Window Styles - Advantages and Disadvantages
No one style of window is "the best" for all applications. Each window operation style has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, one style may suit your choice of heritage architecture better, but may be more difficult to open in locations such as over the kitchen sink. In general, the relative "strengths and weaknesses" exist no matter what material (PVC, Aluminum clad wood, or other) the window is made of, and no matter which company manufactures the window. The following tips are provided to help you choose which style of operation is best suited to your needs.
Casement & Awning
Fixed & Picture
Vertical Sliding Windows
- Single and double hung windows match traditional styles on many houses in eastern North America.
- Most (but not all) modern single and double hung windows feature operating sashes that tilt in for easy cleaning.
- The screens are on the exterior, resulting in the window glass staying cleaner (see “Disadvantages” section of “Casement and Awning Windows” for more explanation of this point).
Specific advantages of Single Hung Windows
- Because the top sash of a single hung window is fixed, it is typically significantly more airtight than a double-hung window.
- The screen only covers 50% of the window. Since window screens typically reduce daylight by about 20%, the interior of the room will be brighter if the room has single-hung windows as opposed to double hung windows.
Specific advantage of Double Hung Windows
- Because the upper sash slides down for ventilation, the double hung window is effective at exhausting the warmer air that is higher in the room.
- Should the window be protected by a roof overhang, the double hung window may be able to provide ventilation in inclement conditions without allowing water damage to interior finishes – allowing the window to be left open when residents leave for the day.
- Vertical sliding windows slide along the weatherstrip, wearing it out faster. They also have to be left a little loose so that they can be slid. As a result, they are less airtight, and less energy efficient, than hinged windows.
- Due to the effort required, vertical sliding windows can be difficult to operate for anybody with strength or mobility issues with wrists, hands, or fingers. They tend to be difficult for even the most able-bodied of homeowners to operate when installed in a location where the person has to reach out a significant distance to grasp the window. Examples of such locations include over kitchen counters, or in old houses where the wall thickness is significant.
Horizontal Sliding Windows
- Horizontal sliding windows have the same advantages and disadvantages as vertical sliding windows.
- An additional advantage – single sliders are typically the most economical operating window on the market.
- An additional disadvantage – horizontal sliding windows typically do not match any classic heritage architectural style.