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Integrity

Sliding vs. Swinging Windows

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Windows are unique—they are both interior and exterior home elements. The dual role makes selecting windows that much trickier because you want them to look good from both sides, to match your curb appeal as well as your interior design. Luckily, there’s one major design decision that’ll help you narrow your choices at the start: do you want sliding or swinging operation? Here are some points to keep in mind as you plan the windows for your home!

Marvin Double Hung Chain and Pully

The Marvin Double Hung Chain and Pulley window offers authentic historical charm. Wood-only construction provides character, as do the old-fashioned chains and pulleys. With your choice of species, stain, and hardware styles and finishes, you can build a custom look for any traditional home!

Stylistic Considerations

First, you want your home to put a cohesive face forward. Do a little research into its architecture to see which types of windows are historically correct. For the most part, sliding double hung windows feature prominently on traditional styles from the past, and swinging casement windows have been favored for contemporary construction because they can provide clearer sightlines. But you can also find casement windows on plenty of old-world homes, so don’t discount them from the start! The technology and materials available at the time and in each area dictated which types of windows were used, and what we now associate with certain styles.

Some design features also go with the different window types. Take, for instance, double hung windows perfect for farmhouses—wouldn’t wood frames complete the rustic aesthetic? Wood is the material of choice in cases like this, because farmsteads of the past relied on resources available in their surroundings. On the other hand, metal windows became popular in many urban locations in the late nineteenth century, so you might consider aluminum cladding for a townhouse or Victorian. Luckily, you can find wood and clad windows in every basic style, so you can match the right aesthetic and era.

Integrity Wood-Ultrex Glider

The Integrity Wood-Ultrex Glider window is a great choice if you need an operational window for a wide space. Sweeping views are captured by the horizontal orientation with greater coherence than vertical windows can provide.

Matters of Clearance

Of course, you need to stay practical and be aware of points of possible interference. Sliding windows stay within their frames, so you don’t have to worry about them, but swinging windows can run into trouble. Consider the issue from both sides—casement windows that swing out can interfere with overgrown landscaping or pose a danger over exterior walkways, and those that swing in will require the area around them to be clear, whether that means forgoing a kitchen countertop garden or being extra conscientious about your furniture layout. The same goes for awning and hopper windows, most often seen in basement and bathroom applications. It’s good to be aware of any potential issues before ordering and installation so you can choose the best windows for your exact needs.

If you’re worried about the breadth of swinging window operation but still want modern-looking windows for ventilation, you don’t have to settle for single or double hung models. Glider windows offer a simple sliding solution; instead of sashes that move up and down, they go side to side. This looks chic and suitable for contemporary designs, and while compatible with openings of various dimensions, they are especially suited to spaces wider than they are tall. If you don’t want sash frames to break sightlines, a tilt-turn window could be the solution; this nifty choice looks and operates like an inswing casement, but it also tips in from the bottom hinge just enough to let in a breeze. It’s the best of both worlds!

Integrity All Ultrex Casement Windows

These bright, crystal clear views are captured thanks to a mix of fixed and operational Integrity All Ultrex Casement and All Ultrex Awning windows. Frames are minimized for a very modern look that maximizes the organic feel of the space, and certain windows swing open for fresh air.

Tailoring to Your Needs

Take stock of your window openings, any clearance issues, outside views, and where you want the option for natural ventilation. You’ll find plenty of ways to aesthetically adapt windows to your needs, particularly through your choice of frame widths and divided lites, which can flip the feel of different window types. If natural ventilation is a major factor for you, you should be aware that this function varies by type, as well. You can move both sashes of double hung windows to the middle of the frame to create an exchange that pushes rising hot air out and pulls in cooler air from the bottom. An outswing casement is best for catching and directing a breeze inside, while an awning window that swings out from its top hinges is perfect to help humid air escape from above a shower. Remember that operable windows have specific uses that can help make your home more comfortable—without adding to utility costs.

It’s totally fine if you want to mix and match for different parts of your house. This is especially common for older, traditional homes—they often have historically correct windows on the façade for curb appeal, and then use more visually open varieties in back to let in more natural light and blend indoor and outdoor spaces. Plenty of homeowners take this route with their window designs, and they feel confident in their decision with the help of professional window designers.

If you’re looking for the perfect windows—or help finding which are best for your home—see what Integrity® and Marvin® Windows and Doors have in store. You’ll find more options than you knew existed, with innovative shapes and modes of operation that’ll change how you think of windows. Find a local dealer to discuss the possibilities for your home!