Basic Window Styles
A new window will consist of the sash (one or more) mounted in a frame which is made of the side jambs, top jamb, sill and operating mechanisms.
Double-Hung Windows consist of two sashes that slide vertically along side jambs with the bottom sash closing down on the sill and the top sash closing up against the top jamb. These provide moderate ventilation and can be difficult to clean unless the sash tilts in.
Slider Windows function like double-hung windows turned sideways.
Casement Windows usually consist of one sash hinged to a side jamb, and they usually open outward from the sill by crank handle or slider bar. Casement windows provide good ventilation and are fairly easy to clean, but they are a bit pricier because of the operating hardware.
Awning Windows consist of a sash hinged to the top jamb or the sill, which tilts out when it's opened using hardware similar to casement windows.
Transom Windows generally consist of short awning windows or fixed sashes mounted over normal sized casement or double-hung windows. They can be ordered as separate windows then set in the proper configuration during installation, or they can be custom ordered as a single unit, combining short and tall windows into a single frame at the factory.
Bay Windows consist of one or more sashes framed to bump out or protrude beyond a wall with angled or perpendicular side sashes running back to the wall.
Bow Windows are similar to bays, but the windows are framed to form a gradual arc instead of the sharp angles of a bay.
Multi-Wide Units result when you order two or more windows in a single unit or frame. They're joined at the factory with mullions separating the windows.
Window Finishes & Materials
Wood Windows are made of solid wood or wood products. They can usually be ordered with standard brick mold trim, custom trim if you need to match existing trim, or no exterior trim at all. They can also be ordered with a coat of primer, finish, or no finish at all. Painting is the main drawback for solid wood windows. Re-painting is usually required every 5-7 years.
Aluminum Cladding is a layer of aluminum applied to the exterior surfaces of a window (often wood core) to provide a durable, low-maintenance surface. However, there are less color options than with wood finishes. The more durable cladding consists of extruded aluminum as opposed to rolled aluminum. Also, thicker aluminum is more durable.
Aluminum Windows are made entirely of aluminum (except for the glazing), and they're available for specialized applications. They lack the insulating values of windows made of other materials so they're not widely used.
Vinyl Cladding is another popular low-maintenance cladding, and it can also be applied over other materials, like wood or wood products. As with aluminum cladding, the thicker the vinyl the more durable it will be.
Vinyl Windows are have no wood cores. They are energy efficient and low-maintenance alternatives which don't warp or rot.