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Should A Garage Have Windows?

A garage is a great addition to just about every home. Whether attached to the house or detached, a garage can provide all sorts of features like extra storage, a place to work on the car, or even additional living space. A good design is important to ensure you get everything you need. In this article we’ll answer one of the most common questions we’re asked. Should a garage have windows?

All the best looking garages we’ve built have windows. They let in lots of natural light, add ventilation and make your garage look like part of the home. Even simple storage sheds these days come with windows. In the past, garages were built without windows because of security concerns. And that can still be an issue for some if you live in a bad area. However, if you install a good quality window, they’re very secure and near impossible to open when locked. Considering all the benefits there’s really no reason not to include windows into your garage design.

If your building a new garage and thinking of whether or not to include windows then this article can help. We’ll be discussing all the pros and cons of garage windows as well as some tips and lots of pictures.

beautiful garage windows with dormers and metal roof

Beautiful garage design featuring 1st and second floor windows. Notice how the windows help create a seamless look between the house and garage. Does a garage need windows? No, but they’re a great addition.

Types Of Garage Windows

When your designing a garage there are a few different areas that can have windows. You’ll need to make a decision about each one so we’ll discuss them all ahead. The garage windows you can install are:

  • Garage Door Windows: Garage doors can be installed with built in windows. These can be clear glass or frosted and are inoperable
  • Wall Windows: These are just like the windows in your house. They can be operable if you want some added ventilation or inoperable if all you want is more light.
  • Skylights: Just as with wall windows, skylights can be either operable or inoperable. They even make them powered by remote control and with shades if your roof is too high to reach.
  • Glass Entry Doors: While these aren’t technically windows we thought they should be included since they can be glass and basically do everything a window does. You can open them to increase ventilation, add a screen door if you want and they let in plenty of light.

Within each type shown above you’ve still got lots of choices. Windows can be double hung or casement. Doors can be single, french, sliding or folding. Skylights come in a variety of shapes, sizes and design. And you’ll find with garage doors you’ve got hundreds of options.

Most homeowners we build for are surprised at how many garage windows options there are to choose from.

large 3 car garage with windows dormers red brick siding

Large garage’s need windows to break up the design. Without them the garage roof would look like a long boring rectangle. Side a rear garage windows match the homes style which creates a unified look.

Advantages Of Garage Windows

If you’ve ever been in a garage and felt like something was missing it was probably windows and natural light. A garage without any windows can feel dark and dreary like a tomb. It can be an uncomfortable feeling being in a room that’s totally sealed. Even most basements have small foundation windows that let in some light.

Are you wondering if you should add some windows to your garage design? We would definitely recommend it but there are some pros and cons to consider before you start. Let’s look at all the benefits first.

Garage Windows Add Curb Appeal

One of the biggest and most noticeable reasons people install windows in their garage is aesthetics. A garage with windows provides far more curb appeal than one without. It makes the garage feel a part of the home.

Some homeowners finish the garage very simply without much thought but that’s a missed opportunity. You can carry the architectural details on the home into the design simply by adding a few windows that match the home.

Consider some dormers if you really want to dress up the garage. They let in tons of light and really make that garage stand out from the curb.

Windows Tie The Home And Garage Styles Together

Creating a seamless look between the home and garage is much easier when you add matching windows. The garage should never look tacked on to the house which is something we commonly see. Especially when we look at poorly designed detached garages. Designers spend all their time styling the house but ignore the garage. It’s a big mistake because you generally see the garage from the curb too.

Even if you’ve got a detached garage hidden in the backyard it’s still a part of the home and it should be styled accordingly.

It is easy to install a few windows that match the rest of your house, or even ones that highlight certain architectural features. This is especially important when you are adding a door to a detached garage and would like to make your building to blend better with your house.

Garage Windows Provide Natural Light

Even though this is a garage it still doesn’t have to feel like a dungeon. Garage’s typically don’t include that many recessed lights or fixtures either so the room will feel dark day and night.

Wouldn’t it be nice not having to switch on the light every time you go into the garage? And you won’t have to raise your garage door to let in daylight anymore either. It’s one of the practical benefits to installing garage windows.

Windows allow natural light in. It’s important if you plan to use your garage for anything other than a large storage shed. And even if it just a large shed even they typically include a window or two. No matter how you look at it more light is generally considered a good thing.

Variety

Garage windows are available in all sorts of sizes, styles and designs including windows built into the garage doors.

Because of this you’ll have the benefits of ventilation and natural light along with a better looking exterior that’s potentially as good looking as the house. With so many options it’s possible to blend your garage style seamlessly with the house to create one cohesive look. The last thing you want is a garage that feels tacked on or out of place.

huge detached garage with windows and doors

Garage’s with living space of course need windows and doors. Some garages have lofts or 2nd floor apartments as big as a small house. Without windows it would feel a bit claustrophobic.

Disadvantages Of Garage Windows

Including garage windows has a lot of benefits, but as with anything you use on the home there are still a few potential drawbacks. Although these are all very rare they’re still a possibility worth considering. And the good news is each concern generally has an easy fix. We’ll discuss those below.

Security Hazard

A concern some people have when it comes to garage windows is security. Every opening you add to an exterior wall is a way thieves can get in. That not only includes every window in the garage but also the doors.

While windows do technically increase your chances of a break in, it’s not by very much. Modern windows have safety features built in that are similar to a deadbolt. It’s actually easier to get in through a door than it is to unlock one of these windows. Although you could of course break the glass but there’s no way to do that completely silent. If the garage is attached to the house or very close then security concerns are less. However if you’ve got a detached garage 200 feet from the house you probably won’t here those windows being smashes so it becomes more of an issue.

Another important security factor is what you use the garage for. If your storing 3 Ferrari’s then you may not want a bunch of windows. But if all you’ve got are a lawnmower, some paint cans and an old Toyota the security is probably not as big a problem.

If security concerns are that serious in your area then you could always add bars to the windows. It’s what we commonly do in the city. You’ll still get all the benefits of having garage windows but won’t have to worry about break ins as much.

Privacy

Some homeowners like having a garage no one can see into.

Privacy is a very important issue for some customers. If that’s the case with you then you’ve got options.

Garage door windows can be frosted or tinted. Some light still comes in and you can see out, but they can’t see in.

An option for regular in wall windows are blinds. The same stuff you use inside the house can be used in the garage.

Glass entry doors have the same privacy options. Frosted glass is most common but you can also get a door with built in blinds.

With all these available options it’s easy to get all the benefits of garage windows and still keep your privacy.

Cost

With more glass comes more potential problems.

Glass isn’t cheap. It’s one of the biggest expenses when building a new home. We lump all the glass together and call it glazing. The more you have and the better quality you use, the more expensive the home typically is. Windows and glass doors aren’t cheap.

And there is always a risk of glass being broken. Although this is the same risk you’ll be taking on the rest of the house, it’s still greater the more windows you add. Things like storms, accidents, break ins or vandalism can all break glass and replacement costs are higher than the upfront installation price.

Windows and doors also have to be maintained. They may need staining, painting or caulk. Not to mention anything operable can break.

Leaks

Anything glass can leak.

This is true for the garage windows and doors, skylights and garage doors with built in windows. Wherever you add glass you can potentially have a leak.

With better grade materials and a good builder this isn’t usually a concern. High end Andersen, Marvin or Pella windows and doors don’t leak. But cheaper stuff does all the time. Honestly, even cheap windows and doors are fine when they’re new, but as they age the seals wear out and leaks become more common.

Another potentially bigger problem is with installation. If your garage windows and doors aren’t installed properly you can not only get leaks but also rot, mold and mildew. Water damage is the #1 problem we see when repairing homes and it’s usually caused by the improper installation of windows and doors. Every penetration through the wall is a chance for water to get in. If you seal that penetration correctly then you won’t have a problem, but if you do it wrong then you’ll have issues.

Whenever you install any windows or doors in the garage or home make sure to use quality materials and a professional installer. Do that and leaks won’t be a problem.

Does A Garage Need Windows?

While a garage doesn’t actually need windows to perform it’s function. There are a lot of benefits that come by including them.

Garage’s can be a lot more than just a big storage unit. And even if they are just a shed, the nicest sheds on the market include windows.

If your garage design includes other features than those things will probably benefit from having windows too. If you’ve got a home gym, office or workshop in the garage then some natural light and fresh air is probably something you’ll want. The same is true if you use your garage as a pool house or home business. And what about if you’ve got a loft, dormers or 2nd floor apartment? You’ll definitely want to include some windows.

So although a garage doesn’t technically need windows. The benefits in most cases far outweigh the disadvantages.

Are Garage Windows Worth The Money?

In terms of resale value and ROI, garage windows are generally worth the money.

If your building a new garage then including a couple windows won’t cost much. Since the areas where the windows go won’t need siding, insulation or sheetrock the extra cost of the windows don’t end up to be that much. It’s cheaper to install windows and doors in a new construction than a remodel because you don’t have to worry about demo or fixing siding, trim or sheetrock. In this case it’s worth spending the extra money. Anything you can do to increase curb appeal and sell the house faster and for more money is generally worth it.

However if your adding windows to an existing garage then you’ll have to do some math. If the windows cost $300 but the bids your getting are $3000 then it may not be worth it. All that extra demo and patch work adds up. Weight the cost of the windows against the added money you’ll get at resale.

Install windows that match the value and style of your home. If the home has Marvin then that’s what you use in the garage. But if the home has Andersen 200 series then don’t use Marvin, use Andersen 200s.

Your windows should match not only the look and style of the home but also the design.

Garage Window Placement

If your gonna include windows in your garage design then where’s the best place to put them.

Generally we don’t put them on the same side as the garage doors unless you’ve got dormers. If your roof has dormers than you should have windows in every dormer. It’s pretty self explanatory where these windows should go. And we use garage dormers a lot. They’re one of the best things you can add to a garage to really make it stand out. And they’re not that expensive. As you’ll see in our picture gallery most of the best looking garages include a dormer or two.

The side and back walls are where we include our windows. Space them out just like you would any room in the house. However remember that a garage is a functional space. You should give some though to how you’ll be using the room.

If you plan on building a work bench then think about how that ties into the window layout.

Or if your using the garage to stack lots of storage boxes then installing windows don’t make sense in that area.

When you layout your garage windows it’s important to consider both how they look from the outside and how the function on the inside. Both things are important. It’s very similar to how we design a kitchen or bathroom. Even though these rooms have to look great inside and out, they’re functional spaces.

The layout of your garage windows and doors has to look good and not interfere with the rooms function.

Garage Window Gallery

As you’ll see in the garage pictures below, most of the best looking garages have windows. And the ones that don’t could definitely benefit from one or two.

Summary: Should A Garage Have Windows?

When it comes to increasing your curb appeal, a beautiful garage is a big plus. Many designers and architects forget that a garage is a huge portion of your home. Unless it’s way in the back yard there’s no way to hide it from the curb. Garage’s are an important part of the home’s design and they’re often overlooked. We see so many garages that look tacked on and out of place. Even if your garage is detached it should still be well thought out and flow with the homes style. The house and garage should have a cohesive look. And one of the best ways to do this is by including garage windows. You can easily match the look and style of the house by matching the window design.

I hope the garage window info, ideas and pictures in this article helps you with your next garage design.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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