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Picture Windows

picture windows

The picture window, also known as the fixed window, is the simplest and yet most versatile element of your window décor, letting in light, but not the elements. Because it doesn’t open and has no moving parts (hence, “fixed”), it offers excellent insulation and weatherproofing; its uncluttered simplicity minimizes obstruction of your desired view.

Perhaps the most spectacular example of the picture window is the wall-sized, sometimes multi-story picture window that makes an exterior element—like a beautiful garden or a spectacular city vista—an integral part of the room. But smaller picture windows can also be used to great advantage—for example, set in a curved pattern in a wall to follow the sun’s path. Window estimates vary based on the size and shape of the windows you choose.

In addition to such standalone applications, picture windows are often used in combination with sliding, double-hung, awning or casement windows. For example, an awning window may be placed above or below a picture window to allow for ventilation without interfering with the view. Other very popular options are the bay window, in which a picture window is flanked with a casement or double-hung window on either side, or a bow window, in which multiple windows are arrayed in a gentle curve.

The fixed window’s simplicity, with no moving parts, allows a nearly infinite number of creative treatments: custom shapes, leaded and/or colored glass, artistic insets, and more. You don’t have to settle for generic; the picture window is the essential building block for giving your home a truly distinctive look.

Picture windows are available in many styles and price points from manufacturers including Andersen, Marvin, Milgard, Pella and Silver Line, in aluminum, fiberglass, wood, vinyl, and various clad options. With so many choices, you may find the decision process overwhelming; it’s often wise to consult with a design professional in your project’s early stages so you can focus on the look and features you want, then pick exactly the right windows to do the job. If you’re looking, find a window contractor; for the perfect expert to deliver and install the windows of your dreams.

The picture window, also known as the fixed window, is the simplest and yet most versatile element of your window décor, letting in light but keeping out the elements. Because it doesn’t open and has no moving parts (hence, it’s “fixed”), the picture window offers excellent insulation and weatherproofing. Plus, the window’s uncluttered simplicity maximizes your view of the outdoors. Here’s what you need to know.


On average, window replacement costs $300 to $700 per window. The total cost to install picture windows, however, will depend greatly on the size of the window, the glass used, and the cost of labor. A window contractor in your area can give you more detailed cost estimates for your project.


Picture windows offer an unobstructed view of the outdoors.

If combined with patio doors or open-and-close windows, picture windows bring the perfect balance of light and ventilation.

Excellent insulation and weatherproofing.


Generally for looks only and won’t help with ventilation on their own.

The large expanse of glass can make them vulnerable to breakage.


Since picture windows have no moving parts and are generally left untouched, they are a fairly durable window option. The one concern, however, is that the glass might be vulnerable to breakage.


The maintenance for picture windows is primarily cleaning, but since many of them are installed rather high up, getting to them might be a challenge. Here’s how to keep yours looking beautiful:

  1. Fill a bucket with a few squirts of dishwashing liquid and water.
  2. Use a squeegee to apply the solution to the window. This will prevent streaks.
  3. Regularly clean the squeegee by dipping it back in the bucket.

picture window

Common Questions and Answers

If allergies are a problem, can a home have only picture windows?

No, IRC codes state that some form of natural ventilation is a must for any home. In addition, firefighters need to be able to get into the space in case of an emergency. Do your research before deciding on a window type for your home.

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