Why Tilt And Turn Windows?

The vast majority of windows used in Germany are tilt and turn, which is not the norm in the UK. For over 50 years, this style has accounted for a majority of windows made and sold in Germany, and with good reason. Throughout those years, the idea spread across into Austria, France and other nearby countries. In the UK, progress is slow, but with the Passivhaus philosophy gaining understanding, and the general reputation of German-made products, tilt and turn windows are becoming more popular.

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The design of the tilt and turn mechanism allows both the most efficient ventilation (directing air upwards in the room) and still allows a means of fire escape with its turn mechanism. You also don’t need to prop the window open when in the tilt position, as the window mechanism allows a fixed tilt inward, and an anti-slam mechanism locks the window from slamming shut if the wind catches the window. Rain is also less likely to get into the building in the tilt position as the water is directed down the window into designed drainage channels.

Like so many things in Germany that work properly, tilt and turn windows are made differently. The driver for this is partly due to Germany energy conservation laws having a higher standard than the UK, but also due to the fact that the German consumer is always looking to the long term. For a product that will last a long time. Not just 5-10 years. By law, a product used in a home must be fit for purpose for a long time. Unlike the UK, where “fit for purpose” usually means that it’s operational when new, and only a short period (usually a year) after. Many manufacturers have bold claims: such as 50 year guarantees. But, when you read the small print, these are so conditional and often mean little practically.

Tilt and Turn: How do they work?

A tilt and turn window fundamentally opens on two axis: tilting when ventilation needed and turning mainly to provide a means of escape from a room in case of fire, and an easy way to reach the outside pane of glass for cleaning.

In the tilt position, the window tilts inwards into the room – remaining fixed at the base. This allows ventilation but keeping a good level of security and also shielding off rain. Our heavy duty window opening mechanisms provide security even when open.

Key Benefits and Tilt and Turn Windows

  • The outside of the glass is very easy to clean from inside
  • Being able to open the same window different ways is incredibly flexible and practical
  • It is possible to have a tilt before turn mechanism and a key lockable handle which allows the window to open in tilt position but avoids the risk of children accidentally opening and falling out of windows
  • Tilt and turn provides excellent fire escapes as the windows can open fully in the turn position. This is unlike top hung or friction hinge windows – so commonly seen in the UK.
  • Security is excellent even when open in the tilt position and almost impenetrable with the multi-point locking systems provided by the Wink Haus locking mechanisms.
  • Tilt and turn also allow significant engineering space to fit multiple seals necessary to achieve the airtightness required. Beware of slim frames. They are unlikely to provide superior air and water tightness (but might be attractive in design).
  • Frames can be installed to be covered by plaster reveals inside and external building finishes – this maximises light
  • Design features such as Georgian bars, flying mullions and robust mechanisms ensure large expanses of glass are all possible. If it can be done in an open out conventional casement, it can be done in tilt and turn too.

Tilt and Turn, or Tilt Before Turn?

These are actually two different mechanisms. If you’re used to one of them, it will be a little annoying to suddenly switch the other – it would be like suddenly swapping the hot and cold taps…

A traditional (and majority of modern) German tilt-turn window works as follows:

  1. When closed, the handle is pointing down
  2. If the handle is turned 90 degrees from closed, the window will turn 90 degrees on it’s side hinge
  3. If the handle is turned 180 degrees from closed, the window will tilt inwards, pivoting on the bottom hinge, creating a ventilation gap at the top

But a Tilt Before Turn window is the opposite:

  1. When closed, the handle is pointing down
  2. If the handle is turned 90 degrees from closed, the window will tilt inwards, pivoting on the bottom hinge, creating a ventilation gap at the top
  3. If the handle is turned 180 degrees from closed, the window will turn 90 degrees on it’s side hinge

The version that you choose should be entirely your preference. Most of our customers who ask for this style of window have become accustomed to the idea whilst living in Germany or mainland Europe in general, so it makes sense to provide them with the option they’ve got used to.

But, in some cases, tilt-before-turn does introduce a potentially more practical solution. Firstly, these windows are intended to be tilted for the majority of times you’d want to open them, so reaching that part of the mechanism first is fairly logical. Further to that, having the tilt position before the fully-open turn position creates the opportunity of locking-off the larger opening. Handles can be restricted to only being allowed to turn 90 degrees, giving an extra amount of security and child safety (if this handle were used on a traditional tilt-and-turn window, you would lock-off the tilt function…perhaps not so helpful…)

A Very Brief FAQ Section!

  • No, tilt and turn windows cannot (and should not) open outwards. Whilst it would be physically possible to manufacture, it’s honestly not very sensible: having a window tilting outwards with the hinge at the bottom is fine until it rains… Since it rains quite a lot in northern Europe, this idea isn’t offered and it actively discouraged by the vast majority of manufacturers.
  • It can be awkward if you like to have items placed on your internal window cills. However, since most people will be tilting windows open – this movement doesn’t disrupt items on the window cill. It’s only when the window is fully turned open (for cleaning, or in an emergency) that this becomes an extra task.

It is worth taking a look German windows. With some offering life expectancy of 85 years, this is a very sensible, modern alternative to outward opening casements.

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please get in touch by phone, email, or using our in-browser contact form!

Midlands : 01608 684 607
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London: 0203 633 0476
E-mail : sales@enlightenedwindows.co.uk
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