Fixed or Picture Windows – Is There Any Difference?

Having so many different window styles to pick out from when doing window replacement might be a bit overwhelming for Canadian homeowners. And this is even more true when you consider so similar Fixed and Picture windows.

Do these styles mean the same? Or you can expect different benefits and installation requirements when shopping for these? And what is better when considering Fixed vs Picture windows for your renovation project? Let’s find out!

What Are Picture Windows?

These are large, stationary units with low-profile frames to maximize the glass area and provide homeowners with the best-unobstructed view outside. Usually, homeowners strive to install picture windows in the living room or in rooms where ventilation is not the priority since these units can not be opened.

Can You Combine Picture Windows With Other Styles?

Absolutely! Picture windows can be easily installed on their own, or you can go further and custom them to match and combine with other windows to enhance the design or ventilation capabilities in the room.

If you want to get the best combo, then install a picture window in the center for energy efficiency and two flanking windows – double-hung, sliding, casement, or awning windows. As a result, you will get bay windows that are superb in terms of energy efficiency, ventilation and perfectly complement your exterior.

Where to Place Picture Windows for Maximum Efficiency?

Picture windows are usually installed to showcase and improve a beautiful view of the outside, e.g., of your backyard or garden. Another objective to go for these units is to increase the amount of daylight in your home. So the most popular placement options for picture windows within your house include:

  • In the living room
  • Above the kitchen sink
  • In the dining room
  • In the master bedroom

Install picture windows if:

  • You want expansive views
  • The aesthetic of your home is your top priority
  • You want the house to appear larger
  • You need more natural light to make rooms brighter

Picture windows are not for you if:

  • You need windows that open
  • You want more ventilation
  • You strive for easy maintenance windows


What Are Fixed Windows?

Fixed windows usually look similar to their counterpart – picture windows – except larger and thicker frames.

Their bigger frames are used to match the sightlines of neighbouring operational windows. In addition, such frames provide a bolder and more defined look. The units are also non-operable hence proving no ventilation.

Because of their larger frames, the glass area isn’t as huge as that one of the picture windows. But fixed windows still provide much light and excellent unobstructed views as opposed to other window styles.

What Is a Good Placement for Fixed Windows?

Fixed windows look perfect in any room, but homeowners mostly install them in:

  • living rooms
  • dining rooms
  • family rooms
  • bathrooms
  • tall hallways and rooms with vaulted ceilings.

What can you expect from your new fixed windows:

  • Much natural light
  • Perfect, unobstructed views
  • Easy maintenance – no need to replace any components
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Excellent energy-efficiency
  • Bold, defined frames that are perfect for adding architectural interest to contemporary houses

Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Fixed windows can not be open
  • Lack of ventilation
  • No opportunity to clean the exterior side from indoors
  • Can not be used for egress

What to Remember When Shopping for Picture or Fixed Windows?

New windows always bring joy and improve your home, but only if you buy the best products and install them correctly. When shopping for the new picture or fixed units, keep in mind to:

  • Buy only Energy Star-rated units
  • Ask if your news units are NAFS-11 tested to comply with the industry standards
  • Get the units that will perfectly match your exterior
  • Deal only with a reliable window company that follows your local building code and properly consults you regarding the upcoming window replacement project.

The Bottom Line

If you have read this article till the end, you should know that picture and fixed windows share almost the same features and the exact drawbacks compared to other operable window styles.

The main difference between these 2 units lies in the frames. While a fixed window has a thicker frame, a picture window offers a slimmer one.

This allows for more aesthetics and symmetry, providing the opportunity to combine picture windows with many other window styles to get the desired combo. 

Both window styles provide the ultimate unobstructed views, allow for much daylight and are excellent in terms of energy efficiency. 

Home Base Project Team
Home Base Project Team
At The Home Base Project, we offer practical, real-life tips and inspiration about DIY, decorating and gardening. The Home Base Project provide the best information about home renovation and design, connecting home design enthusiasts and home professionals across the world.