Learning Center » Windows

Bow Window Installation

Difference between Bow and Bay window

A bay window usually has three openings available in angled projections, and the bow window typically has four or five openings. A bay window’s general structure consists of a picture window and two other windows on either side, that are usually smaller. In contrast, a bow window structure is curved and creates a rounded appearance on the outside.

However, a bow window can be an excellent alternative to a traditional bay window, because it doesn’t have sharp angles jutting from your home. This kind of window curves outward, and it is shaped like a bubble.

Since these windows are very heavy, the hardest part will be placing them. You will need another worker with you to help. You can generally finish this project in a few hours.

Step 1

First, you need to build a frame with the 2×4 boards. You will place these against the ceiling several feet back from where the actual window will be. You can make a header using the 2×8 lumber.

Step 2

Now make a rough frame for the opening. The size of this depends on the size of the window. You should use double studs on each side of the header for better support.

Step 3

Have another person help you climb the window into the frame. Use shims in order to level the window under the footboard. Then nail through the extension jambs with the 10 penny nails into the framing studs. 

Step 4

First, measure the window height. Nail studs to the double studs you created before to install a sill. It doesn’t have to be done perfectly; it’s just a rough version now.

Step 5

By using cables to secure this through the screw eyes, set it into the rafter tails and tighten the cables for security. Maybe you’ll need to install an exterior knee brace under the window to add support. This depends on the size of the window and what the particular manufacturer recommends.

Step 6

Pull the support cables from under the footboard through the headboard. Some windows will have the support cables built-in or provided with the window when you buy it. If not, you need to buy them separately.

Step 7

Install flashing to the sides and the bottom of the window on the outside. You need to take your time with this because poorly-installed flashing can increase the danger of leakage and other damage. Once you have installed the flashing, you can add the interior jambs. After that, you can insulate around the window using fiberglass insulation.

Step 8

Your window still needs some finishing touches. When you add interior trim or molding, you are ready for window treatments.

Although this isn’t the easiest project, the result is really worth the effort, since bow windows can really look amazing and provide more light in your space.

Do you need help installing a bow window? We can help you! Schedule a free demonstration here.

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