There are a lot of decisions that go into choosing, purchasing and installing new double glazing in your home, but perhaps one of the most often overlooked is the way your new windows will open. Unless you've opted for some top-of-the-line sash windows your new double glazing will probably be hinged, which gives you two main hinge configurations to choose from; casement hinges and tilt-and-turn hinges. Each of these hinge configurations comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you choose the hinge configuration that suits your needs before you take the plunge.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of casement hinges?
Casement windows are hinged on one side of the window frame, and open outwards to allow ventilation. The simplicity of this mechanism means that more space in the window frame can be dedicated to strengthening, so casement windows generally consist of large, single panes of glass that let in the maximum amount of light. This simplicity also has another advantage; with fewer moving parts and locking mechanisms to worry about your windows are less likely to suffer mechanical failure, and most casement windows require nothing more than occasional lubrication to stay functioning smoothly for years.
Unfortunately, the simple outward-opening mechanism of a casement window can make high windows very difficult to clean on the outside, especially in homes with two or more storeys. As such they will generally have to be cleaned by professional window cleaners with safety equipment for working at heights, which can be expensive. The large pane of double glazing can also create a lot of air resistance on windy days, potentially causing unsecured windows to blow open unexpectedly.
What about the advantages and disadvantages of tilt-and-turn hinges?
As their name would suggest, tilt-and-turn hinges allow a window to be opened both by tilting and turning, usually on separate axes. This versatility allows for extremely precise ventilation control, even on very windy days. Unlike casement windows, tilt-and-turn windows generally open inwards, and most models can be secured and locked while slightly open to provide combined ventilation and security. Opening inwards also makes for much easier cleaning on both sides of the window, as many tilt-and-turn windows can be tilted horizontally.
However, opening inwards also means that choosing these types of hinges will limit your interior design choices; they can make certain kinds of window coverings such as roller blinds awkward to use, and you may be precluded from placing ornaments and other objects on your window sills. In addition, the more complicated mechanisms in tilt-and-turn hinges are more likely to fail than simple casement hinges, especially when they are fitted with the added weight of double glazed glass. You should also bear in mind the orientation of the window before you choose tilt-and-turn hinges, as windows that routinely face the wind can be placed under added strain and may allow rainwater inside.