When selecting a new or replacement window there are many choices and features to consider, a good starting point is with the basic configuration:
- Do you want a window that opens and closes or fixed?
- If the choice is operable windows, what is the best type?
Below is a brief review of window operation types to help with these questions.
Windows that do not open are fixed windows. Fixed windows are often paired with operable windows or designed to look like an operable window.
- Fixed windows tend to be less expensive than operable windows.
- Less maintenance is generally needed because there are no tracks, hinges, or operating hardware.
- Fixed windows are typically more energy-efficient.
- Large fixed windows offer uninterrupted views.
- Due to the size of the glass, fixed windows tend to be heavier and can be more fragile.
- They come in many different shapes and sizes.
- Fixed windows do not allow for airflow.
SINGLE AND DOUBLE HUNG or vertical sliding
- Hung windows provide ventilation and air exchange options.
- Single- and double-hung windows can have higher air leakage rates than other types of windows but are still highly energy-efficient when designed to meet energy codes.
- They require less exterior or interior space than hinged windows do, making them a good choice in areas next to outdoor spaces like walkways, sidewalks, and patios.
- With double-hung windows, the top sash can be lowered for ventilation while the bottom remains securely closed.
- Opening hung windows requires lifting the lower sash upward and pushing the upper sash downward.
- Considered a more traditional design.
Casement windows open out, pivoting from side hinges.
- Hinged windows offer lower air leakage rates than sliding windows because the sash closes tightly in the frame.
- When closed and locked, casement windows offer an effective seal for improved energy performance.
- Casement windows are typically operated by a crank mechanism, though there are push-out styles operated by a hinged lever.
- The hand crank or lever makes them easier to open than sliding windows which also makes them a choice where reach may be restricted or physical ability is limited.
- The sash moves away from the frame and can be positioned to catch passing breezes for better ventilation.
- Many casements have large glass panes to provide natural light that is uninterrupted by muntin bars or other framing.
- Casements should not open out into a walkway or outdoor area, where they can be a danger.
- In-swing casement windows are available, but they require inside space to operate.
- Screens must be placed on the interior side.
Like casement windows, awning windows open outward but are hinged at the top of the window sash,
- Awnings can be placed above, below, or alongside other windows, or over doors, for extra ventilation and light.
- Awnings feature crank-out and push-out operations, which project to the outside for natural ventilation.
- Air leakage rates are generally lower when the sash is cranked tightly closed and locked.
- Awning windows are ideal for providing ventilation in rainy climates because they keep the rain out while letting fresh air in.
- They are often placed high on a wall to allow light and air in, while maintaining privacy.
- Awnings frequently complement fixed units to expand the viewing area while adding the benefit of fresh air.
- Screens are placed on the interior of the window unit.
A hopper window is hinged on the bottom frame of the sash and opens inward from the top, not the bottom – the opposite of an awning.
- They are operated by a single handle and, like other hinged windows, generally offer lower air leakage rates because the sash closes by pressing against the frame, providing a tight seal.
- The entire window area can be opened.
- They work well when an operable window is required for light and ventilation, but wall space for the opening is limited.
- They are ideal for providing ventilation in small, or hard-to-access areas.
- Hopper windows open inward, which means they can be installed along walkways, sidewalks, and patios without obstructing the path.
- Both sides of the window can be cleaned without having to go outside.
Horizontal sliding windows open with the sash sliding horizontally left or right on tracks at the top and bottom of the sash.
- Like single- and double-hung windows, one or both sashes can be operable.
- Because they slide open without protruding, horizontal sliders are fit for rooms facing walkways, sidewalks, or patios.
- Slider windows are very easy to open, they slide to the side instead of having to be pushed up and down.
- Dirt and debris can get caught in the tracks which can hinder sliding back and forth.
- Sliders come in larger sizes than double-hung windows since they move right to left instead of up and down.
- Wider windows can mean a larger opening to let in more natural light and fresh air.
- Horizontal sliding windows can also satisfying emergency escape requirements.
TILT AND TURN
- Tilt-turn windows offer operational and design flexibility, depending on whether they are used as a casement (allowing the sash to open wide for maximum airflow,) or used as a hopper (which provides a smaller amount of ventilation, but more security).
- A simple handle movement allows the window to open like an inswing or, turning the handle in the other direction, to tilt inward like a bottom-hinged, top-opening hopper.
- Tilt-turn windows always project to the interior; the interior design must be planned carefully.
- In the tilted hopper position, the windows offer greater security than an open awning or hung window.
- When closed, the seal generally provides improved, energy efficiency, acoustic performance, and interior comfort.
Both operable and fixed windows have their benefits for different reasons and settings. Fixed windows provide an uninterrupted visual design, while operable windows offer functionality. Both types of windows give you a multitude of design options. It is possible to combine fixed and operable windows for aesthetics and desired function.
At St. Cloud Window we know every project begins with a challenge or an idea of what a building might be. We bring that vision to life with our distinctive design aesthetics, precision performance, and design-to-delivery support. Learn more about how our products can deliver on your design objectives and site requirements here. Then, check out our full line of historic replica and acoustic window products, and get in touch for more details about any of our high-performing commercial window products.