Seamlessly Connect Your Kitchen and Patio with the Perfect Pass Through Window
If you love entertaining outdoors but hate running back and forth from the kitchen, it may be time to install a pass through window. This brilliant yet simple upgrade creates an opening between your indoor kitchen and outdoor patio or deck, allowing you to easily serve food and drinks without ever having to go outside.
Read on to learn all about sizing, placing, and installing the ideal pass through window to seamlessly connect your kitchen and patio spaces.
What is a Kitchen Pass Through Window?
A kitchen pass through window, also sometimes called an exterior window or patio window, is a window installed between your indoor kitchen and outdoor patio or deck area. It creates an opening in the wall to pass food, drinks, and other items between these two spaces without having to physically go outside.
Pass through windows come in many styles but generally open either as sliding panels or an outward swinging style. This provides a wide opening for easily passing platters and dishes to the outdoors.
Benefits of a Pass Through Window
There are many excellent benefits to having a pass through window installed in your kitchen:
- Allows much easier serving of food and drinks to outdoor dining areas
- Provides better flow when entertaining guests in both spaces
- Enables conversation with people outdoors while you cook inside
- Brings abundant natural light into the kitchen
- Keeps cooking smells and heat outside instead of in the main house
Sizing Your Pass Through Window
Properly sizing your pass through window is important to maximize its functionality.
Typical pass through window sizes range from 30 inches wide up to 60 inches wide. Consider the size of your outdoor patio area and how you plan to entertain. If you’ll often be passing large platters or dishes, choose a wider window size to accommodate this. A 30-36 inch size is fine for mostly passing smaller plates and drinks.
Standard pass through window heights are around 30 to 36 inches high. A key factor is installing the window at the right height above your outdoor surface. The bottom of the window should be 36-42 inches above the floor level of your patio or deck.
This allows you to easily pass items through at a comfortable counter height instead of having to bend down. If small children may access the window, you may want to position it slightly higher for safety.
Ideal Placement of Your Pass Through Window
Installing your pass through window in the optimum location is crucial for functionality and work flow. Most often, it is centered directly between your indoor kitchen counter and outdoor dining or seating area. This allows the easiest access for passing food and drinks.
Be sure there is proper clearance from kitchen appliances and your normal traffic patterns indoors. Likewise, consider sightlines and access points from the exterior patio or deck space. Positioning the window off-center between posts or structures may look better aesthetically.
Features to Look for in a Pass Through Window
Today’s pass through windows incorporate helpful design features to look for when selecting your window:
- Double pane glass for insulation and energy efficiency
- Screens to keep out bugs when the window is open
- Locking capability for security when not in use
- Slide-through panels rather than swing-open style for protected outdoor storage when shut
- Insulated glass to reduce heat/cold transfer
- Laminated or tempered glass for safety and durability
Pass Through Window Installation
Properly installing your pass through window takes careful planning and precision.
The process generally involves removing a section of wall between your kitchen and patio, adding appropriate framing around the new opening, flashing the window to prevent water leaks, and securely installing the window unit itself. After the window is in place, the surrounding wall areas are finished with trim, drywall, and countertops on the interior and exterior sides.
If possible, using an existing window to convert to a pass through style can save time. Often, however, the window is too small or not ideally positioned, necessitating creating a new opening.
Cost to Install a Pass Through Window
Adding a pass through window is a significant investment, with total costs typically ranging from:
- $800 – $1500 for a basic DIY installation
- $1500 – $2500 for a mid-range professional installation
- $2500 – $3000+ for a large, customized window installed by a contractor
The final cost depends on the pass through window’s size, features, whether it is new construction or a retrofit into an existing home, and whether you take on the project as a DIY or hire a professional contractor. More customization and high-end window attributes increase costs.
Alternatives to a Built-In Pass Through Window
If installing a permanent pass through window is not feasible, there are a couple alternatives to consider:
- An exterior kitchen door can provide similar access between indoor and outdoor areas
- A portable servery window cart on casters can be moved wherever needed, though does not provide the same visual connection
Kitchen pass through windows create a seamless indoor/outdoor entertaining experience by connecting your kitchen and patio spaces. Sizing the window correctly, choosing the right location, and selecting optimal features are key to functionality.
Careful installation is critical to avoid leaks or other issues. While a significant investment, a kitchen pass through window can take your home entertaining capabilities to the next level.