Ideas

Pass-through windows make summer feel endless

If you live to entertain and be outdoors, we’d like to introduce you to your perfect match. The pass-through window is made to enhance your lifestyle.
One woman plays bartender from inside while two others gather on the outside of an open pass-through window.

Serve up your drinks without missing out on a single joke, that’s the magic of a pass-through window. Ideally suited to connect a kitchen with a deck, patio, or pool area, a pass-through window opens up your wall completely, just like a door, so you can be inside and outside all at once.

What is a pass-through window?

This type of window is called a “pass-through” because it allows you to do just that — pass the drinks, grillables, and more between inside and outside. With this great functionality, plus the ability to bring in a flood of natural light and fresh breezes, a pass-through window is a showstopping addition to your most-used spaces.

Where do pass-through windows work best?

Between a kitchen and outdoor living space is the most popular spot for a pass-through window. A kitchen pass-through window can replace a backsplash behind a sink, can sit flush with a counter to double your buffet space, can open up your bar area to the outdoors, and more!

As interest in indoor/outdoor living has increased over the past few years, pools and more sophisticated “outdoor rooms” have resulted. A pass-through window can be integrated into these spaces to improve flow — think of it like a patio door but requiring less space. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Next to a pool, they make it easy to hand out snacks and sunscreen — with less dripping on the floor!
  • Connecting to a porch, they can be used in all types of weather and even extend the outdoor living season in a colder climate, especially if there’s a fireplace.
  • Between an indoor and outdoor kitchen, a pass-through window will allow you to utilize both spaces to their fullest!
An open pass-through window connects an indoor kitchen with white oak cabinetry and marble countertops with an outdoor kitchen shaded by a large overhang.

You can have the best of both worlds when your pass-through window connects your indoor kitchen with your outdoor kitchen. This MultiGlide™ Pass-Through Window is installed flush with the counter and pockets into the wall for a complete opening.

How does a pass-through window work?

A pass-through window can open in a variety of ways: folding options accordion together and stack to the side, whereas sliding options can either stack to the side or pocket into the wall. Automation can also be added to a sliding option letting you open and close the window with the touch of a button.

Here are a couple of other things you should know about pass-through windows:

  • Size is not a limit! A pass-through window can flex to fit your space.
  • Curves and corners are possible with our Liftslide and Folding Pass-Through Window.
  • Contemporary- and traditional-style panels allow you to customize your look.
  • With 50-plus color options and a variety of stains, you can dream in color.
  • Performance and energy efficiency are part of the package, more details in the FAQs below.
An open pass-through window connects an indoor kitchen with white oak cabinetry and marble countertops with an outdoor kitchen shaded by a large overhang.

Pass-through windows can be configured to all sizes, from 38 inches wide by 41 high at the smallest to monumental custom sizes!

FAQs about pass-through windows

Now, let’s clear up a few misconceptions about pass-through windows

Can a pass-through window have an insect screen?

Yes! Insect screens can be paired with any of our pass-through windows. Both retractable and gliding insect screens are available. Exact options will depend on the type of pass-through opening you choose — i.e., MultiGlide™, Liftslide, or folding.

Is a pass-through window energy efficient?

You bet. Like all our windows, pass-throughs come standard with energy-efficient dual-pane glass and low-emissivity glass coatings. Low-E glass is available to address specific climate types and is designed to reflect or absorb heat in a way that helps make a home more comfortable. You can also make selections that will further boost the energy efficiency of your pass-through window. For example, opt for triple-pane glass — the best-in-class glass type. Learn more about all our glass options.

How do you prevent water leaking in when a pass-through window is installed flush?

The right sill is the key. We have a variety of sill options available, so there’s one that will provide the right level of performance for your situation. Overhangs can also provide extra protection for a pass-through window with a flush sill. Work with your builder to decide on the best option.

An open kitchen pass-through window sits flush with the countertop, which creates an outdoor bar where a woman sips her cocktail and looks out over the swimming pool.

Think pass-through windows are only for Californians? Think again! This Minnesota homeowner makes the most of the sweet season thanks in part to her MultiGlide™ Pass-Through Window. Architect: Swan Architecture. Builder: Streeter Custom Builder. Photographer: Spacecrafting.

3 ways to make the most of a pass-through window

Here are some tips for planning a highly functional and durable indoor/outdoor space.

1. Give yourself counter space on both sides:
A pass-through window can be installed so the sill is flush with a countertop giving you the opportunity to extend it outdoors — just make sure your counter is made of a material that’s UV resistant. Other times, a slab might be mounted to the exterior wall, or an outdoor bar built under the window. Whatever you decide, having some sort of countertop on both sides of the window will help maximize its functionality.

2. Choose the right opening:

  • A pocketing pass-through that disappears into the wall will maximize your opening but usually requires extra thick walls, so this works best in a new build.
  • A folding pass-through will also give you a wide opening since panels tuck neatly to the side when open, and it can work well in a remodel where walls might not accommodate pocketing.
  • A sliding pass-through with stacking panels is also available when there’s no room to pocket. You can decide which side the window opens from.

3. Plan for the storage, seating, and shade:

  • If you plan to use your pass-through window mainly as a bar, you might want to leave room for interior cabinetry to house glassware, an under-counter fridge, and a sink.
  • Leave room for seating outdoors. We’ve seen outdoor-friendly high-tops as well as permanently mounted outdoor stools.
  • Consider the angle of the sun. If you’ll be in full western sun or sitting on a heat-absorbing patio, an awning or overhang might help you make the most of your window.
An open pass-through window connects a kitchen with a concrete patio and outdoor pool.

With the indoor/outdoor countertop and mounted stools, this pass-through window is perfectly optimized.

Up next: Ready to try a pass-through window on for size? Head over to our design tool, or find more inspiration on indoor/outdoor living — we have plenty more ideas.