Styles of windows are really about personal preference…if you even get the opportunity to make a choice. What I mean is, the windows in an existing house were probably selected based on the architecture or building trends in the region. For instance, a double-hung window is traditionally seen in colonial style homes, turn of the century construction and prairie style farmhouses. Awning or hopper windows are seen more in contemporary homes. Sliders or gliders (same difference) are seen almost exclusively in the western half of the country. My personal favorite, casements, are typically reserved for higher-end, luxury homes.
Yes, I think casement windows are the best choice for all homes, but probably not for the reasons you think. This reasons talked about below explain why I don’t like making double-hung windows and why I’d rather be making casement windows. Casement windows are definitely our biggest sellers, and here are a few reasons why.
1. Ease of Design
Casement sashes, for the most part, are all built the same way. Regardless of the brand, the design principles are generic. The reason why Fenster sashes are the same but, at the same time, different from the original is because of the available components.
In all of our re-designs, I started with the original template for the sash frame and adapted the original design to our proprietary cladding shapes. This results in an after-market casement sash that retains the same fit and function of the original but built using our own components.
2. Ease of Assembly
Double-hung windows are a pain to build; they have too many different parts. Casement windows have at most 2 different parts: the sides are the same and the top and bottom are the same. And some models are even easier because they have the same part all the way around.
I have re-designed the joinery in most of the models we produce to be stronger, seal better and make assembly more efficient.
3. Ease of Identification
Double-hung windows are tough because they all look similar. Double-hung windows typically don’t have the labels or badging you would find on casement windows. However, that’s not to say casement windows are always labeled. The difference is casement windows typically have specific design elements that we use to identify them.
It’s very common for a customer to give us numbers they see printed on or between the panes of glass as a model number. Rarely do these mean anything but glass production tags. 42095 is not a model number: It means that glass was made on April 20, 1995. We identify windows by appearance. Exterior views, along with edge profiles, typically will show us everything we need to identify the model. That’s assuming, of course, it’s a model we’ve seen before!
4. Ease of Repair
I’m being a little selective here, but I want to make this point. I’m not saying double-hung windows can’t be repaired, but if I had to pick best selling products and their specific application, I would say an aluminum clad casement window is our biggest seller.
Most aluminum clad casement windows from the ’80s and ’90s were built using a wood sash with metal cladding over it and a solid metal frame unit in the wall. Well, conceivably the metal frame will never go bad. The sash, however, could have any number of failure issues. It makes far more sense to just replace the sash than tear out the whole frame that won’t ever go bad.
Casement windows offer a larger daylight opening than double-hung windows. By their design, casement windows offer larger openings unobstructed by sash dividers that break up your view.
Casement windows, again, by their design, seal better than double-hung windows. Now I’m speaking from our perspective of the wood window industry of the last 40 years. The vinyl guys may want to argue this point, but I’m comparing wood casement windows to wood double-hung windows with compression jambliners.
Casement windows have a smoother operation and better locking mechanisms to draw the sash in tight for a better seal. Compression, tilt-in double-hung windows, by their design, can only seal so tight. Otherwise, they would be relatively in-operable and wouldn’t slide well.
Casement windows offer a wider variety of size and configuration choices than double-hung windows. To recap the daylight point, double-hung windows are typically used for smaller openings.
To make matters worse, when a vinyl guy wants to stick a smaller window in an already small opening and call that “replaced,” well, now your window just got 30% even smaller. Casement windows are built for larger openings and can be configured with transoms, radius tops and special shapes for infinite design capabilities.
This is really in that realm of personal preference, but I think casement windows just look better on a house for most of the previous reasons.
9. Failure Rate
Oaky, let’s take this thing is a different direction. I like casement windows because they fall apart more often. A casement sash sits proud of the frame subjecting it to a higher rate of failure due to weather or hail damage. Additionally, I see countless design flaws that actually contribute to the failure of the sash over time.
It’s almost like the window companies wanted the window to fail. Hum? The good news is, we fixed a lot of the issues that made the originals fail! I’ve built in countless design and joinery improvements to Fenster sashes to make them better than the original.
10. Price Point
It’s no secret casement windows are more expensive. It’s no secret casement windows are on fancy custom homes. It’s no secret casement windows are my favorite to sell! Let me make this point: This whole idea, this movement if you will, to promote sash replacement is a win-win for everyone…well almost everyone.
I don’t spend a second arguing with the guy that says he can get a window for a $100 bucks at Lowes. He sure can! Not the window that fits the house he’s working on, however. I am working to position Fenster Components to compete directly with “wood window” replacement companies to offer homeowners a different option. I bid on whole house projects regularly, whether it be for hail damage claims or efficiency upgrades.
Fenster is consistently a 50%-60% savings on a whole house sash replacement vs. a whole house tear out. It’s a no brainer.
Fenster replacement casement windows can save you tens of thousands of dollars, weeks of dirt and destruction, a general upheaval of your daily life and still solve practically any reason you have to tear out all of your windows.
If you want to talk about repairing or replacing your original wood windows, we want to help. Click here to read about all of our different product offerings or click here for hints & tips, as well as to contact us.