Bay and bow windows are absolutely stunning on any home and instantly boost curb appeal. Common in the Northeast, bay and bow windows, are iconic staples of the New England Cape Cod home design and most commonly found in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. This design trend also carries through into Midwestern states from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.

Typically bay windows are smaller than bow windows and have three windows.

The choice to replace a bay or bow window is a big one as the windows are significant investments for any homeowner. To that end, we wanted to create this guide on how to replace your bay or bow window. Here are the nine most commonly asked questions from homeowners when they are considering a bay or bow window replacement.

What is the difference between a bay or bow window?

What is the difference between a bay or bow window?

Here is an example of a bay window. Typically bay windows are smaller than bow windows and have three windows.

A combination of three or more angled windows make up our classic and iconic bay and bow windows that offer unique style and dimension to a home. What’s the difference between the two? By strict definition, a bow window is curved while bay windows are square or polygonal. Also, a bow window typically has four for five windows while a bay window typically has fewer windows. Commonly featuring a window seat, bow windows are also typically larger than bays and provide even more space within a room.

A bow window typically has four to five windows and creates more space than a bay window.

A bow window typically has four to five windows and creates more space than a bay window. And bay windows commonly feature a window seat.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a bay or bow window?

There are so many advantages to a bay or bow installation. The first – instant curb appeal and therefore a positive impact on your home value. Bays and bows also add more space in a room and more natural light. The difference can be dramatic both inside and outside of your home. Just like all windows, if installed incorrectly, it won’t perform the way it was designed to. And also, while all of that light can be amazing it can be costly if the bay or bow window is not energy efficient. Fortunately, all of ours are here at Simonton. But not all bay or bows are, especially the older wood bay or bow windows.

When should I replace my bay or bow window?

Due to their poor construction in the past, bay and bow windows installed 15 to 20 years ago are more apt to rotting wood and other common problems. Often outdated and in need of replacement, common bay and bow window issues include cranks no longer working or handles falling off so you can’t actually open one of the windows. Other common issues include sun and moisture issues warping the wood on the seat of the bay or bow. Rather than completely resanding, refinishing or repainting a wooden bay or bow, it is just more time and cost efficient to replace them.

Can you replace a wooden bay or bow with a vinyl bay or bow window?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, rotten wood on bay or bow windows is a very common problem as most of these windows were installed 15 to 20 years ago. Given the construction of bay or bow windows and their unique exposure to the elements it is a safer bet to replacement them with a vinyl bay or bow window. Simonton’s custom bay or bow windows come in a variety of colors and are also offered in wood grain vinyl. This means they are made of vinyl but have the look of wood windows. See our color options when you shop our bay and bow windows here.

Can I replace single or double hung windows with a bay or bow window?

Absolutely! In fact, this is the perfect way to instantly boost your home’s curb appeal. It’s far easier than you think. Take a walk around your home, inside and out, look for sets of single or double hung or casement or slider windows. Imagine the same space with a large bay or bow window there instead. If you think it would look amazing (we would agree), call a Simonton pro right away and have them come out and take a look. It’s free to do so and, you never know, the in home consultation could lead to a new curb appeal. Find a pro near you by clicking here.

Can I just replace my bay or bow window myself?

We don’t want to dash your dreams and your internal DIY nature, but, no, you definitely should not try to replace your bay or bow on your own. Instead, find a trusted window installer or professional contractor. Replacing windows is serious, serious business and while it looks easy on a YouTube video – there are so many unpredictable things that could go wrong – especially when removing and replacing a bay or bow. And when installing a bay or bow window it is essential the structure above them is supported, typically with steel supports. Failure to install your window properly can lead to structural damage or a complete window collapse. Seriously, don’t do this at home, alone. Unless you have extensive experience in window replacement and a crew of reliable men or women with the same experience, you should trust an expert to replace your bay or bow window. Find a Simonton Pro near you in our Pro Network and schedule a free in-home assessment.

What happens if I just ignore the wear and tear on the old window and not replace it?

If you continue to ignore your aging bay or bow window you could open your home to rodents and pests, who chew through the wood and find their way in or, even worse, water. As your bay or bow continues to age water damage becomes a bigger and bigger issue. Natural forces are always at lay against a bay or bow because it is out there on its own, externally protruding from your house. So, keep that in mind and treat bay or bow windows with a different regard then your typical single or double hung windows.

How are bay and bow windows made?

There’s a science behind building bay or bow windows. Find out how we construct ours when you watch this video.

How much does a bay or bow window replacement cost?

The cost of your new bay or bow windows depends completely on you, your style preferences and your home. Find industry averages for window replacement costs here, but for an official cost estimate you will need to contact a Simonton pro who will visit your home in order to make an official estimate. You can also create a My House account on our website and add window choices to your house before you even meet with a pro. This expedites the pro’s ability to provide you with a window replacement estimate. Create a My House account here.