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Popular Window Opening Types

Before ordering your new windows, you need to know how you want them to work. There are many different window opening types and ways that a window can open. Read on to find out which is best for you and your home.

The material used to make the frames is important too – read on here if this is your next step.


Side Hung

Side Hung Rationel Forma
Side Hung Hinge
Double Side Hung Window
Simple, effective and our most requested window opening types.

  • Side hung windows have visible hinges on one side, and a handle on the other.
  • This almost always provides the largest opening area (useful for fire-egress windows)
  • Side hung hinges make it very difficult to clean the outside of the window whilst standing on the inside.
  • Size and style of the hinge depends on the product
  • Can sometimes be powder-coated to match the frame colour
  • To stop the window from constantly moving around in the breeze, many manufacturers fit their side hung windows with a friction brake. When you turn the handle to the closed position (while the window is still open), the friction brake at the top of the window clamps down; stopping the sash from moving. If you push with enough force, it can be moved. But it is strong enough to keep a windows still in most British winds.
  • Great for traditional and Cotswold-style homes
  • This Cotwold renovation is full of expertly configured side hung windows

Side Guided

Side Guided Window
Sideguided Window
Like the side hung variety, a side guided window will have the handle on the side of the window. The difference lies in the hinge mechanism.

  • The window sash moves across the frame as it is opened, which brings a couple of advantages.
  • Some people prefer the exterior look of these windows, as there will be no visible hinges.
  • Great for a more sleek and modern design
  • Combined with a flush casement, windows can appear flat, minimalist and contemporary.
  • It is a practical design too: the sash moving across gives the ability for the whole window to be cleaned from the inside.
  • On the other hand, the side guided mechanism normally ends up being more expensive.
  • if you’re planning on fitting bedroom windows, the sash moving across reduces the “clear opening”. This means that it is a little more awkward to produce a window that is suitable for a fire escape.
  • We think this newbuild project uses side guided windows to great affect

Top Guided

Rationel FormaPlus Open
Rationel FormaPlus Top Guided Window
Another simple and effective window configuration.

  • The window handle is located at the bottom of the sash, and it opens outwards and upwards. Normally, up to 90 degree angle to the frame.
  • A very popular design for windows that are wider than they are tall.
  • The window will hold itself open at the point where you leave it thanks to built-in friction
  • Another clean and sleek appearance: no hinges will be visible
  • Often used to create a faux sliding sash window (where a slider isn’t required or efficient enough)
  • Awkward to clean the outside whilst standing on the inside
  • Normally a cost-effective option
  • Popular choice for bathroom windows
  • We have worked on this regency townhouse project that incorporated a good number of this window style.

Top Swing

Top Swing Window Open
Top Swing Window
Very similar to the top guided window above, a top swing window has the handle at the bottom of the sash. The difference becomes more obvious the further you open it.

  • A top swing window can pivot nearly 180 degrees; so that the outside glass and frame can be easily accessed from the inside.
  • Great for cleaning the whole window whilst standing on the inside.
  • No visible hinges
  • Minimum manufacturing sizes can be restrictive due to the size of the mechanism.
  • A more expensive option due to the solidity and complexity of the hinge
  • Also can be used to replace a sliding sash-style window

Sliding Sash

Vrogum Sliding Sash
Grey Sliding Sash Windows
As the name suggests, the window opens by sliding the upper and lower sections up or down.

  • Very popular in old townhouses
  • Sometimes required in conservation areas and other classically-styled neighbourhoods
  • No visible hinges or mechanism
  • Often a specialist item that most manufacturers don’t offer. For us, Vrogum in Denmark make our Airtight Sliding Sash
  • Has a poor reputation for airtightness and insulation thanks to old UK-made products
  • One of the most expensive options when combined with a Class 4 airtight seal and good overall Uw value
  • Can come in the weighted box-sash or spring-balanced.
  • An inward-tilting mechanism is often available to assist with cleaning

Tilt Turn

Open Tilt and Turn Window
Large Tilt and Turn Window

A tilt and turn window fundamentally opens inwards on two axis.

  • The window can tilt – inwards with the sash remaining fixed at the base, to provide a small amount of airflow.
  • And the window can turn inwards – mainly to provide a means of escape from a room in case of fire, or to air out a room quickly.
  • Provides a similarly large opening area to a sidehung window
  • This is the only configuration available for our flagship German products and, whilst it is not the norm in the UK, many Germans do not understand why anything else should be fitted.
  • Also available from our Danish factories
  • Normally has a thicker frame width compared to an outward-opener
  • The are main advantage is flexibility – effectively having 2 windows in 1
  • Combine this with the ability to very easily clean from the inside, and you have a very practical and sensible configuration.
  • Great for use alongside a juliet balcony
  • If you have a window in a hard-to-reach place (perhaps over a deep kitchen counter), opening outwards can be frustrating. An inward opening tilt-turn window can remove this problem.
  • Compared to the other window opening types, tilt-turn is the most complex and will therefore normally be the most expensive of the window opening types.
  • Tilt-turn windows can also be made into door-height units. Although the door will still have the handle only on the inside
  • We’ve written a more detailed article on tilt turn windows if you would like more information.


Fixed Stairwell Windows
Technically not one of the window “opening” types, but still relevant.

  • The main advantage of this is that, a fixed window is the cheapest to buy: some manufacturers can create the same sized fixed glazed window for half the price of an opener.
  • Often will have a must thinner frame compared to an opening window
  • Or, can often be made to look identical to an opening frame
  • A fixed frame normally has a better overall Uw value compared to an opener of the same size
  • Watch out though! If you provide an estimator with a window to quote, without specifying how or if it will open, they will probably assume that it is fixed. Before ordering, make sure that your lovely glazed porch door will actually open!
  • This modern newbuild features large glazed areas – perfect use of fixed windows
Large Fixed Windows

The Next Step…

Now that you know how your new windows will operate, perhaps you now need to decide on the frame material? Or maybe you need an idea of how much they will cost.
Either way, Enlightened windows can provide you with the best solution for your project. We hope to hear from you soon. We are available to talk through what you require from your project on 01608 684 607.
Furthermore, we are Fensa installers and Which? Trusted Traders. So we can install your new windows as well as supply you with the perfect product.

Contact us!

For any questions about our products and services, or to get your quote,
please get in touch by phone, email, or using our in-browser contact form!

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E-mail : sales@enlightenedwindows.co.uk
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