Do your bathroom windows make the space feel dark and dreary? Small, outdated windows can dampen the ambiance and prevent natural light from entering.
I experienced this after moving into a home with a tiny, sealed bathroom window. It made the room feel like a cave rather than a bright, relaxing oasis.
If your bathroom has ineffective windows, it may be time to upgrade them. New windows can transform the look and feel of your bathroom by letting in more natural light and air.
In this guide, we will explore the factors to consider when choosing new bathroom windows. This includes different window sizes types, styles, and features. I will share what worked well to improve the windows in my formerly dark, gloomy bathroom.
By the end, you will have the knowledge to give your bathroom windows a stylish update that makes the whole space brighter and more inviting. Let’s shed some light on your bathroom window options!
Types of Bathroom Windows
1. Double Hung Windows
The defining feature of double-hung windows is the two vertical sashes that slide up and down within the frame. Typically, one sash slides down from the top, while the other slides up from the bottom. This allows both the upper and lower halves of the window to open.
Most double-hung bathroom windows have two equal-sized, rectangular or square sashes, giving them their traditional, symmetrical appearance. Counterbalances allow the sashes to slide smoothly up and down.
With their understated elegance, double-hung windows suit traditional home styles. Their operational design has remained largely unchanged for years.
In my experience, double-hung windows are easy to use. Just lift the lower sash and pull down the upper sash to open the window to the desired height. The sashes glide smoothly along the track.
Ventilation is decent since air can flow through the open top and bottom sashes. Double-hungs allow good control over airflow.
I appreciate their traditional styling and proportions, which complement classic home architecture and decorative bathroom moldings. They feel at home in vintage spaces.
Compared to casements, double-hung can be less airtight and prone to leaks around the sashes. Keeping the seals and tracks lubricated is important.
Noisy rattling or sticking sashes are also common if the counterbalance system wears out over time. The cords may need replacement after years of use.
Privacy and light control are concerns since both sashes are open. Window coverings are important in bathrooms for privacy and glare reduction.
2. Casement Windows
Casement windows are hinged on one side and open outwards. Unlike windows that slide vertically or horizontally, the entire casement sash swings open when you turn the hand crank.
This allows the full window to open, rather than just half. Casements often have a sleek, contemporary look with clean lines.
Many modern bathrooms feature casements for their aesthetics and ventilation abilities. The crank handle is typically on the lower corner.
Casement bathroom windows provide superior ventilation. By cranking it open, I can precisely control fresh air flow into my steamy bathroom. I love being able to really air things out after a hot shower.
When closed tightly, casements form an airtight seal that resists moisture and drafts well. They limit condensation buildup better than sliding windows.
The full sash opening also brings ample natural light into the bathroom. Casements maximize both airflow and sunlight with their wide, open design.
Casements need clearance space when fully open. Account for this on adjacent walls or ceiling to avoid the sash hitting obstructions.
They provide zero ventilation when fully closed. So if you want just a little fresh air, a partially opened sliding or double-hung window may work better.
Exposed hardware like the crank and hinges can collect dirt and moisture. Ensure these components are made of durable, corrosion-resistant materials.
3. Sliding Windows
As the name suggests, sliding windows have sashes that slide open horizontally within the frame. Most sliding bathroom windows I’ve seen have one fixed and one operable sash.
The operable sash slides sideways to open, either left or right depending on the track direction. This provides ventilation while keeping the window space efficient and compact.
Sliding bathroom windows typically have a clean, modern aesthetic with their straight lines and smooth operation. Variations include 2- and 3-pane sliders.
The main benefits of sliding bathroom windows are their ease of use and contemporary style. Just push or pull the moving sash along the track to open or close it.
Sliding windows are space-savers, making them a smart choice for small bathrooms. When closed, they nest tightly against the frame with a slim profile.
I also appreciate how they allow you to partially open them just a little for some fresh air. Their smooth, gliding action makes this effortless.
Compared to casements, sliders tend to be less airtight and watertight when closed. I’ve noticed more potential for drafts and leaks around the edges. Condensation can also build up on the sashes if the airflow is limited.
Over time, grit and dirt in the tracks can make sliding windows stick and jam. The rollers and sliding mechanism need periodic cleaning and lubricating to keep operating smoothly.
4. Awning Windows
Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outwards from the bottom with a hand crank or lever. The sash opens outward at an angle, like an awning, allowing air in while deflecting rain and elements.
When partially open, awnings keep the inside dry while letting fresh air filter in. They can often remain open even during light rain. When closed, they sit flush against the frame.
Awning sashes are usually rectangular or square-shaped. The crank mechanism is located on the bottom corners. Streamlined frames give them a minimalist, contemporary look.
I like that the awning window can stay open for ventilation even when misting. The angled sash keeps precipitation out. This makes them ideal for bathrooms where you want fresh air without drafts.
When fully opened, awnings don’t obstruct walkways or space. They stay neatly tucked against the walls. I also find them energy efficient since they deflect harsh sun in summer.
The bottom crank makes awnings easy to operate even if installed high on the wall. Just turn the crank to open or close it securely.
The ventilation from awnings is more limited compared to casements since only about a third or less of the sash actually opens. They don’t allow wide, full airflow.
Reaching the crank can still be challenging if awkwardly mounted. Shorter people may find them hard to operate.
Awnings are also prone to leaking around the hinges if the seals fail. Proper installation and flashing are key to preventing moisture issues.
What to consider when choosing bathroom windows?
Selecting the right windows for your bathroom goes beyond just style and ventilation. There are several important factors to weigh when upgrading or replacing windows in your bathroom:
1. Size and Space Considerations
Take careful measurements of your existing window openings and available wall space when choosing new bathroom windows. Account for elements like wall thickness and trim when sizing windows.
Optimize daylight and ventilation by selecting the largest windows that will fit the physical footprint. But don’t overload small bathrooms with oversized windows.
2. Privacy and Light Requirements
Carefully balance your need for natural light with privacy. Opaque glass provides privacy while letting light in. For modesty, avoid large windows facing busy areas.
Control glare with tinted glass, shades, and strategically placed windows. Place windows to maximize useful daylight while minimizing harsh afternoon sun shining directly in.
3. Ventilation and Humidity Control
Proper moisture control is key in humid bathroom environments. Select operable windows that open fully to let in fresh air and control mold and mildew buildup.
Use exhaust fans and possibly a dehumidifier to actively reduce condensation. Ensure windows have tight seals when closed to contain moisture
4. Budget and Cost Considerations
Compare window costs including materials and labor. More expensive options like wood-clad windows offer durability and aesthetic value.
Consider long-term savings from energy-efficient windows. Key factors are glazing, gas fills, and low-E coatings that reduce heating and cooling costs.
5. Aesthetics and Decor Styling
Choose windows that match your bathroom’s decorative theme and finishes. Add visual interest with shaped windows, divide lites, and trim details.
Frame color, divided vs. undivided sashes, grid patterns, and glass texture impact the look and feel. Ensure windows coordinate with cabinets, flooring, etc.
When selecting new bathroom windows, carefully measure your existing openings and wall space first to determine the optimal sizes and types.
Prioritize proper ventilation and humidity control by choosing windows that open fully or partially. Also consider noise reduction, privacy, easy cleaning, and decor style as you weigh options like casements, double hungs, sliders, and awnings.
Don’t overlook energy efficiency. Well-installed windows with low-E coatings can reduce heating and cooling costs long-term.
Work with an experienced contractor for precise installation and sealing. This ensures your new windows perform optimally for many years.
The right windows can transform your bathroom from dark and dreary to a bright, inviting oasis. Take time to choose windows that meet your needs and suit your space.
I'm a licensed home maintenance contractor with over a decade of experience, dedicated to preserving your home's value. My expertise includes roofing, gutter installation and repair, fencing, pool maintenance, deck and patio construction, plumbing, appliance repair, lawn care, painting, garage doors, windows, sump pumps, and steam heating systems.