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A complete picture windows guide for novices

We bet you have seen big panoramic windows in stylish contemporary home designs, luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, and high-floor offices. They are wide enough and fixed to let you enjoy an unobstructed view. Windows of this type are especially amazing when they overlook some fascinating sceneries. However, to decide whether they will fit your home's style and practical requirements, you should dive deeper into their types, prices, and distinctive features. This guide is made to give you a clear picture window's definition, answer the most frequently asked questions about this window type, and provide an overview of its average costs. Keep reading to dot all the i's and cross all the t's.

A complete picture windows guide for novices

What is a picture window?

Windows of this type are called pictured for a reason. They are wide, frameless, and usually set in the middle of the wall, presenting a panoramic view of the outer area. You can look at them as if you look at the big picture in the art gallery. 

Installation of a replacement picture window would be an excellent idea for homeowners whose houses are placed in picturesque areas like a seashore or a forest. The large glass panes with low-profile frames maximize the view and allow ample sunlight into the home. Picture windows are stationary. That is why they are often installed in combination with operable units of the same size. You can often see picture windows framed by double-hung or casement units on the sides. This allows you to enjoy breathtaking views and bask in the sunlight during the daytime without compromising ventilation.

Picture window sizes

Picture windows come in standard and custom sizes. Everything depends on your needs and budget. If you want to install a standard picture window, combining it with double- or single-hung ones, you should expect a size range of 28 inches to 36 inches wide and 52 to 74 inches tall. If you match awning or casement windows with your primary picture one, a range of 20 inches to 24 inches wide and 24 inches to 48 inches tall is preferred.

Please note that picture windows can always be custom fit according to your ceiling height and available wall space. Consult your local window contractor about the required configurations.

What are the primary types of picture windows?

Fortunately, today's market offers an ample choice of picture windows. You can always pick the right option depending on your interior style and functioning needs. Selecting a picture window could be much simpler when you know all the key styles of this window type and their distinctive features. 

  • Picture window with side windows

A combination of a picture window in the middle and other window styles by the sides is one of the most widespread and functional solutions seen today. By the way, side units can also be stationary if you put a premium on a dramatic view rather than functionality. However, if the room size does not allow you to install operable windows on the opposite wall, your choice is to surround your main picture window with two operable ones.

  • Custom picture windows

Picture units installed in spacious areas that look more like ballrooms than living rooms are almost always customized. They have non-standard sizes and forms and are constructed according to the homeowner's personal preference. And on the contrary, if you have limited space but cannot imagine your comfort living without a wide picture window, you can size it down to ensure it fits into the wall. 

  • Fully operable picture windows

These windows are not available on the mass market, but you can always custom-make them. Operable picture windows costs are high, yet they are worth the investment as you get the best of both worlds - remarkable view and regular airflow. 

  • Picture window with grids

Picture windows of this type are equipped with grid panes on both sides, making them appear more traditional and classic. This option is your best bet if your home's style fits with wide gridded windows. The shape and material of these picture windows can be customized according to your room's size and style. 

The best frame materials for replacement picture windows

You may wonder how one can ensure a perfect window look, functionality, and energy-saving qualities. The answer is to pick the right window frame material. Below you will find the top frame materials recommended for picture windows.

  • Vinyl picture windows

Vinyl is an affordable and long-lasting material resistant to extreme temperatures and precipitation. Nevertheless, if you're not looking to skimp on your replacement window project, it's recommended to pick wooden or fiberglass frames as they look more attractive in classic and elegant interior designs.

  • Aluminum picture windows

This is one of the most popular frame options when it comes to classic picture windows. Aluminum is a robust and long-lasting material that comes in different finishes, creating a polished look. Picture windows with metal frames can be easily integrated into classic and modern interiors, making them a versatile option for different homes.

  • Wooden picture windows

Wooden frames are made from elite varieties of natural wood like red oak, fir, pine, maple, and mahogany. They look classic, adding a touch of luxury sophistication to the home's design. Wooden picture windows are generally the most expensive of all types, yet they can not guarantee timeless quality as aluminum and fiberglass ones. Wood is prone to rot and can be weathering over time.

  • Fiberglass picture windows

Most homeowners choose picture windows made of fiberglass as they're the most cost-efficient out there. They offer a wide array of styles, mimicking natural materials like wood while being much cheaper and offering better durability. Besides, fiberglass windows ensure ideal insulation that helps to keep energy bills low.

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What are the pros and cons of getting new replacement picture windows?


  • Unobstructed view. Massive picture windows are one of a few options offering such an expansive view on the front, back, or side yard. They aren't mulled and have thin frames, making them best for enjoying outdoor scenery.
  • Aesthetic appeal. Picture windows add a refined style to any interior. They may serve as a focal point in your home, drawing the attention of every person who comes inside.
  • Plentiful light. What can be better than staying in a room flooded with sunlight? Picture windows allow you to be closer to nature while staying at home. They let in lots of natural light, making a room brighter and your mood better.
  • Versatility. Picture windows come in multiple sizes, materials, and shapes that allow you to experiment and get the most suitable option for your home. Thanks to their versatility, these units can be seen everywhere, from luxury mansions to offices and apartments.
  • Insulation. As most picture windows are fixed, they offer better insulation, allowing you to forget about drafts and leaks for good. Combined with weather-resistant frame material, these windows can serve for years to come without additional insulation.


  • Lack of ventilation. Ordinary picture windows are always stationary, which means they cannot be opened to let fresh air into the room. However, to solve this issue, you can always combine them with casement, awning, or double-hung windows. 
  • Difficult to maintain. As we said before, picture windows are fixed and cannot be opened from the inside to fix or clean. All maintenance works can be held only from the outside, which might become a problem if you live on a high floor. 

How much does a picture window cost?

The cost of a picture unit depends on a range of criteria, namely frame style and material, size, type of glass, and combination with other window styles. All these factors can make the final quote exorbitant, especially if you need custom window dimensions. That is why it's crucial to explore the market of local window professionals and get multiple estimates before making a purchase. The convenient way to do that is by using a contractor-matching service like MyHomeQuote. We offer a free and efficient solution to every homeowner who seeks a professional window contractor in their neighborhood. Just leave your request with us and get as many as five free quotes from vetted window pros operating nearby. This way, you will save yourself from overpaying for window manufacturing and installation services. 

What about the average cost for a replacement picture window in 2022, you should expect to pay from $700 to $1.500 and more per labor and materials. The larger the pane you seek, the higher its initial price will be. Thus, picture window prices start at $1.750 for custom 8-foot x 4-foot options. 

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