5 Popular Window Opening Types

Before wandering into the world of obtaining quotes for your windows, you should probably have an idea about how you want them to work. Material used and glass type are important, but window companies will need a little more information than “they need to open”.

To avoid a lengthy telephone explanation, keep on reading for the most popular opening types of windows.


Side Hung

Side Hung Rationel Forma
Simple, effective and our most requested window opening types. Side hung windows have visible hinges on one side, and a handle on the other. Seem simple? It is!

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.

Side Guided

Side Guided 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 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. 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. Furthermore, if you’re planning on fitting bedroom windows, the sash moving across reduces the “free opening”. This means that it is a little more awkward to produce a window that is suitable for a fire escape.

Top Guided

Rationel FormaPlus Open
A very popular design for windows that are wider than they are tall.

The window handle is located at the bottom of the sash, and it opens outwards and upwards. Normally, up to a 90 degree angle to the frame.

Another simple and effective window configuration.

Top Swing

Top Swing Window Open
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.

Not all manufactures can create this though, a good place to start looking for a top swing window is our Rationel page.

Tilt Turn

Open Tilt and Turn Window

A tilt and turn window fundamentally opens on two axis. Tilting – inwards with the sash remaining fixed at the base, to provide airflow. And turning – mainly to provide a means of escape from a room in case of fire.

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.

There are many advantages to it, chief among which is the flexibility of being able to either tilt the window slightly open (to provide ventilation) or to open the window inwards fully. Combine this with the ability to very easily clean from the inside, and you have a very practical and sensible configuration.

Furthermore, if you have a window in a hard-to-reach place, opening outwards can create even more of a pain. An inward opening tilt-turn window can help to reduce this annoyance too.

Compared to the other window opening types, tilt-turn is the most complex and will therefore normally be the most expensive.

We’ve written a more detailed article on tilt turn windows if you would like more information.


Technically not one of the window “opening” types, but still relevant. As the name suggests, fixed glazed windows are fixed. They don’t open. The main advantage of this is that, by far, 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.

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!

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.

Finally, which product should I look at?

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