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What are Picture Windows?

Expert Overview

  1. Picture windows are perfect for maximizing a great view or bringing light into a room.
  2. Picture windows are made of a single pane of glass and do not open.
  3. Picture windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

A picture window is exactly what it sounds like: a window that creates an unobstructed picture of your outside surroundings. A picture window consists of a single pane of glass without any rails to obstruct the view.

Also known as fixed windows—because they don't open —picture windows let in lots of light. A picture window is a great way to bring the outdoors inside, because it gives the feeling of being inside the view.

Homeowners use picture windows strategically--to take advantage of a great view, to open up a room, and connect it to the outdoors.

Pros and cons of picture windows


  • Maximize a great view. You can’t beat a picture window for offering unobstructed views of the landscape.
  • Plentiful light. Use a picture window anywhere that needs more natural light, such as a cramped stairway.
  • Airtight. A picture window is airtight, so you won't have to worry about drafts or leaks.
  • Versatile. Picture windows come in many shapes and sizes.


  • No ventilation. Because picture windows don't open, they don't offer any ventilation.
  • Challenging to clean. The exterior of the pane can only be cleaned from the outside.
  • No emergency escape. Since the window doesn’t open, it can’t be used for an emergency escape.

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