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Picture Windows

Picture Windows

Picture windows, with their expansive and unobstructed views, have become a staple in the homes of Chicago residents. These windows, known for their fixed frames and inability to open, offer a unique blend of modern design and energy efficiency. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the world of picture windows, with a special focus on their relevance in the vibrant city of Chicago. We'll delve into various picture window styles, installation considerations, and design options, all while emphasizing their energy-efficient qualities.

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Picture Windows Customization Options

Exterior/Interior Finishes

Solid finishes

Solid white finish
Solid almond finish

Painted finishes

Our paint has been specially designed for vinyl windows and engineered for maximum durability and heat reflection:

  • Non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-flammable, environmentally friendly, lead- and chromium-free;
  • Has excellent cohesion to the vinyl. It is elastic and moves with the vinyl as it expands and contracts. Also, the paint has exceptional abrasion and impact resistance.
  • Ensures both long-term color retention and low heat absorption.
Painted bronze finish
Painted black finish

Laminated finishes

The laminate films endure a series of rigorous tests performed within the Grafco laboratory. These tests include heat reflectivity, Delta E (fade factor), distortion and adhesion, allowing us to offer a lifetime warranty.

Laminated light oak finish
Light Oak
Laminated dark oak finish
Dark Oak

Some of the Custom Color Options

Painted royal bronze finish
Royal Bronze
Painted cocoa finish
Painted bonneville green finish
Bonneville Green

Insulated Glass Units

Double- and Tripple-pane Glass Units

Our window and door products feature insulated glass units (IGU) with dual or triple pane combinations.

Solid white finish
Double glass unit
Solid almond finish
Tripple glass unit

Thickness ranges from 0.708" to 1.417" (18-36 mm) depending on the product. Glass panes are available in various thicknesses and types.

Coated glass, tints, and patterns are available for double and triple pane units. NEAT® coating on the exterior surface allows for easy cleaning.

Energy-efficient Spacers

The energy-efficient spacer systems used are stainless steel INTERCEPT UltraSpacer®, Endur, and organic SuperSpacer®. The spaces between the glass can be filled with dry air, argon, or a mix of argon/krypton gases.

Solid white finish
Solid white finish
Endur® Warm Edge
Solid white finish
Super Spacer®

All glass units meet industry standards and undergo frequent electronic quality checks. IGUs have a 20-year warranty for seal failures, the highest standard in the industry.

Glass Options


Cardinal LoE coated glass performance

LoĒ-270 Coated Glass

LoĒ coated glass delivers year-round comfort in any weather. In summer, it rejects the sun’s heat and damaging UV rays. In winter, it reflects heat back into the room.

LoĒ-366 Coated Glass

LoĒ-366 is a clear coating that blocks even more solar gain, reflects heat, and lets the light stream in. It even outperforms the tinted glass often used in warm climates.

Cardinal LoE-270 coated glass
LoE-270 coated glass
Cardinal LoE-366 coated glass
LoE-366 coated glass


Cardinal Annealed glass
Annealed glass break pattern (not safety certified)
Cardinal Tempered glass
Tempered glass break pattern (meets safety criteria)
Cardinal Laminated glass
Laminated glass break pattern (meets safety criteria)

Annealed glass

Annealed glass, commonly known as the standard glass, undergoes a thermal treatment process followed by slow cooling to eliminate internal stresses. It is commonly utilized in applications where safety considerations are not a primary concern.

Fully tempered glass

Fully tempered glass is significantly stronger than annealed glass, with a strength four times greater. In the event of breakage, it shatters into small, safe pieces, minimizing the risk of injury.

Heat Treated Glass

Heat-strengthened glass undergoes a slower cooling process compared to tempered glass, resulting in a lower compression strength. However, it still provides approximately twice the strength of annealed glass.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass can withstand strong impacts. It is a superior solution to safety glazing.

Laminated glass does more: it is the type of safety glazing that also remains intact within the window frame.


Neat Glass

Unlike regular exterior window surfaces, Neat glass requires minimal maintenance. With Neat technology, the glass stays cleaner for longer periods. And when the time comes to clean, you'll find it quick and effortless.

Cardinal Neat glass

Grid Options

Decorative grids or blinds can be added and are sealed within the glass units.

Farmhouse grid style
Farmhouse grid style
Colonial grid style
Colonial grid style
Praire grid style
Praire grid style

Understanding Picture Windows

Picture windows are large, fixed-frame windows that do not open or close. They are designed to provide a clear and uninterrupted view of the outside world, making them an excellent choice for capturing picturesque scenes, whether it's the Chicago skyline or the serene beauty of Lake Michigan.

Picture Windows in Chicago

Picture windows have a special place in the hearts of Chicago residents for several reasons:

  1. Expansive Views: Chicago's unique urban and natural landscapes deserve to be seen in all their glory. Picture windows frame these views beautifully, offering a seamless connection to the outdoors.
  2. Energy Efficiency: In a city that experiences both frigid winters and sweltering summers, energy-efficient windows are a must. Picture windows, when equipped with high-quality glass and frames, provide excellent insulation, reducing energy costs.
  3. Versatile Design: Picture windows come in a wide range of styles and designs, allowing homeowners to customize them to match the aesthetics of their Chicago homes.

Picture Window Styles and Designs

Picture windows offer endless possibilities for customization:

  1. Modern Picture Windows: Clean lines and minimalist designs characterize modern picture windows, making them a perfect choice for contemporary Chicago homes.
  2. Custom Picture Windows: Tailor-made to fit your exact specifications, custom picture windows offer the ultimate in design flexibility, ensuring they complement your home's unique style.

Picture Window Installation

Professional installation is essential for maximizing the benefits of picture windows:

  1. Precise Measurements: Proper measurements are crucial for a snug fit. Experienced installers will measure your space accurately to ensure a perfect installation.
  2. Sealing and Insulation: Proper sealing and insulation are critical for energy efficiency. Expert installers will use quality materials to prevent drafts and air leakage.

Energy-Efficient Picture Windows

Energy efficiency is a top priority for homeowners in Chicago:

  1. Low-E Glass: Picture windows can be equipped with low-emissivity (Low-E) glass, which reflects heat back into your home during winter and blocks heat during summer, reducing energy consumption.
  2. Insulated Frames: Quality frames with insulation properties further enhance the energy efficiency of picture windows, keeping your home comfortable year-round.

Picture windows offer the perfect blend of style, energy efficiency, and breathtaking views for Chicago homeowners. When considering picture windows, consult with a reputable window professional to explore customization options and ensure a flawless installation. With the right picture windows, you can transform your living spaces, allowing you to enjoy the ever-changing beauty of Chicago while staying comfortable and energy-efficient year-round.

Frequent Questions Answered

Can picture windows be installed in older homes?
Yes, picture windows can be installed in older homes, provided the structural integrity of the walls can support their size and weight. Consult with a professional for a thorough assessment.
Are picture windows easy to clean and maintain?
Picture windows are relatively low-maintenance. Cleaning is straightforward, and since they do not have moving parts, there's less wear and tear.
Can I add window treatments to picture windows for privacy?
Absolutely! There are various window treatment options, such as drapes, blinds, or shades, that can be added to picture windows to enhance privacy when needed.
How can I maximize energy efficiency with picture windows in Chicago's climate?
To maximize energy efficiency, choose picture windows with Low-E glass and insulated frames. Proper installation is also crucial to ensure a tight seal.