Understanding Window Styles: A Guide to Window Style Selection

When selecting windows, there are many things to consider. With multiple window styles available, it is not always easy to tell them apart. Consider this a guide to understanding and selecting windows for a home. Learn some of the primary window styles and what makes them different from one another.

Related: Understanding Home Styles

Casement Windows

Casement Window - Explore CGI Casement Windows

A casement window swings open like a door. This style of window hinges on the side. Casement windows are known for providing excellent ventilation to kitchens and other rooms in the home. Unlike a single hung window, a casement window has no center rail to obstruct the view outside. Casement windows can be used alone or as part of a more massive installment along with picture (non-opening) windows. A casement window is ideal for spaces in the home where pushing a window sash upwards is not always easy to reach. Many homeowners install casement windows above their kitchen sinks. Casement windows are often considered one of the most energy-efficient window types. The sash of a casement window creates an airtight seal against the frame when closed, making it hard for air to escape.

Awning Windows


An awning window (sometimes referred to as a project-out window) is a top hinged outward opening window. Awning windows protect the window opening like an awning. This feature allows awning windows to provide ventilation even during the rainiest of weather. Awning windows are suitable in nearly every style of home and frequently used in bathrooms with obscure or textured glass to provide privacy. Awning windows are an option for most areas of a house that require an operable window. An awning window can be placed higher on a wall than most openable windows and can even be installed over furniture or benches while still allowing access to operate the window. This feature makes awning windows a practical choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Like casement windows, an awning window is suitable for nearly every style of home and is frequently used in bathrooms with obscure or textured glass to create privacy. Awning windows can also be locked in an open position. This characteristic makes them an excellent window choice for homeowners that want to let in ventilation but not want to compromise the security of their home.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

Picture Window

Sparta Impact Windows

Picture windows, sometimes called fixed windows, are typically used for larger openings. Homes that utilize picture windows do not require a window that opens and enjoy uninterrupted, expansive views. Because of their oversized nature, a picture window brings in more daylight into homes. Picture windows usually require less maintenance since there are no mechanical parts associated with this window type. An excellent choice for framing outdoor views from living rooms, dining rooms, master bedrooms, and where ventilation is not a concern, picture windows are often an essential part of architectural design. A picture window is diverse in its sizes and shapes. Many manufacturers often refer to these types of picture windows as architectural. Some examples include:

  • Half Circle Picture Window
  • Arch Top or Eyebrow Picture Window
  • Full Circle Picture Window
  • Octagon Picture Window
  • Hexagon Picture Window
  • Chord Picture Window
  • Tombstone Picture Window
  • Trapezoid Picture Window
  • Pentagon Picture Window
  • Gothic Pentagon Picture Window

Related: How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Single Hung Window

A single hung window is a traditional style sash (a sash is the part of a window that moves and holds glass panes together) operable window that opens without any interior or exterior space required. A single hung window is often the standard window type used in newer home construction and condominium buildings. This style of window is a perfect choice for most rooms of a home. A single hung window has a bottom panel, or sash, that moves vertically, while the upper sash remains stationary. When opened, the bottom sash obstructs, at least partially, the top sash. Single hung windows are considered one of the more cost-efficient, which makes them one of the most popular window types in homes. Also, a single hung window is energy-efficient since it has only one movable sash, there is less opportunity for air infiltration as the window ages.

Related: Benefits of New Windows and Doors

Horizontal Sliding Window

Horizontal sliding windows, commonly referred to as a sliding window, traditionally includes panels within the window that slide side-to-side, similar to a horizontal sliding door. The sash slides open left or right, which is perfect for satisfying bedroom egress requirements. Horizontal sliding windows are a popular style for contemporary and modern homes. A horizontal sliding window is typically wider than it is tall. This feature makes a horizontal sliding window ideal for wide openings and expansive views. For example, a large sliding window can offer more of an unobstructed view of the outdoors since it showcases a broader landscape view. Horizontal sliding windows also provide an abundance of air ventilation because they are typically larger in size, a sliding window also tends to open wider than other window types. Some people find a horizontal sliding window is less complicated to open and close than a crank-style window. Also, since they open and close without protruding, horizontal sliders are an excellent choice for rooms facing patios, walkways, porches, or other areas that receive high foot traffic.

Understanding window styles, how they function, and their benefits can assist when making new or replacement window decisions. CGI offers a variety of window types to meet the needs of most homes.

The Benefits of New Windows and Doors

Homeowners can be both excited and nervous when going through a home renovation or new build. It is not always easy to know where money should be invested and what will give homeowners the most significant return on investment (ROI). But did you know windows and doors can not only help aesthetically improve your home but can save you money in the long run? Here’s a checklist of things to ask yourself when evaluating windows and doors for a remodel or new construction.

Related: HOA Rules to Know Before Buying Replacement Windows

Remodel: Do you notice a spike in your energy bill during a specific season? 

An energy bill increase may be a sign that it is time to consider upgrading a home’s doors and windows. When considering new windows, take time to review previous energy bills. If a homeowner notices a spike in his/her bill during warmer or colder months, he/she may want to consider upgrading his/her door or window types. From insulating to laminated glass, these types of features can help lower energy bills. Also, adding energy efficient options can also improve a home’s energy efficiency.

Related: How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Remodel: Can you feel, or even hear, air flowing around your windows? 

Have you ever walked by your window or door and heard the wind howling? Or maybe during the hottest part of the day, you can feel the temperature rise as you approach your windows? Other than evaluating your energy bill, you can also determine if a window or door upgrade might be needed by looking for these subtle hints. For less than $20, homeowners can buy an infrared thermometer on Amazon. This fun gadget can detect the temperature near your windows and doors versus the rest of your home. If there is a significant discrepancy, then it may be time to reach out to a certified door and window dealer.

Remodel: Does your home function the way you want it to, or are their parts of the exterior you wish were more accessible?

Do you have to walk through your living room to get to the patio to grill? Or maybe you wish you had more ventilation in your kitchen for those days you bake up a storm. Sometimes considering new ways to use your existing window and door space can make your day-to-day living more comfortable. Instead of walking through the living room to exit to the patio, you could add a French door between the kitchen and living space. Or maybe you replace a single hung window over the sink with a casement window that swings open like a door and can easily open with a crank.

New construction + Remodel: Would you be interested in giving both your interior and exterior an update at the same time? 

HGTV’s show, Hidden Potential, is an ideal way to get inspired. The show’s host, Jasmine Roth, remodels homes in planned neighborhoods. This show, like others, is an opportunity for homeowners to see how making updates to windows and doors can make their home stand out from their neighbors’. Also, in new construction, homeowners sometimes have opportunities to upgrade their windows and doors. Some of these upgrades can not only help save homeowners on their bills (like impact resistant products), but they can also create a chance to have an aesthetically unique home in a planned neighborhood. By even selecting a frame color other than white, (think bronze) homeowners can give their home a unique look.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

New construction + Remodel: Have you ever wanted more natural light in your home?

For new construction and remodels, homeowners have an opportunity to think about areas of their home where they may want more, or even less, sunlight. Then they can work with their builder or contractor to see what options are available. Sometimes, a window can be added to a closet to allow more light and ventilation, or by adding French door sidelights, more light can fill a room.

There are numerous benefits to having new windows and doors in your home. For remodel projects, it is important to know if you have any HOA rules you need to abide by before selecting products. For new construction, working closely with your builder to understand what options you have and upgrades are available can allow you to create an ideal, unique home. No matter what, having new windows and doors can protect your family and home while helping you pocket a little extra cash by lowering your energy bills. Builders and contractors have expertise when it comes to windows and doors, so do not feel like you have to have all the answers. The goal as a homeowner is to know what you need and want, then have an expert help you execute your plan.

HOA Rules to Know Before Buying Replacement Windows

Before you research styles or start to request replacement windows estimates, your first step should be to know the rules.

You may be wondering why.

Related: 2020 Coastal Design Trends

Most HOA’s care about window style, type, and color when it comes to replacement windows. It’s your job to know what your HOA will and will not allow when buying replacement windows. 

Why does your HOA care? Depending upon the community, most window replacement challenges occur when…

  • Windows do not match unit to unit or with the aesthetic of the neighborhood.
  • Windows do not meet regulations set by the HOA to improve the overall home value of the community (this often occurs with older construction).
  • Homeowners install partial replacement windows when a total replacement is required.

To avoid these common issues, the HOA has rules on the style, type, and color for the windows that they will eventually approve.

Window Style

First, it’s essential to know what style of windows you currently have and what your HOA will approve. Knowing the basic window styles will also help you communicate more efficiently with your certified window dealer. There may be an opportunity for you to update or swap out one window style for another if the exterior aesthetic looks the same. For example, you may be able to replace a fixed window with a new casement window that would allow you additional ventilation. Discussing your needs with a dealer along with the rules you have to abide by will help you decide if it is worth proposing a new window style to your HOA board.

Window Type

The process starts to get more technical when you are considering window types. You may find that your HOA will require a specific window type, or they may only care about the window style. Either way, when researching replacement windows, it’s a good idea to understand the types of windows available and why one may be a better option over another for your replacement windows project. Here are some examples:

Vinyl Windows: 

      • Can be painted
      • Can be more affordable
      • Can help regulate your home’s internal temperature

Aluminum Windows: 

    • Durable
    • Can improve insulation
    • May feature a sleeker aesthetic (like a thinner frame style)

Once you know the rules of your HOA, deciding between vinyl windows and aluminum windows is as easy as talking with your certified window dealer to get answers to any additional questions you may have about the ideal replacement windows for your home.

Also, keep in mind that depending on what part of the country you live in, there may be additional window requirements. These requirements could include things like impact-resistant glass in and near hurricane-prone zones. Older communities may require these types of updates for your window replacement project because local ordinances have changed since the initial installation of your windows.

Related: How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Window Color

Are you the type that thumbs through home decor magazines or looks at Pinterest home makeovers? Or maybe you’re more subtle, and you go a few blocks out of your regular commute or daily walk to look at different neighborhood homes. No matter your interest level in window colors, odds are, your HOA will want to have a say in your window replacement project. For your HOA, it is essential to have a cohesive neighborhood that is aesthetically consistent. Also, this type of consistency can help increase home resale values when potential buyers can see the uniform quality of each home in your neighborhood. Once you know your options based upon  your HOA rules, it’s an ideal time to talk with your window dealer about possible window colors.

Color options may include the following:

  • White windows
  • Bronze windows
  • Bone white windows
  • Black windows
  • Clear anodize (color looks like stainless steel) windows
  • Mahogany red windows
  • Walnut brown windows
  • Hazelnut brown windows

Depending upon the window manufacturer and the type of windows you select, multiple color options may be available for your replacement windows project. 

By reaching out to your HOA first, you’ll save yourself time. You will have the window knowledge you need to share with your window dealer to select the right windows for your home.

Now you know what is required to kick off your window replacement project. All that’s left is to attend your next HOA meeting or email your HOA board for guidance.

How Impact Windows Work Overtime

Sparta Impact Windows

Impact resistant windows let you enjoy the great outdoors, allow sunlight into your home, and even provide a lovely breeze in on cool days. But they’re working overtime. Did you know your impact windows offer safety, security, and cost savings?

How do impact resistant windows help with safety?

When a hurricane hits, a lot of things need protecting. First, your family must be kept safe from flying debris that could enter your home from strong winds. The good news is, impact windows can help give you peace of mind when it comes to your family’s safety. But they also protect your belongings. Since impact windows are less likely to break, they also help keep your home’s belongings safe from the damage hurricanes can create. Having to worry less about water damage or debris making its way inside your home, you can focus on taking care of your loved ones if a storm hits.

Are hurricane impact windows burglar proof?

Impact Windows Help Prevent Would-Be Intruders from Entering

Millions of people invest in alarm systems to keep their homes secure, but did you know that impact resistant windows can also help? Outside of protecting you from hurricanes and debris, impact resistant windows can help amplify your investment in home security. The National Council for Home Safety and Security reports that 95% of all home invasions require some sort of forceful entry.* Due to the composition of impact windows, they can help resist attempts from would-be-intruders. Even if the intruder damages your glass, it will remain securely in its frame thanks to a strong interlayer. This barrier helps prevent potential threats from entering your home.

Are impact windows worth the money?

Impact Windows by CGI

The investment in impact resistant windows can sometimes be a choice but often is a need. Due to state and county regulations, some homes are required to have impact windows no matter what. Although the price tag can be a bit higher for impact resistant windows, the good news is that they can help save you money in the long run. Due to their strength and tight seals, they are less likely to let out the cool air you’re paying for in the summer and the heat you also are billed for in the winter months. Also, impact resistant windows can increase the overall value of your home. If you’re replacing older windows, new impact windows can help increase your home’s resale value since these are the standard for most residences in Florida.

Whether replacing older windows or installing them in new construction, impact windows can help with your family’s safety, security and help lower your bills.

5 Ways Hurricane Windows Can Help Save Your Life

Hurricane windows do more than just protect your home during a storm. They also:

  1. Stop wind borne debris from entering your home
  2. Help keep intruders out
  3. No need to climb on ladders to install shutters and risk falling
  4. Help keep roof on home during a storm
  5. Keep zombies out of your house during a zombie apocalypse

Hurricane windows go through rigorous testing requirements set by Miami Dade County, the toughest wind-borne debris standard in the world. They will protect you from storms and intruders, possibly saving your life.

7 Reasons Why You Need to Replace Your Windows

  1. You have rotten wood windows.
  2. Your older windows are not energy efficient and are leaking air.
  3. They’re not impact windows. Non-impact windows won’t help you during a storm.
  4. The window panes are fogging up.
  5. Your insurance company no longer covers you since you don’t have hurricane rated products.
  6. The noise from outside is seeping in.
  7. Your windows are not opening and closing properly.

These are just a few of the many reasons why you may need to replace your windows. Security and energy efficiency are two very important ones. Non- impact windows won’t protect you from the storm or intruders and older windows leak air raising energy bills. Find out more about the right impact windows for you by exploring our website.

4 Signs You Ordered the Wrong Windows

When ordering windows, it’s easy to make a mistake. Here are 4 signs that you’ve ordered the wrong windows:

  1. They don’t have Miami Dade or Florida Building Code approval.
  2. They don’t fit your openings.
  3. You can feel a draft by the windows.
  4. The glass starts fogging soon after installation.

Make sure to measure twice and order once! A professional window installer will take measurements for you so you won’t have to worry about that, but the type of window you choose is up to you. Miami Dade approved impact windows should keep you safe from storms and intruders and give you the sense of safety you need for your family and home. Make sure that the windows you are ordering are Miami Dade Approved.

5 Signs You Hired the Wrong Installer

What To Look For When Hiring A Replacement Window & Door Company

Finding the right door and window replacement installer is as important as choosing the best replacement windows and doors. There are several red flags to look out for when hiring a replacement window and door installer. Replacement windows and doors for any home should be installed by a trained professional. When evaluating door and window replacement companies, make sure these 5 items are addressed. If any of these issues show up, look for another installer:

Hire a qualified and experienced installer.

Hire a qualified and experienced installer.

  1. They don’t have a license.
  2. They require a 100% payment upfront.
  3. They don’t have insurance.
  4. They don’t give you a written contract.
  5. They don’t have any references.

In order to make your investment in impact replacement windows and doors a good one, you need to hire the right window and door installer. Make sure to ask any potential installers questions such as:

  1. Can you provide me with references?
  2. Are you insured?
  3. How long have you been in the business?
  4. Will you be obtaining permits?
  5. What are our local codes for door and window replacement projects?
  6. Do you offer a warranty?
  7. What type of warranty does the replacement window and door manufacturer offer on their products?
  8. How long will my door and window replacement project take?
  9. What are the payment options?
  10. Are there any add-features or upgrades I should consider?

Incorrectly installing replacement windows and doors can cost you time and money. Also, it can lead to a loss of energy efficiency. CGI has an extensive network of door and window replacement pros. Click here to find a door and window replacement dealer near you.

For more info read this article from Angie’s list on hiring a window replacement pro.

Selecting Impact Resistant Glass

Selecting the appropriate impact resistant glass make-up is an important part of your window and door selection.

Step 1: Select between laminated glass or insulated laminated glass.

Laminated Hurricane Impact Resistant Glass is comprised of two sheets of glass bonded together with a protective interlayer. Laminated glass is the primary hurricane barrier used in impact resistant windows. Laminated glass is also used in the windshields of cars. Hurricane impact resistant products use a thicker sandwich of glass and special film interlayer to make the glass unit stronger. Laminated glass also eliminates 99% of UV rays, reduces noise transmission, provides enhanced security protection for your home, and reduces the air conditioning and heating portion of your energy bill.

Insulated Laminated Glass adds an extra single pane of glass to the laminated glass unit with a hermetically sealed air space (or gas filled space) in between. This glass is generally more expensive but offers enhanced energy performance. The air or gas filled space serves as an insulator between the temperature difference that exists between the inside and the outside. Although it is more useful in colder climates, it does improve the performance of LoE coatings and in some cases architects or local building departments are requiring its use.


Step 2: Decide whether to use a LoE coating or glass tints.

Tinted Glass – CGI offers a variety of glass tints. Tinted glass is likely the most cost effective solution combining cost reductions with energy efficiency. Tinted glass absorbs incoming solar radiation through the glass thereby reducing the heat and light transfer into a room. Gray and bronze tinted windows—the most common—reduce the penetration of both light and heat into buildings in equal amounts. Blue and green tinted windows offer greater penetration of visible light and slightly reduced heat transfer compared with other colors of tinted glass. Green or blue colored glass tends to paint your room in the same color. Gray and bronze tints tend to be more color neutral on the interiors. Clear glass is also available, although without special coatings or tints heat transfer is not minimized.

LoE Glass– LoE coatings are applied to the internal glass surface to separate heat energy (long wave) and light energy (short wave). The heat energy (long wave) is reflected back to the heat source and the short wave can pass through the coating. CGI offers high performance coatings on its insulated laminated products.



With all of these options of tints, LoE and Insulated Glass, how do I decide?

In warm tropical climates if you are cost conscious, avoid insulated glass if not required by codes. Suggest tinted glass or clear glass with LoE. If you want the best energy performance, consider insulated laminated glass with a LoE coating. Also, discuss with your dealer to ensure that you are in compliance with building code requirements.


Back to basics- Which windows and doors are best for you? A quick review.

Here are the different options you have available for your next project with CGI Windows and Doors.






A casement window swings open like a door. Hinged on the side, casement windows provide excellent ventilation and unlike a single hung, it has no center rail to obstruct the view.

Project Out/ Awning

A project out or awning window is a top hinged outward opening window that protects the opening like an awning, providing ventilation even during rainy weather. Project Out windows are suitable in nearly every style of home and frequently used in bathrooms with obscure or textured glass.


Fixed windows are typically used for openings that are larger or where an opening window is not required. They are used to expand the view and bring in more daylight. A great choice for living rooms, dining rooms, master bedrooms and where ventilation is not a concern.

Designer Fixed

A designer fixed window adds a luxurious look to any room in the house while bringing in daylight. A large selection of designer window shapes are available.

Single Hung

A single hung window is a traditional style sash operable window that opens without using any interior or exterior space. It is a perfect choice for most living areas in your home.

Horizontal Rolling  

A horizontal rolling window operates similar to a sliding door. The sash slides open perfect for satisfying bedroom egress requirements and is a popular style for contemporary and modern homes.


Sliding Glass Doors

CGI Sliding Doors are a perfect solution for space, ventilation and aesthetic considerations. Sliding doors are common in many houses, particularly as an entrance to the patio and backyard. Available with screens, CGI sliding doors are also a great solution where doors are kept open but insect protection is desired. Check out the numerous configurations available.

French Doors

CGI French Doors are an elegant way of bringing the outside inside. Connect your garden with your home; enjoy unobstructed views of gardens, the pool, the hills or sunsets from anyplace you desire. Whether a beautiful entry door solution, or a simple passage door, CGI French doors can fit virtually any application you desire.

Within our different product lines, CGI offers plenty of window and door options for all of your upcoming projects. Choose from our Estate Collection, Sentinel by CGIEstate Entrances  and our Commercial Collection  lines. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!