Hi, I am purchasing a property in Nova Scotia, (Hot Summers, Cold
Winters). The property is approx. 60 years old and has had some
upgrades done over the past number of years. However, one thing that
has never been done to the house was the addition of new windows. The
existing windows are old wooden sliders with aluminum storm windows
outside. They aren't very efficient and are ugly from both the inside
and outside. My Question is this...Which should I buy, casement
windows or Double hung? I like the look of casements, but I have heard
in the past that they can give you problems, (mechanically) later on.
At the same time, I'm not a huge fan of double hung windows, but less
parts mean less wear which means better overall lifespan. Is this true
or just a myth. feel free to comment.
On Thu, 30 Jul 2009 19:51:18 -0700 (PDT), camryguy89
Casements can provide better ventilation, since the whole area can
open and the glass can catch a crossing breeze. It can also block a
crossing breeze, so if you can, orient per prevailing winds.
Casements can provide a better view..no middle frame members in the
I believe, over time, casements seal better. A good lasting seal is
IMO easier to obtain/maintain with a compression seal than a sliding
seal. Plus, the area to be sealed is less with a casement; no center
bar, which is particularly hard to seal well.
Casements can be an obstruction hazard when they open into/over active
space, such as a deck.
The casement mechanism can be a weak spot, but so can the spring
balances often used in DH. In high quality windows, neither should be
an issue, provided you take time periodically to do preventive
maintenance. There is more PM on casements, since the hinges and
locks and the mechansim have to be cleaned and lubed periodically.
Plus the outside pane is often exposed more to the sun since it sticks
out when open. Again, not usually and issue with high quality
From a design aspect, I find casements often look a bit out of place
in more traditional style homes. But that's personal preference.
You can't as easily use a window air conditioner or window fan with
I have casements. From the outisde they look nice. But I find them a real
pain. To install a window AC unit is next to impossible. And lately they
aren't closing all the way. If it gets very windy I have to close them so
they won't get damaged by wind force. I'd rather have double hung windows.
One point I forgot in my original reply: Modern tilt-in double hungs
are a breeze to clean, especially on upper stories. At least one
manufacturer is now making casements that can tilt in for cleaning; I
imagine more will follow.
Good casements wont be an issue, cheap anything can be. The installer
is critical as 1/8" out of plumb, level, square voids most warrantys.
www.energystar.gov has good starting info. Get what looks best with
your homes style, casements do allow more air when open and do seal
better for high wind areas, but you must compare performance data to
know what you are buying, dont listen to salesman.
Every pro has it's con.
The casements catch the breeze better for ventilation, but in Nova
Scotia a breeze can turn into a gale in no time - and an open casement
in a gale is an invitation to disaster.
I'd go for a high quality vinyl double-hung.
Fenergic, euro vinyl, or top of the line Beauville or something along
that line -
re: "The installer is critical as 1/8" out of plumb, level, square
voids most warrantys."
This reminds me of something that I always thought about when I was
installing my windows last year.
Plumb, Level, and *Square*
If the top and the bottom of the window are level, and both sides are
plumb, how can the window not be square?
Sure, I always took the diagonal measurements, but I never really saw
the point. With the top and bottom level and both sides plumb, the
diagonal measurements have to be equal.
If one side or either the top or bottom of the window was longer than
it's opposing side, then your level would never show level and/or
plumb all the way around, so there would be no point in checking for
What could cause a window that was level and plumb to be out of square?
Are you asking about single casements, double casements or even triple
If you are talking vinyl replacement in a double casment, be aware
that the mullion (the vertical "post" in between the 2 sections) is
going to be close to 6" wide, since it is made up of the sash for both
panes as well as the locking post. This will obstruct a lot of the
viewing area. It's much bigger than the mullion on wooden double
casements and wooden or vinyl sliders.
I assume you know that you have other options also, such as awnings
I'm about to replace the double casement over the kitchen sink with a
vinyl slider since the window is fairly small and the mullion on a
slider is the same width as a double hung, just vertical. It won't
obstruct any more view than the existing casement. The shape of the
opening - within an inch of square - would make a double hung look
Adding windows or replacing windows?
No. 1 priority is to see whether attic has proper insulation. I have R60
up there here in Alberta. Regardless of style, well made windows work
very well. Many many choices of glass, frame, etc.
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