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How Much Do Bay Windows Cost?

Bay windows extend outward from the home in a circular arc, and they can be a beautiful way to increase a home's curb appeal as well as let in lots of natural light. However, this window upgrade can also bring with it some serious costs. Homeowners who want to add one or more bay windows to their home should be informed about the best materials for construction, the costs involved with the project, the advantages and disadvantages of this window type and what planning permits might be required in their area. 

The Costs

  • Average minimum cost of bay windows: $400
  • Average maximum cost of bay windows: $3,000

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bay Windows

The major advantages of bay windows, according to Andersen Windows, include allowing natural light into the home, adding curb appeal from the exterior of the structure, serving as a focal point, increasing ventilation, creating additional seating and adding space to smaller rooms. By adding in rounded windows that allow sunlight in from several different directions rather than just one, like a traditional flat window pane, rooms are warmed and lit in a natural way. This makes it a great choice for rooms that are currently too dark or simply don't feel bright enough. Since bay windows often include shelving or seating, they can add valuable square footage to the home. Bay windows are also very attractive items, and they look stunning from the street outside the home as well as from inside where they act as focal points wherever they happen to be located.

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to bay windows that include a bigger cost, more surface area that requires cleaning and the logistical issue of expanding the home. Replacing a traditional flat or picture window pane with a bay window is not as simple as removing one and installing the other. Instead, it requires a lot of structural work, permits and additional space on the property. In some homes with small lots or neighbors nearby, it simply wouldn't even be possible to construct a bay window in some locations. Bay windows also require more regular maintenance and cleaning because of their size.

Where to Install Bay Windows

There is no wrong room to install a bay window, as long as there is adequate space for expansion. Bay windows are most common in living rooms and sitting rooms, and they can create a nice space for reading in the sunlight or placing potted plants that require significant sunshine in order to grow properly. In bathrooms that are dark, cluttered or small, bay windows can be a clever way to brighten up the space and add additional shelving for storage, and the addition of shades, curtains or blinds can retain privacy without sacrificing the natural light. Bay windows are also beautiful when added to kitchens and bedrooms, but they are less common in dining rooms. While adding bay windows to a second or third story is possible, it requires significantly more work and cost, and it is very uncommon for those two major reasons.

Top Material Choices For Bay Windows

When it comes to the best materials for bay window framing, there are four major options: Fiberglass, wood, aluminum and vinyl. Vinyl is one of the cheapest materials on the market for this type of project, and it can be very durable as well as easy to maintain. However, vinyl may not give homeowners the aesthetic quality they are looking for. Wood is another affordable option, and it tends to be the longest-lasting when property cared for over time. It also requires minimal maintenance, and its versatile look blends in well with most home styles. Aluminum is slightly more expensive than vinyl and on par with wood, and it can withstand extreme weather conditions with ease. Aluminum bay windows can also be painted to suit any home design or color scheme. Finally, fiberglass is one of the newer material options on the market, and it is both durable and aesthetically pleasing. However, fiberglass tends to be the most expensive choice for bay windows, but the upfront investment might be worth the long-term benefits. 

Factors Influencing the Total Cost of Bay Windows

Since every bay window project will be a little different from home to home, it is hard to pin down an exact price for either materials or labor. However, there are a few key factors that can influence the cost of bay windows, and homeowners should be aware of the following things when planning to construct new bay windows:

  • Choice of window material
  • Thickness, tint or rating of glass panes
  • Quality and price of hardware finishes
  • Labor costs
  • Number of bay windows installed at the same time
  • Size of bay window
  • Replacement or new installation
  • Number of panes used in bay window (typically three or five)
  • Addition of shelving or seating inside the bay window

Installation: What Homeowners Should Know

While adding in bay windows can certainly be a wonderful way to upgrade the home, individuals should understand more about the planning, design and installation aspects of the project. In many locations, adding new bay windows to a home is considered a substantial remodel, and it can require a permit from a local building department before construction can begin. In addition, it is important to understand that not all existing windows would be suitable for the bay-style design. Adding a bay window onto a busy street reduces privacy substantially, and windows close to public sidewalks may not even have the space to expand to accommodate the bay window design. Finally, be aware that bay windows can be customized to fit a specific style, but these versions will be substantially more expensive than the standard three and five panel sizes that are readily available online and from most building and window retail stores.

Last updated on May 6, 2016

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