays are made to function like ordinary windows – double-hung, casement, awning, etc. Bows typically do not come with opening mechanisms.  These features can be expensive to install on Bow windows – and, tend to disrupt the flow of the window’s curvature.

•   Costs.  Typically Bays are less expensive than Bows.

We Know Bows. 

Did you know bow windows actually date back to European architectural styles from the 1700’s?  These windows were fabricated to mimic the panoramic views of old ships at sea.  We think of this style of window as being more suitable for older or more classically styled homes.  However, we are seeing them appear in contemporary designs as well.

Tri County Windows and Siding can help you choose a great bow window option for your home. These installations become the center-focus of the rooms in which they are used and become a comfortable and valuable enhancement to your living space. Please call for a personalized consultation and free estimate.  We are dedicated to keeping our prices competitive and our customer service exceptional.

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