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Awning Windows

Let the Air In, Keep the Rain Out

awning windowsAs their name suggests, awning windows open outward at a horizontal angle. Styles vary somewhat as to the placement of hinges and latches; many current models open with cranks, though some simply push open. They’re a mainstay of traditional architectural styles, but also work well in other settings.

Awning windows can be used alone or in combination with other windows or doors. They’re often placed above or below a fixed (picture) window to allow ventilation without blocking the view. They’re the perfect window for rainy days, as their awning-like angle lets in fresh air but keeps the rain out of your home; correctly placed, they can also be an excellent option for letting light and fresh air into your bathroom, letting steam out, and maintaining privacy.

Whether you prefer wood, fiberglass, vinyl or aluminum, you’ll be able to find awning windows in many styles and sizes to fit your taste and your budget. Leading manufacturers including Andersen, Marvin, Milgard, Pella and Silver Line offer awning window options as part of many of their product lines. Since awning windows are often placed high in the wall and spend much of their lives open, you might also want to consider opting for self-cleaning glass for the exterior surface; if dust and crud accumulate on the glass in the horizontal position, rain or a quick squirt of the hose is all it takes to get the window clean.

When you’re planning your project, ask your window contractor whether awning windows are right for you. He’ll be able to offer you design suggestions, advise you about the best choices for your needs, and make sure the installation is done as it should be.

Designed to provide fresh breezes and just enough privacy, awning windows are a mainstay of traditional architectural styles. People love them for their ability to ventilate homes while also shielding from rain. Read on to learn if awning windows are the right fit for you.


On average, awning windows will cost anywhere from $350 to $1,050 per window, depending on the size, type and cost of labor. Window installations require licensed window contractors; it is not a suitable DIY project. Contact a professional window installer in your area for specific cost estimates, advice on selecting window brands, as well as info about tax credits and incentives in your state.


They maximize ventilation but still block rainwater from coming inside.

Can be positioned anywhere—next to windows, arranged in columns, or placed above patio doors and picture windows.

Awning windows are great for bedrooms and other areas that need to maintain privacy but still let some light in.


Screens for awning windows are set on the inside, so you may end up with some dirt on your floors.

Awnings that are within reach from the exterior ground of the home can pose a security risk.

If you’re installing an awning high up, consider self-cleaning glass for the exterior surface. Otherwise, cleaning is a tougher task.


Generally considered a durable window option, it depends primarily on the quality of the window itself (and the manufacturer making it). In addition, the type of material used is important — vinyl and fiberglass, for instance, are considered very durable options.


The upkeep required for awning windows is simple and generally hassle free:

  1. Disengage the rod from the sash by opening the sash approximately 5 inches, grabbing the rod where it attaches. Then, lift upward to remove the plastic piece from the sash bracket.
  2. Put the operator arm in the closed position, pull the sash inward and place something in between to keep the window open as you clean.
  3. Wipe away lose dirt and debris, and then wipe the surface of the window with a dry cloth.
  4. Apply a window cleaner and scrub streaks.
  5. Remove with a squeegee or soft cloth.

Common Questions and Answers

How do awning windows open?

As their name suggests, awning windows open outward at a horizontal angle. Styles vary somewhat as to the placement of hinges and latches; many current models open with cranks, thought some simply push open.

What architectural styles work well with awning windows?

They have been used in traditional architectural styles across the country, but also work well in other settings.


Awning windows became the window of choice for manufacturing plants and schools that were built between 1920 and 1950. From the 1940s to the 1960s, they were also very prevalent in homes.

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