Shed windows are more than just an opening in your shed wall – it’s an opportunity to add character, functionality and value to your yard.
One of the most effective ways to dress up a shed is shed windows. They provide light, ventilation, and can turn a simple box-like structure into a shed that can serve many different purposes.
Below we’ll take a look at different options and ideas for shed windows in your next shed project. You’ll be surprised at just how many options are out there.
Every shed is built for a purpose, and you should always consider how a window – or two – could fit into your plans. Have a look at the different styles of shed windows, below, and you’ll be ready to start framing out your new windows in no time.
- What Is the Purpose of a Shed Window?
- Shed Window Material
- Shed Windows Options and Ideas
- 1. Fixed Transom Windows
- 2. Shed Security Windows
- 3. Wooden Barn Sash
- 4. Door Windows
- 5. Sliding Windows
- 6. Hopper window
- 7. Awning Windows
- 8. Single Hung Window
- 9. Half Moon Shed Window
- 10. Round Window
- 11. Octagon Window
- 12. Dome Window
- 13. Skylight
- 14. Chicken Coop Window
- 15. Greenhouse Windows
- 16. Double Glazed Shed Windows
- How to Choose the Right Window for Your Shed
- Framing a Window in a Shed
What Is the Purpose of a Shed Window?
Storage shed windows provide added value to your structure in many ways. First, it adds aesthetic appeal to the structure – it simply makes it nicer to look at. Instead of being just a box, the windows make it seem more like a livable place.
Secondly, windows provide functional uses such as increasing natural light and providing ventilation. In the heat of the summer, you won’t want to spend any time in your shed if you don’t have windows – it will simply be too hot.
Windows also provide natural light – essential if you are not planning on running power to your shed. Proper planning can allow you to place windows facing south, giving you added light during days and increased thermal heat during the winter.
Shed windows add value to your property by increasing the value of the shed structure. A realtor can market a shed with a couple of attractive sliding windows as a “bunkie” or “workshop”, which sounds a lot better than simply a “shed”.
The drawbacks to shed windows are that they will increase the time it takes to build your shed. As well, shed windows also create security concerns. A window is the most vulnerable spot on a shed in terms of intruders, either human or animal.
Shed Window Material
Shed windows come in all shapes and sizes these days, but in general, vinyl is most commonly found at the big box home reno stores. Wood, while formerly most common, is not as easy to find. Aluminum is also common, but slightly more expensive. All come in standard shed window sizes.
An aluminum window is, generally, more expensive than vinyl. Why? Aluminum is more expensive to produce than vinyl, and many argue that aluminum windows are just more durable than vinyl.
While both can get scratched and dented, the aluminum frame windows will hold up better to the bumps and dings acquired in a shed more than a vinyl window. In many sheds, the interior will not be finished and the window frame will be exposed. An exposed vinyl frame is much more vulnerable to abuse.
If you are looking for a durable and rugged window that won’t run you too much money, then aluminum is a great choice for a shed window.
Vinyl windows are the cheapest option for your storage shed and, as their name implies, have the durability that you would expect from vinyl.
Easy to install, vinyl resists denting and scratching more than the other options. On the other hand, once installed, it is susceptible to warping over time as the vinyl frame is not as strong as wood or aluminum. You also cannot paint vinyl.
Vinyl is a great shed window option if you are going to use your shed as a workshop or bunkie. Vinyl is a very poor thermal conductor, which means on cold days a vinyl frame window will insulate better than an aluminum window.
A great option for DIY shed windows on a budget. Vinyl windows can be bought at any big box home reno store.
Wood windows are excellent insulators, are extremely durable, and provide high value for your shed or workshop. Modern wood windows are much more durable than the old fashioned single-paned versions you would find in older storage shed. Modern exterior wood windows are pre-treated and are built to last.
On the other hand, wood windows are significantly more expensive than aluminum or vinyl. For the cost, however, you can dress up a drab structure with wood windows. For instance, wood windows can be painted and there is a vast array of different designs to choose from, even compared to vinyl and aluminum.
Shed Windows Options and Ideas
Choosing the right windows for your shed requires you to think about the big picture: what will you use your storage shed for and how do you want it to look?
Remember that each window requires a different amount of maintenance – often the more expensive the window, the more maintenance required. Let’s take a look below at options and ideas for you shed windows.
1. Fixed Transom Windows
A transom window typically sits above an existing window or door, running the length, or longer, of the opening below. Often they are long, narrow, and come either frosted or clear.
One of the great benefits of a transom window is that they provide great natural light while keeping your shed secure. Since they mount above windows and doors, they prevent anyone from actually seeing inside the shed, making them an excellent window for sheds.
These windows typically do not open, but merely serve to add extra light into space. Transom windows also come in many decorative designs and can add significant character and value to your shed. Found in vinyl, aluminum, and wood, these windows either come in frames or with flanges to surface mount on your shed sheathing.See Prices >
2. Shed Security Windows
Similar to transom windows, these windows are installed at, or near, the top of a storage shed wall. Installed either individually or as a transom that runs the length of the wall, these windows are frosted safety glass to prevent seeing through them.
Security windows do not open, as opening windows present an opportunity for breaking in. Although they are frosted, these windows still allow light in and add aesthetic value to a structure. They can be installed in tandem with standard windows below without compromising the overall look of the structure.
Alternatively, if you want to boost the security value of your existing windows, then installing bars over the window will suffice. You may want to opt for security windows, though, because bars over windows are not very attractive.
Finally, these windows are a great option for single-sloped roof sheds. Installing a row of security windows across the front face of the shed not only allows you extra light but also makes the structure more attractive, instead of having one wall filled with just siding. See below!
3. Wooden Barn Sash
Barn sash windows are your traditional 4 pane windows. One of the distinguishing features of these windows is that the bottom rail of the window is thicker than the top. Stylistically, these windows are traditional and add significant character to your shed. While they come in all sizes, they are big enough to let in tons of light.
A wooden barn sash is put together with four different panes of glass. Some even use plastic or chicken wire. Modern barn sashes made with wood utilize screw construction, making changing individual window panes simple. All you have to do is unscrew the rails, insert a new pane, then screw it back together.
Many barn sashes come unfinished. You can customize these windows to your liking. The downside is that they are made of wood, which will require constant maintenance. As well, barn sash doors lack decent security features.
While they don’t open, their placement on the structure allows anyone to see inside. As well, the single panes are not always the most durable. Plastic is an option but can be brittle in colder climates.See Prices >
4. Door Windows
Windows for your shed doors are a great way to add light to your shed if you don’t want to sacrifice wall space for a window. Typically you would use door windows, which might also be called door transom windows or just transom windows.Door windows would be long, narrow, and would typically be fit at the top of the door out of the way of the handle and center of the door. From a decorative standpoint, this makes an otherwise boring-looking door much more attractive and adds value to your shed.
Many door windows are made with tempered glass, which is just regular glass that has been superheated, which makes it about 5x stronger than regular glass. As well, you can get these windows as a flush mount, meaning they have a flange that fits on the outside of the door sheathing that you just nail or screw into – or they come with a j-channel that allows the siding to fit over the flange.See Prices >
5. Sliding WindowsIf you want the option of opening your shed window, then you’ll most likely consider a sliding window first. Commonly found in homes, particularly in basements, these windows are typically vinyl construction that slide horizontally.
All sizes of sliding windows are available, giving you a range of options here. Most will come with a screen, which is great for shed workshops or bunkies in the summertime. These windows can be a pain to keep clean, as they have lots of crevices where bugs and dirt like to sit.
If you plan on heating your shed or tiny house, then these windows are a great option as they offer a lock and are double glazed. The downside is that you will not have many options in terms of color. Finding a sliding window in any color besides white will cost you, and you can’t paint them.See Prices >
6. Hopper windowA hopper window is a horizontally long, narrow window. It opens from the top, meaning it swings out and inward from the top sash. Using a swing handle to lock in place, these windows typically function to ventilate spaces while providing natural light.
Hopper windows can be installed on their own, or above existing windows or doors. Since they swing inward and lock at the top, putting them too high makes it difficult to reach and open. These are a great option for a shed, however, because you can leave them open without having to worry too much about anything – or anyone – getting in since the opening is too narrow.
Some hopper windows also have a tilt-in function that allows them to tilt all the way in, making them easy to clean. They also come with screens, making them ideal for summertime ventilation.
If you want light and airflow in your shed without sacrificing security, then a hopper window is a great option.See Prices >
7. Awning WindowsAwning windows open outwards from the bottom rail. Their look is similar to a hopper window, which is a long, narrow and horizontal window. Since the window opens outward, it creates an awning effect.
These windows are also excellent for ventilation, as they can be left open even in the rain since they open outwards. The downside is that you cannot install these windows anywhere near where people will be walking since they open out and thus present a hazard.
Also, since they open outwards, they tend to get dirty much faster than a hopper or other window. These windows typically open with a crank, which provides a watertight seal when locked. Screens attach from inside the window, and they can come in vinyl, aluminum or wood construction.See Prices >
8. Single Hung WindowWhen considering a single or double hung window for your shed, you’ll first consider your budget. Just know that single hung windows will always be cheaper than double. Why? Single-hung windows only open on one end, or sash. The lower sash typically opens and closes, while the upper remains fixed in place.
A single hung window is advantageous not just because it is cheaper, but also because it is less likely to have air or moisture penetration. With a fixed upper sash, there is a lower likelihood of moisture or air getting through the factory sealed top.
These windows come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. They are very common and are a great option to allow light into your shed while providing some amount of ventilation. Larger single hung windows also provide a traditional look and add aesthetic appeal to your shed.See Prices >
9. Half Moon Shed WindowA half moon shed window is typically a decorative window used above another window or a door. These windows do not open but do come in a variety of diameters so that you can match them to the size of your existing doors and windows.
While providing limited functionality, these windows can dress up your shed. As well, if you are looking to add light to the door side of your shed, installing one of these above the door can help you get natural light into your shed.
They come in a variety of materials and are typically flush mount with or without j-channel flanges. When used in tandem with a window, they can give the effect of one large rounded top window.See Prices >
10. Round WindowWhile round window might not sound practical for a shed, these windows can provide functionality. Round windows are typically fixed, meaning they cannot be opened. They come in various styles, and many decorative options exist.
Since round windows are fixed, they offer a variety of different glass types. Some triple-paned models are available, providing excellent insulation for your shed. Also, you can get frosted rounded glass windows for security.
A wide variety of diameters are available for circular windows, and a large circular window can provide tons of natural light for your shed. Some even have telescoping trim on the interior side, making it simpler to install from the interior of your shed.
Framing around the window can be more difficult, as you have to cut angled studs and make an octagon within your shed wall framing.See Prices >
11. Octagon WindowSimilar to a round window, an octagonal window provides extra character to your shed while providing another way for natural light to get into your shed. These windows are also typically fixed, meaning you won’t have to worry about air or moisture infiltration.
The upside to octagonal windows is that they are framed into your walls using the same method that you would use for a standard rectangular or square window, as there are two straight vertical and horizontal sides.
Octagonal windows come in all types of material, although vinyl octagon windows seem to be the most common. As such, they only come in white or brown, while other colors are much more difficult to find.
Many octagonal windows feature aluminum grids, which add aesthetic appeal to the window, making them overall excellent small shed windows.See Prices >
12. Dome WindowA dome window for a shed can work in one of two ways. First, you can install one on the wall of your shed. These are flush mount and may or may not be weathertight. Dome windows on the wall of your shed do allow light in with having to alter the framing inside your shed.
A dome window protrudes out beyond the shed structure. This can be a hazard or an impossibility if you are limited in your exterior space.
You can also use a dome window as a skylight. Be prepared, however, to ensure a watertight seal using either flashing tape, tar, caulk, and/ or roof membrane in addition to your exterior roofing material.
A dome window or skylight is unique and gives your shed a unique appearance. But be careful when installing, as domes are meant to be more aesthetic than functional.See Prices >
13. SkylightIf you have windows on your shed and you still aren’t getting enough light, then consider throwing in some skylights. Skylights are excellent ways to get tons of natural light and thermal properties without sacrificing wall space.
The tricky thing about skylights is installation. Your roof is your first line of defense against moisture, and skylights are notorious for leaking. Following the installation directions to the letter for your skylight will ensure you don’t have leaks.
Skylights come in both fixed and non-fixed versions. The non-fixed skylights either crank or push open, and provide a watertight seal when shut. They are great for ventilation, particularly on hot days.
Lastly, a couple of skylights in your shed will likely eliminate the need for lighting your shed artificially unless you have lots of big overhanging trees. Or, use skylights instead of wall windows for your source of natural light.See Prices >
14. Chicken Coop WindowChicken coop windows are an awning style window that also includes a wire mesh interior screen. The mesh protects from larger critters such as raccoons or foxes who enjoy dining on live poultry.
What makes this window specifically a chicken coop window is that it pulls open from the outside, not the inside. Typically they do not lock but can be firmly put into a closed position as the hinges pull extremely tight and stay in place with friction.
These windows can be placed on the walls of a chicken coop to provide ventilation. Most coops will need more than one, as anyone with chickens knows that the more ventilation, the better.
One thing to watch out for with these windows is the included wire mesh screen. You’ll want ½” mesh, if possible, as the 1” mesh on many of these windows is not small enough to keep out chicken-eating weasels or rats.See Prices >
15. Greenhouse Windows
Greenhouse windows are typically single glazed awning style windows that push outwards and stay in place with mechanical arms.
The purpose of greenhouse windows is to allow air flow through the structure while still allowing sunlight to access the plants.
In a shed, a greenhouse window would function much in the same way. Most greenhouse windows have wood frames, although they are increasingly found in vinyl and aluminum as well.
These windows do not open all the way, so they would not be ideal for all shed applications. Also, in terms of security, they do not offer any sort of privacy.
Finally, a greenhouse window does not typically use tempered or glazed glass, meaning they would not hold up to dings and dents of a shed workshop.
16. Double Glazed Shed Windows
Double glazed windows use two panes of glass. Between the two panes of glass there is argon gas, which does not conduct heat well. Therefore, if you live in an excessively hot environment, you can use a double glazed window in your shed to reduce the amount of heat transmission into your shed interior.
Conversely, if you intend to use your shed as a workshop in the winter and heat it, then a double glazed window would be invaluable for keeping the heat in a while providing natural light.
These windows are typically vinyl or aluminum and come in a variety of sizes or styles. They are either double or single hung and can slide open horizontally or vertically.
While these windows may not provide the most character for your shed, they are extremely functional and offer value in terms of efficiency and durability.
How to Choose the Right Window for Your Shed
Now that you’ve had a chance to look over all the different options for shed windows let’s briefly talk about what you need to consider for your shed before making a shed window purchase.
What are you using your shed for? If you are using it as a workshop, then you’ll need plenty of light and ventilation. Since you’ll need the functionality, then aesthetic appeal won’t matter as much. Therefore you can forget about decorative windows like circular or octagonal.
The window style depends on what you’ll be using your shed for and how well you want to integrate the shed design to other buildings on your property, namely your house.
If you want wooden barn sash windows on your shed so that they match your home, that’s fine.
Size matters! And it’s not always the bigger, the better. Windows look great and provide tons of light, but they can eat into the amount of interior wall space of your shed. Remember, shed wall space is critical for storage.
On the other hand, huge windows or skylights provide massive light and make a shed or workshop much more useful and inviting. They also add value to your shed.
Security and Safety
Safety is always concern number one, and if you live in an urban area where an outdoor structure might be vulnerable to curious individuals in the night, then you’ll want security windows or hopper windows that are too narrow to allow anything or anyone in.
The material of your frame will likely come down to cost and your desire to do maintenance. Wood is the most expensive, but it looks the best. It also requires the most maintenance.
For the rest of us, aluminum or vinyl is more realistic and practical. Requiring little maintenance, these windows are durable enough for any type of shed application.
Type of Glazing
Glazing refers to a pane of glass on a window. Double glazing means that there are two panes of glass, one on top of another, separated by argon gas.
Double glazed windows are more expensive, but you get a much more efficient insulator as a result.
Framing a Window in a Shed
Framing shed windows is fairly straightforward. The best way to explain it is that you will have two studs, called jack studs, running up either side of the window from the bottom plate.
These jack studs will hold up a header – usually two 2x6s stood on edge that run from one jack stud to the other. Jack studs will have regular wall studs on either outside edge that run from the bottom to the top plates.
On the bottom of the window, you’ll run a stud horizontally from one jack stud to the other.
Lastly, if your window is wider than 16”, then it will overlap an existing stud. In this case, you will have what is called a cripple stud. These studs are above the header and below the window between the jack studs. They continue the 16” on the center pattern of your shed wall while supporting the window.
Thanks for taking the time to consider these shed window options and ideas I’ve outlined above.
Remember, a shed window isn’t just for the show. It can add value to your shed while acting as natural light and ventilator. Be sure first to consider what you’ll be using your shed for first, and then you’ll be able to narrow down your choices.
Best of luck on your next shed window project and please take the time to send me feedback about your experiences trying different types of shed windows.
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