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Porthole Windows for Nautical Design Lovers

There is no better window to complement, or even catalyze, a nautical-themed den, lounge, bathroom or basement than a porthole window. Whether you’re 20,000 leagues under the sea or practicing your sheepshank knot, a porthole is your best window to the outside world.

Not only that, but porthole windows can fit in tight spaces and come in a variety of styles. They go excellently with wooden interior paneling, especially a shiplap (go figure) veneer, for example. Porthole windows aren’t typically operational, however, but boast heightened energy efficiency because of their simple glass-in-metal design.

Porthole Styles

Portholes may be clear, obscure, tinted or any number of stained glass options. They can also be reclaimed, not only from old homes but from old sailing ships, yachts and other boats.

Window Sizes

Size matters as well. Porthole windows elicit a sense of simplicity and small size. We picture a sailor’s head peering into the dark outdoors through a small hole in his submarine, but larger porthole windows are certainly available for the home. These may be best suited to upstairs lofts, attic rooms or anywhere you want a stylistic view. Larger portholes can even be operational with hinges, mullions and more ornate casings.

Smaller versions work in finished basements or at high points on vaulted walls, where the goal is increased natural light more so than viewpoint.

Installation

Porthole windows fall under the vintage category - and for good reason. The invoke a time when sailing the open seas was our main mode of intercontinental transportation and coastal cities were our main societal hubs (and arguably still are). Still, despite all these seafaring analogies, porthole windows can be incorporated into just about any design or home style, although installation can be quite tricky.

As much as doing it yourself may be tempting, a general rule of thumb for projects as intricate as installing a porthole windows is to find a reputable and experienced contractor to do the work. You won’t regret the longevity, waterproofing, and of course, beauty of your professionally installed porthole window

There is no better window to complement, or even catalyze, a nautical-themed den, lounge, bathroom or basement than a porthole window. Whether you’re 20,000 leagues under the sea or just love the architectural interest of a specialty window, a porthole is your greatest view to the outside world. So let’s get started.

Costs

Porthole windows vary greatly in price depending on the size, manufacturer, cost of installation, and whether it is a vintage window or one purchased from the local home improvement store. Do your research to determine what works best for your project, and ask a contractor in your area for specific cost estimates—they’re also qualified to help you with federal tax rebates and energy efficiency incentives in your state.

Pros

Portholes go excellently with wood interior paneling and vintage-style décor.

Porthole windows boast heightened energy efficiency because of their simple glass-in-metal design.

They come in a wide variety of styles to fit any room.

Cons

Since porthole windows are considered vintage, they can be challenging to install.

These windows aren’t typically operational.

Durability

Because most portholes aren’t made to be open-and-close windows, they are made to be extremely durable. However, a correct, tightly sealed installation is the only way to ensure that they last for years to come.

Maintenance

Porthole windows require much the same maintenance as other traditional windows—mostly regular cleaning. If the window is operable, it’s also important to ensure that the mechanical elements are working well.

Common Questions and Answers

What are the different porthole styles available?

Portholes may be clear, obscure, tinted, or any number of stained glass options. They can also be reclaimed, not only from homes, but from old sailing ships, yachts, and other boats as well.

Are all porthole windows small?

No, they actually come in a variety of sizes. Large porthole windows are available for places like lofts and attic rooms. They can even be made operational with hinges, mullions and more ornate casings. Smaller porthole windows work best in finished basem

History

Porthole windows have a long history of providing ships and submarines with light and air. They are also used on spacecrafts, although those are obviously designed to remain closed at all times.

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