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Intro to reno: Replacement windows

In a continuation of’s Intro to Reno series, we’re taking a look at everything you need to know about choosing new windows for your home.

Windows are among the most important purchases that you can make for your home. That’s because they contribute to your home’s aesthetic appeal, its comfort and safety. So when you need to replace old or broken windows in your home, it’s important to do your homework.

Window Materials

In addition to the glass, there are four main materials used to create windows in Canada:

  • Wood
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Fiberglass

Important Terminology


A window frame is the part that encases the entire window, surrounding the sash and the glass.


The sash holds the glass in place within the window frame. In operational windows, the sash is the part that opens.


On a single-hung window, one sash is fixed and the other is operational.


Double-hung windows feature two operational sashes.

Window Styles

One of the most important reasons to get a full understanding of window styles is pricing. You might look at a window in your kitchen and see it as just one big window. However, the reality is that you might have two or three windows in the opening, such as a large picture window up top with two horizontal sliders at the bottom.

Casement windows

One of the most popular windows styles in older Canadian homes, casement windows open outward on side mounted hinges. They can be fully opened by a crank handle to provide maximum ventilation.

Awning Windows

replacement windows

Source: Home Bunch

Awning windows are smaller, top-hinged windows, which are often placed above or below non-operable windows.

Bay Windows

replacement windows

Source: Cup of Jo

A bay window is actually a combination of three windows –usually a picture window in the middle and a casement or double-hung window on either side.

Bow Windows

replacement windows

Source: Elle Décor

Similar to bays, bow windows are large, multi-panel windows often seen at the front of a house. This style of windows typically consists of four or five panels, which form a semi-circle.


replacement windows

Source: Rehau

Slider windows feature a sash that is operated by sliding it. Both vertical and horizontal versions are available.

Picture Window

replacement windows

Source: Domain

Picture windows are fixed, with no operable parts. They are often used in combination with smaller casement or slider windows.

Egress Window

An egress window doesn’t so much refer to a window types as it refers to a location or purpose. In essence, an egress window is a window that is intended to provide an emergency exit in the home. While homeowners are most likely to come across this term when renovating the basement, an egress window can be found in any room of the house.

Special Shapes

Windows are also available in any number of different shapes, such as circles, semi-circles, triangles, octagons and more. These are generally fixed windows, without operational parts.

Shopping for Replacement Windows

A little bit of knowledge definitely goes a long way; however, you can’t replace the advantage of working with a reputable replacement window expert. Before choosing your window contractor, take the time to look into a few local professionals. Visit their website, read any reviews and ask around. Oftentimes, word of mouth is the most reliable resource.

You should also ensure that your windows contractor is experienced and certified. This will give you peace of mind that you’re receiving knowledge, top quality service and products you can trust.

Need to find a local replacement windows contractor? Take a look through the listings of countless windows and doors experts listings here on!

Read other articles in our Intro to Reno series: Ceiling Types | Hardwood Flooring

Featured photo courtesy of George Kent Home Improvements

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