Bow window prices vary by the size, frame material and other factors broken down in this guide. Our table of bow window price details gives ranges that take these factors into account to give you a clear idea of what you can expect when getting bow window estimates. The table and other information will assist you in comparing bay window prices with costs and features for other windows covered in our guides – Bow Windows, Casement Windows, Double-hung Windows and more.
Bow Window Features and Options
Let’s start with two common questions. What is a bow window? It is a group of windows, typically five or more, that extends gradually away from the house and then flows back to the house.
What is a bay window vs. a bow window? A bay window may have just three windows with the side windows extending sharply away from the house, typically in 45-degree angles, though 90-degree box bays and 30-degree bays are common too. Bow windows feature gentler arches and more windows to complete the arch, so each angle is 30 degrees or less.
Another difference is that the windows in a bow window assembly are often of the same type and width, 24” casement or fixed windows, for example. In a bay window, the center window is often a large fixed window with movable windows on the side.
Note: A bow window can be constructed from separate windows in their own frames or from a series of windows made into one frame assembly and installed as a unit. Both types are covered in this guide.
Most window types can be bought as pre-made or custom windows. Bow window assemblies are almost exclusively custom-made. This means they are only built when an order is placed for them in the size, window combination, materials and accessories the customer wants. Your options for custom bow windows are:
- Materials – Window frames are built from vinyl ($-$$$), wood composite ($$-$$$), fiberglass ($$-$$$) several species of wood ($$-$$$$) and wood with aluminum-clad or vinyl-clad exteriors ($$-$$$$).
- Window types – Casement, double-hung window and fixed windows are the most common window types used in building custom bow window assemblies.
- Color and Finish – You have excellent options for wood stain colors and for aluminum and vinyl cladding on the exterior of some wood window lines, but your color choices are fewer for vinyl and fiberglass.
- Locks and hardware – Powder-coated and vinyl hardware comes in a handful of colors; your options for metal hardware in a range of finishes from polished to oil-rubbed to brushed are more varied.
- Glass, Grilles and Screens – Glass, known as glazing, comes in single, double and triple panes, Low-E and energy efficient glass options. Light-dividing grilles come in many styles too. Screen choice for moving windows is limited.
Bow windows can be floor to ceiling and nearly any width. However, the windows used in the bow window assemblies typically fall into these size ranges:
- Movable windows: Width – 24” to 32” / Height – 35” to 72”
- Fixed windows: Width – 12” to 32” / Height – 35” to 72”
The total width of most residential bow window assemblies is 66” to 160”.
Pros and Cons of Bow Windows
Bow windows are a striking construction element that opens a home to the beauty and natural light of the outdoors. With window type, materials and accessory choices, it is possible to create a distinctive window grouping for your home.
Bow window prices are significant, as the chart below demonstrates, and installation is costly too. Finally, with so much glass, the heat gain or loss can make the room uncomfortable and drive up energy expense. It makes sense to pay a bit more for quality double-pane insulated glass for your bow window design to reduce energy use in your home.
Bow Window Prices for 2017/2018
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Factors That Affect Bow Window Cost
Apart from the windows themselves, your total price will be impacted by time of year and who installs the windows.
Windows aren’t typically installed during freezing weather, so in cold climates, early spring and later fall are good times to find deals on windows and installation. In mild climates, winter is slower but suitable for installation, and installers might offer deals during that time.
The second factor in bow window installation cost is who does the work. A handyman will cost the least of your reasonable options, and a window company will cost slightly more. If a general contractor hires the installer, your prices will likely be even higher. It is important to choose an experienced installer that is also licensed and insured, and hiring the company yourself ensures this. We recommend that you request estimates from three experienced window installers, and let them know they’re competing for the work. If they are eager to get the installation, they will provide you with their most competitive bow window installation estimates.