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What’s the Difference Between an American Window and European Window? Part I

We are often asked: What is the difference between European Style windows and American Style Windows? We have compiled a list of different European Window Styles and American Window configurations.

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1. Fixed Window (see image below)

A fixed window is a standard window in Europe and North America that does not open. The function is limited to allowing light to enter (unlike an unfixed window, which can open and close). Used in situations where vision or light alone is needed, as no ventilation is required.

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2. Tilt and Turn Window (see image below)

A European dual functioning window.  A Tilt and Turn window can be opened two ways. The hardware inside the window allows the window to be either opened from the top with the hinges at the bottom (tilt) or using the hinges on the side and opens swinging inward (turn).

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Tilt and Turn European Window | Glo Aluminum A5

3. Single-Hung Window

A European window and American product. One sash is movable (typically the bottom sash) and the other fixed. This is the earlier form of sliding sash window, and is also less expensive than a double hung window.

4. Double-Hung Window

A European window and American made Product. A window with two parts (sashes) that overlap slightly and slide up and down inside the frame. Currently the majority of modern double-hung sash windows use spring balances to support the sashes, historically however, counterweights held in boxes on either side of the window were used. These were attached to the sashes using pulleys of either braided cord or, later, purpose-made chain.

5. Horizontal Sliding Window

A standard North American Window. The Horizontal sliding window does not protrude, and has two or more sashes side by side that overlap slightly but slide horizontally within the frame.

6. Casement Window

A standard North American operable window comprised of a hinged sash that swings outward. In the United States, these are usually opened using a crank. In parts of Europe they tend to use projection friction stays and espagnolette locking. Formerly, plain hinges were used with a casement stay. Handling applies to casement windows to determine direction of swing; a casement window may be left-handed, right-handed, or double.

7. Awning Window

An awning window is a casement window that is hung horizontally, hinged on top, so that it swings outward. This window is a typically a standard option in North America, it is a non-typical option in the European Product lines.

8. Hopper Window

A hopper window is a bottom-pivoting casement window that opens by tilting vertically, to the inside. In North America this window configuration is typically used in commercial building settings like a schools. In Europe this window is referred to as an Awning window and is used in both commercial and residential settings.

9. Tilt and Slide Window

A European window style is typically a larger door-sized window, where the sash tilts inwards at the top and then slides horizontally behind the fixed pane.

10. Transom Window (see image below)

A standard window both in Europe and North America. A transom is a window above a door; in an exterior door the transom window is often fixed, in an interior door it can open either by hinges at top or bottom, or rotate on hinges. It provided ventilation before forced air heating and cooling were available. A fan-shaped transom is known as a fanlight.

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Transom Window over European Lift & Slide Door | Glo Aluminum A5

Read Part II of this post here.

  • Oguz Han Erol

    I think that your illustration of 7 awning window is false, 7 and 8 are both hopper windows i think. Can you provide me a feedback about it?

    • Hello Oguz! Windows 7 & 8 are very similar in appearance on an elevation drawing. However, an “awning window” is hinged at top and swings outward vs. a “hopper window” which is hinged on bottom and swings inward. In North America, the window hinge-indicator-lines are drawn opposite to European window hinge-indicator-lines, which often causes confusion. So, to clarify, the “awning window” is drawn in North American drawing standards (hinge indicator lines converge where hinges are placed -hinged at top/swings outward), since it’s a North American style window. The “hopper window” is drawn in European drawing standards (hinge indicator lines converge where window opens -hinged on bottom/swings inward), since it’s a European style window. Hope that brings some clarity.

    • Aaron Scott Reay

      Europeans draw their windows backwards compared to American windows. Usually, you indicate the hinge by pointing at, but in Europe it points to the handle in the drawing.