|Replacement Picture Window, Large Fixed Frame Windows|
|Large fixed window which provides an unimpeded view of the outdoors|
Replacement picture windows are large non-operable windows placed in a large opening which present an expansive view of the area surrounding the home.
 Picture Window
Replacement picture windows offer a wide, bright view of the outdoors. They generally have no moving hardware and may be placed in a window opening alone or over, under or to the side of operable windows. A picture window offers a feeling of spaciousness as the surrounding environment is easily viewed and enjoyed through the expansive window frame. Picture windows either do not include any glazing bars/muntins or include limited glazing bars which are placed along the edges of the window. This ensures that the picture window's effect is not broken by bars which may criss-cross the window. Many homeowners select a replacement picture window because they feel integrated with the environment outside when they look through their wide picture window.
 Venting Picture Windows
A venting picture window has the appearance of a fixed window but opens evenly on all sides to allow ventilation to enter the room from the window's sides. A lever on the side of the window shifts the window open in an inward and upward motion which is barely discernible to the people in the house. The window continues to provide an unobstructed view of the outdoors but the few inches of opening along the window's sides allows for air flow.
Picture windows are often included in the design of one of the home's central rooms, either the living room or the family room. Replacement picture windows can also be installed in a master bedroom, kitchen, dining room or any room in the house. Homeowners who are worried about security may order a covering door to close over the picture window at night or when the homeowners travel.
 Sizes and Shapes
Picture windows are appreciated for their simplicity. Picture windows are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes though they are generally fitted to large window openings which measure over three square feet. Homeowners can order replacement picture windows in square or rectangular shapes.
 Design Possibilities
Some homeowners prefer to include replacement picture windows with no interfering glazing bars to block the view while others like to add a small design element of glazing bars that are placed along the edges of the window.
The replacement picture window can be installed as a single unit or be installed above or below hopper or awning windows or in between double hung or casement windows. The operable venting picture window adds ventilation while the fixed picture window offers an opportunity to increase the room's light and provide a clear view of the outdoors.
Picture windows may be included as the center section of a bay window or the center or side sections of a bow window. These windows may also include side ventilating windows such as casements or double hungs so the unit offers adequate air flow along with the unimpeded view of a picture window.
In addition to the unobstructed view that a non-operable picture window offers, many homeowners choose a replacement picture window because, other than the venting picture window, picture windows are a less-expensive window option than an operable window.
 Energy Efficiency
The need for an energy efficient replacement picture window is even more acute than for smaller windows because of the size of the window. Both the window's framing and the glazing must offer good thermal insulation to resist temperature transfer and keep interior heating and cooling costs down. Replacement picture windows cover a large section of the wall. If they are not energy efficient they can cost the homeowner hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars annually in additional energy costs. The frame must fit snugly into the rough window opening and the frame's materials must be sturdy and durable -- any rotting or warping can spread and present a costly replacement expenditure.
Homeowners should investigate the replacement picture window's U-rating before making the purchase. The U-rating is an industry standard, recognized by the United States Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) rates windows' thermal insulation based on the windows' glazing, framing materials and spacers. Satisfactory U-ratings include U-factors of 0.30 or lower.
Properly insulated replacement picture windows can present a more expensive window purchase but industry observers note that these windows reduce energy costs by between seven and fifteen percent, allowing the homeowner to recoup the extra cost of the window in up to four years of use. Many states offer tax credits and tax rebates to homeowners who remodel using Energy Star windows.
Homeowners can look at replacement picture frame options when selecting an energy efficient picture window alternative. Options include vinyl frames, aluminum frames, composite frames, wood and wood clad frames and fiberglass frames.
Vinyl replacement picture windows offer a maintenance-free window alternative which meet the insulating requirements of Energy Star rated windows. They are available in a variety of framing colors and are considered a lower-cost window option.
Aluminum windows are another low-cost window framing alternative. New grades of aluminum frames offer durability and easy maintenance. Customers can find aluminum frame windows in a wide range of color options. Replacement aluminum frame picture windows should be checked to ascertain their U-rating since older grades of aluminum were once known to conduct cold, allowing moisture to build up along the interior frame.
Composite windows are a new framing alternative which feature low U-ratings. Composite window frames are manufactured using blends of materials including interior wood cladding over a fiberglass frame, wood chips blended with recycled plastic or wood veneers laid over vinyl frames. Composite window are available in a variety of colors. They require no additional maintenance after installation. Prices of composite window frames are dependent on the composite materials used.
 Wood and Wood Clad
Picture windows often occupy a central place in a home and many homeowners would like to include a traditional wood frame picture window in such a spot. Wood frames, however, can be problematic if they are not carefully maintained. Wood frames require annual varnishing or painting to prevent rotting and warping. Many wood frame manufacturers now offer aluminum clad wood frame replacement picture windows which display the wood frame in the home's interior while providing a factory-installed aluminum cladding on the home's exterior. The aluminum cladding is specially treated to offer a weather-resistant exterior window frame which requires no maintenance. Wood clad window frames are energy efficient window alternatives.
Fiberglass frames are a durable framing alternative which offer a high degree of thermal insulation for a replacement picture window. Fiberglass frames are a more costly window option but have a reputation in the industry as durable and maintenance free. Fiberglass frames are available in a range of color options.
In addition to the framing materials, the U-rating is based on the thermal insulating properties of a replacement picture window's glazing. Homeowners must take the window's glazing properties into consideration when selecting an energy efficient window. Homeowners have a number of alternatives for well-insulated window options when considering the window's glazing.
 Multi-Pane Glazing
Many window manufacturers of vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, wood clad and composite window frames offer multi-pane glazing to increase the window's insulation capabilities. These glazing alternatives include double and triple paned glass frames which slow the transfer of heat through the glass panes. Triple pane windows are especially appropriate for homeowners who are remodeling a home in an extreme climate.
 Insulating Gas
An additional insulating possibility involves insulating gases which many manufacturers feature. The gases, either argon or krypton gas, is pumped in between the panes of a multi-pane window. The gas slows the transfer of heat and presents further insulation for the window.
 Low-E Coating
Low-E (Low-Emissivity) coating is available through many window manufacturers. The manufacturer coats an invisible layer of metallic oxide -- the Low-E -- on to the window's glass while the window is still in the factory. The Low-E coating helps control heat transfer caused by the sun's rays. Including a Low-E coating on a replacement picture window can reduce the window's energy loss by as much as 30% - 50%. Customers must special order a Low-E coating.
Most homeowners purchase a replacement picture window because it offers an unobstructed view of the outdoors. Operable picture windows have a lever on the side of the window that shifts the window outward a few inches but no additional hardware or other accessories are needed.
Grilles are not suggested for a picture window but some homeowners may wish to order a picture window with glazing bars factory-installed along the window's edges for a more attractive look.