Tilt & Turn Windows
Tilt and turn frames offer an alternative to conventional casement ones. The design originates from Germany, and although they are well known throughout Europe, they are relatively new to the UK market.
They are side hinged windows that can be tilted inwards to an angle of around 15 degrees which allows ventilation at the top of the frame; or alternatively opened fully into the room rather than outwards.
They are operated by turning the handle a quarter turn to put the window into a safe tilted position, or by turning the handle a half turn and pulling the entire sash open, as you would a door.
They can be set into any type of frame just like casement windows, and offer the same versatility when being used for replacement windows on period properties where design style needs to be retained. The interesting difference is that tilt and turn frames open inwards, something we are not used to in the UK.
This can offer several advantages which we will look at in further detail later, but it is worth pointing out immediately that an inward opening window will require space to open; space which may be at a premium in a smaller property.
What are the benefits of tilt and turn?
Tilt and turn windows do offer quite a few benefits, which is making them a more and more popular choice for consumers. They are regularly used for hotels, offices and high rise buildings, while they are frequently specified for new build flats.
Burglar security is a big feature of this type of window; they have locking mechanisms around the full perimeter of the frame, making it very difficult to penetrate.
The ease of cleaning is one of the key reasons they are so popular in flats. As the window can be swung open fully into the room, it is simple to clean on the outside without leaning out or being in any danger.
The design provides a great way of ventilating a house. They open to an angle of about 15 degrees, affording good air flow, but remain locked and secure against intruders.
The windows can be opened full and wide to afford greater airflow when quick air exchange is needed. Tilt and turn windows provide extra safety in two respects; when locked in the tilt position there is no risk of falling from inside. But when opened, they offer an excellent escape route in an emergency such as a fire, if ever necessary.
Are there any disadvantages?
There a few drawbacks to this type of windows, that are worth considering before deciding on the final choice of window. They are generally considered to be more costly to repair or replace than standard casement types.
If the wind catches a window it is possible it could forcefully swing it open, although many manufacturers now include a limiter system which prevents it from opening too wide.
As we touched on earlier, one of the biggest problems could be the inward opening of the design. In small properties the opening arc of the window could take up valuable space; it will affect where furniture is placed and may not operate alongside certain types of curtain or blind, limiting the consumer’s choice.
Do they cost any extra?
Tilt and turn style windows are generally more expensive than other types of window. Some manufacturers quote these windows as around 30% extra than conventional casement windows.
As ever with double glazing, it is essential to gather several quotes from national companies as well as local suppliers and fitters. Prices tend to vary greatly, so a figure of 30% is very much an industry estimate, and not always applicable.
It is also important to weigh up all the benefits against the extra cost involved; tilt and turn may provide better insulation and less heat loss, so could save money in the long term.
The look and the style of the windows may make them worth the extra investment for some people, while the added safety and security features will appeal to others.
Do they meet the legal requirements?
It is important to check with the supplier or manufacturer you are using and confirm the specification of the windows to ensure they meet building regulations, however, in general terms tilt and turn windows are fully compliant with the current legal regulations in the UK.
There is a requirement for the U-value of the window, which most double glazed units on the market today are designed to meet.
Rooms on floors above ground level are required to have a suitable escape window; this excludes kitchens, bathrooms, WC’s, shower rooms, and utility rooms.
Rooms at ground level where the only escape is via another room must also have a compliant escape window.
To be defined as such, the bottom of the window should be no higher than 1100mm from the floor, and it should have an unobstructed opening area of at least 0.33 square metres. Tilt and turn windows easily meet this requirement, making them excellent ‘escape windows’.
Other criteria laid out in building regulations covers means of ventilation, protection from falling and conservation of fuel and power; all of which is met by tilt and turn windows.
The style of the tilt and turn window is relatively new to the UK, but is growing in popularity in commercial buildings, new builds, and residential properties alike.
They offer great versatility, they are able to be tilted at a slight angle to allow airflow without compromising security, and able to be swung fully open into the room affording access for easy cleaning.
On the downside, they do tend to be a little more expensive than more conventional styles, both to purchase and to repair or replace. And in some properties, particularly smaller ones, they are not practical due to the in-swinging sash taking up valuable space.
In terms of the look, the quality, and their compliance with building regulations tilt and turn windows stand up well against other designs; the extra benefits they offer above conventional ones is what makes them such an attractive choice.