How to Choose the Right Windows for a Tiny House

How to Choose the Right Windows for a Tiny House

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choose the right window for a tiny house

“My favorite journey is looking out the window.” – Edward Gorey

Windows don’t just give us a clear outside view but also warmth, ventilation, and light. Some types of windows can even help reduce energy costs. No wonder why it’s important to consider windows when building or buying a tiny house. 

So, how do you choose the right windows for a tiny house?

Several factors come into play when selecting windows, including energy efficiency, design, durability, and cost. And so, you must pick the type of window that ticks all the boxes. 

Read further as we help you get a better understanding of how to choose the right window for a tiny house. 

Choosing the Right Windows for a Tiny House

Windows play an important role in any homes — big or small. They allow fresh air to fill your room up, give you warmth during cold nights, and even protect you from uninvited visitors, such as bugs, snakes, and culprit. 

We can’t stress enough how vital it is that you choose the perfect kind of window for your tiny house that can last long and withstand harsh weather conditions, all the while helping you save energy and giving your home a nice touch. 

Without further ado, here are the factors that you need to consider when choosing the right window:

Energy Efficiency

The tiny house concept alone already helps you save energy and go greener. But you can reduce even more power by using energy-efficient windows. 

Unlike regular windows, the design of energy-saving windows prevents heat or cold air from escaping from your home. As a result, the insulation increases and, at the same time, reduces your tiny home’s energy usage. And logically, the less energy you use, the lower your utility bill will be. 

Not just that, energy-saving windows make your home more comfortable — thanks to their unique structural design and coating.

Standard windows use only a single glass pane. The glass conducts heat in and out of your tiny house. Regular windows also cause heat loss if they are made of conductive material like aluminum or if they are not properly sealed. 

On the other hand, energy-efficient windows use multiple panes of glass, which helps minimize heat transfer because of the insulating air spaces between the panes. 

Energy-saving windows also have low-emissivity coatings (or Low-E coatings) to control heat transfers. When applied to outside glass panes, the Low-E coatings will keep your tiny home cooler even under intense heat by reflecting sunlight. 

In the winter, Low-E coatings installed on interior panes maintain the temperature inside your hose by preventing heat from escaping. 

A window with Energy Star label hs met federal requirements for energy efficiency. 

According to Energy Star, a typical household spends $2,000 a year on energy bills. By using energy-saving household items, you can save $30 on your energy bill and avoid over 5,500 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. 

It’s not difficult to look for energy-saving windows. You’d know if the window is energy efficient if there is an Energy Star symbol in it.

Durability

You want a long-lasting window that can endure changing weather conditions and adapt to various environments. However, the durability of a window does not have a guarantee. But there are things you can do to ensure you choose the right window for a tiny house that has reliable strength and durability. 

  • Study the design and workmanship of the window. 
  • Rely on recommendations from others who have used the same window. 
  • Consult experienced builders and architects. 
  • As with other products, the warranty often indicates how reliable and durable a window is. 

Take note, too, that your location can impact the durability of your window. For example, if you live near the ocean, the salt may degrade your materials. 

When you shop for windows, give attention to:

  • Insulating glass seals;
  • Frame and sashes;
  • Weatherstripping

You may also want to check if your locality has set requirements for structural integrity. 

There are different types of frame materials; each has good and bad sides.

Aluminum, for example, is strong and durable but conducts heat. And because of that, condensation and frost can quickly form in aluminum. 

Wood is easy to repair and maintain, but it is susceptible to rot. You can prevent the wood from rotting by protecting it with exterior finish and cladding. 

Vinyl is another frame type that offers style. It’s moisture-resistant and low maintenance. However, it tends to expand or contract due to the changing temperature. 

Polymer composites are stable and can resist decay compared to regular wood. 

Fiberglass is durable, reliable, and stable. 

Pick a frame type that matches your tiny house design and budget. 

Glass – Tempered or not?

The ideal glass to use in windows is that with Low-E coating. It saves energy and is standard nowadays. 

A question arises. Should I opt for tempered glass or not? 

A lot of tiny house builders use tempered glass as it’s less likely to break during bumps and vibrations when traveling. 

Is tempered glass necessary? To get a tempered glass or not is totally up to you. Some tiny house dwellers choose to temper, while others stick to normal, untempered glass. 

It’s worth noting that tempered glass may add a considerable amount to the cost of a window. The larger the window, the pricier it can be.

Cost

Clearly, topnotch windows can cost top dollar. As with any products, you get what you pay for. If you’re not willing to spend big on your windows, then you might be getting yourself inefficient and flimsy windows. 

The cost of your windows also varies depending on the design, frame type, structure, and quantity. 

Vinyl windows are generally cheaper than the other frame types. Fiberglass, aluminum, and all-wood windows have almost the same price range. 

Here’s a friendly tip: purchase the type of window that matches the design of your tiny house, has reliable quality, and meets your budget. 

Types of Windows for a Tiny House

Choosing the right window for a tiny house involves selecting the right type of window that fits the structure of your home and your needs. 

There are different types of windows, meaning you have options to choose from. Each is unique and offers advantages over the other. 

One of the secrets to making a tiny room look big and spacious is to incorporate mirrors and windows and lots of natural light. 

But because the market is bombarded with so many window brands (and many styles within these brands), selecting the right window type has become a rather overwhelming task. 

It helps when you’re familiar with the different types of windows so you can narrow your list when shopping for windows. 

Bay Windows

right window for a tiny house bay window

A bay window is typically polygonal, rectangular, or arc-shaped. It has three openings in angled projection. The structure of the window is projecting outward from the main walls, thus forming a bay in a room. 

Bay windows are usually large and involve a window seat. A bay window essentially changes the shape of your home, which can be a major concern in a tiny house. 

If you want a bay window for your tiny home, you may need to rework the siding, flooring, and roof of your house. 

Beautify your bay window with a curtain using this Decopolitan Drapery Bay Window Curtain Rod Set.

Awning Windows

Awning windows are hinged on top and swing outward to allow ventilation while protecting you from the rain. They are usually placed high on walls for privacy or a better view. 

In tiny homes, awning windows are perfect in a sleeping loft to ensure proper cross breeze, no matter the weather conditions. 

Awning windows usually cost anywhere from $300 to $900 per window. The price varies according to size, design, and structure. 

Sliding Windows

right window for a tiny house sliding window

Sliding windows (also called gliding windows) have one or more sashes that slide along metal tracks of the frame. The tracks can be made of wood or vinyl, and the sashes have nylon rollers both on the bottom and top. 

Gliding windows are perfect for spaces that are wider than they are tall. They also have more glass and less frame, giving your home class and elegance. 

And because they feature expansive glass, it gives the illusion of a large room. The wide glass also allows light to enter your room, so you can reduce your usage of lightbulbs, and, therefore, lower your electricity bill.

Sliding windows are smooth to open. You can also easily lift the window out for easy cleaning of the exterior glass even if you’re inside your home. 

Skylights

Skylights make for the best window if you want to provide your tiny house with ventilation and daylighting. 

right window for a tiny house skylights

They allow natural light to enter your home, making your space feel much bigger than it is. And there’s no denying, skylights are cool to look at. 

You can also use skylights to enter or exit your house. The front door is the easiest and most ideal entrance and exit to use, of course. But in case of emergencies, a fire, for example, where the door is inaccessible, you can immediately squeeze yourself out through the skylight. 

Skylights can also bring heat into your house, which is, for the most part, great for those who live in a cold place. 

What most people love about skylights is that you can lie in bed with an unobstructed view of the vast night’s sky. Feast your eyes to the gazillion stars that shimmer and shine. Really, skylights are perfect for those who love to stargaze.

Get yourself a durable skylight window. Check this Sunoptics SUN R2030.

Transom Windows

A transom window, as the name implies, is a window installed above the transom of a door. 

Also called a fanlight, a transom window is useful in separating the frame of the window from the frame of a door. For the most part, transoms are mainly decorative. 

Some use transom windows not because they need them but only because they are structurally beautiful. 

Tiny house dwellers, though, use transom windows for lighting and ventilation more than for decoration. 

You can open the fanlight for cross-ventilation or for letting the light enter above the room door. However, some transom windows on the market today usually don’t open as they are more intended to be decorative. 

Accordion Windows

Space matters in tiny houses. And to save space, your household items and fixtures should have features that allow you to fold or stow them away to allow more space when needed. 

Accordion windows, as the name implies, work like an accordion. You can fold them to open your window wide and allow the breeze to enter your home. Closing them is also a piece of cake. 

There are also accordion windows that are used as doors or dividers. When used as a door, they are typically floor-to-ceiling high, giving you a panoramic view of the outside. 

Storm Windows

Storm windows are mounted either outside or inside of the main glass windows. They can be made of glass, flexible plastic sheets, or rigid plastic panels. 

right window for a tiny house storm window

Storm windows can improve the thermal insulation of your tiny house. It is also a great fixture to improve soundproofing.

But most importantly, storm windows protect your home against damage to costly glass panes during bad weather, such as hail or heavy storm. 

In cold climates, storm windows can reduce heat loss by up to 50%. Hence, they help make your home more comfortable and lets you reduce heating costs. 

Replacing Your Windows

If you already have existing windows and wish to upgrade or replace them, then this guide is for you. 

When to Update Your Existing Windows

Updating your existing windows is not entirely necessary, especially if they are still in good condition. However, there are things you can do to improve their efficiency to increase the comfort of your tiny house and reduce your energy costs. 

right window for a tiny house window blinds
Using window blinds can help reduce your energy usage without having to replace the window
  • Inspect your existing windows for air leaks. 
  • Weatherize your window by adding caulk or weatherstripping. 
  • Add window coverings and treatments to reduce energy loss through the windows. Shades, quilts, and window films are a few examples you can use. 
  • Install storm windows or panels for added protection. 
  • Use awnings or blinds to lower energy loss. 

Selecting Window Tips

Sometimes, improving the efficiency of your window doesn’t do the job well. If so, replacing your windows might be a better solution. 

When selecting windows, consider these:

  • Purchase windows that meet the Energy Code and have an Energy Star label on them. These types of windows are energy-saving. 
  • Make sure the windows have Efficient Properties on the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label. 
  • Choose a durable window that can last long. 
  • Ensure your windows are correctly installed. If you’re installing them by yourself, make sure they are tight and do not have leaks. Otherwise, the energy-saving feature won’t be that much of a help. 

Installation of Windows for a Tiny House

A window can only perform well if it is properly installed. 

Quality installation is vital to ensure the window is airtight fit. Poorly installed windows are susceptible to leaking, drafts, water damage, and condensation. 

You can hire professionals to do the job, or you can do it yourself. If you choose the latter option, make sure to follow the recommendations and guides from the manufacturer. 

If you wish to hire quality installers, you can ask the manufacturer of the product. Chances are that they have a professional crew who can do the job well as they know all the nuts and bolts of installing their product. Or, the manufacturer may have a team to recommend. 

Final Takeaway

Choosing the right window for a tiny house is critical. With the right windows, you can reduce your energy costs, get better daylighting, and acquire better protection. 

There are several types of windows to choose from. Select the type of window that’s cost-effective and matches the structure and style of your tiny home. 

If you have existing windows in good condition, taking steps to improve their efficiency can go a long way. 

Related Questions

How much does window replacement cost per window?

According to HomeGuide, the average window replacement cost is anywhere between $400 and $1,000 per window. Most homeowners spend $400 to $600 on average. 

Is it worth it to replace windows?

Window replacements are a good investment. When you upgrade to energy-saving windows, you can reduce your energy costs and be more comfortable in your home. 

All About Tiny Houses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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