What Are Casement Windows: A Complete Guide

Lighting is a massively important part of any house, but it’s often an overlooked one, and this is precisely what we’ll be talking about today: windows. To be specific – casement windows. But, firstly – what are casement windows?

A casement window is a kind of window that is attached to its frame by side-mounted hinges. They can be used singly or in pairs and remain open using a casement stay. Casement windows are one of the safest windows against break-ins because you can only open them from inside.

Casements are hinged windows at the sides, and they’re known for their unique ability to swing outward. They look like a picture window because a casement window has no rail, unlike double-hung or sliding windows.

There is more to casement windows than one might think. Today, we’ll be taking a look into casement windows, their pros and cons, safety, different models, and how they hold up in comparison to other windows. Let’s get started.

What are Casement Windows?

A casement window, often called just a casement, is a window that is attached to its frame by one or more hinges at the side.

Casement windows were popular before sash windows (windows with at least one slidable panel) became famous in the 17th century, made of metal with leaded glass (or glass panes) held in place with lead strips. These windows were generally hinged on the side and opened inward.

When the Victorian era had started, builders made casement windows from timber. These windows also had functional exterior shutters, which opened outward. Casement windows are still the norm in a lot of European cities today.

Most casements are opened with a crank, lever, or handle – placed at hand height or the bottom. The handle most often serves as a lock for the window as well. If the window is opening outward, a crank, stay, or a friction handle must hold the window in position.

Nowadays, the glass panels are set in place (a rabbeted frame) and sealed with beveled putty or a glazing compound. This way, the glass panel is completely sealed, which ensures two things:

Firstly, it won’t fall out, and secondly, no air will go through (which is very important when winter comes around).

The hinges are placed on the right or left side, depending on how you want the window to open. The locking mechanism is always on the opposite side.

Casement windows were noted for being more ecological than sash windows, and this is because the frame doesn’t slide. Instead, it presses against the glass panel (or rather – the glass panel presses against the frame). As a result, they don’t let air through if they’re set up correctly – they’re very good at conserving heat and creating a natural ‘greenhouse effect’ in your house.

They’re also outstanding in natural ventilation strategies, especially in hot climates. They allow for more control over ventilation than flush-opening windows do. In addition, they’re often hinged at an angle to direct breezes into the building.

Advantages of Casement Windows?

Casement windows are easily replaceable compared to sash windows due to their different mechanisms. They are fantastic for ventilation, economical, efficient, and customizable.

One of the most talked-about advantages of a casement window is ventilation.

Ventilation

When you buy a double-hung window, you can only open half of it. However, when you buy a casement window, you’re buying the option of opening the whole window, which ultimately leads to better ventilation, as more air can pass through. 

In addition, the open glass panel leads a breeze into your house for refreshment. These windows act as a sort of funnel. They can harness a side breeze that would otherwise pass right by your home. 

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This is especially useful if you’re living in a crowded neighborhood. If there isn’t too much space between your house and your neighbor’s place, casement windows can offer a solution where you don’t have to sacrifice your space while still getting good ventilation.

If fresh air is a priority to you, then casement windows should be your first choice.

Security

Since all four sides of a casement window are sealed into the sash when the window is locked inside, it is much more challenging to break in. The reason for this is twofold.

Remember that scene from literally every movie ever, when the intruder punches the glass, and it breaks open? The intruder then uses that hole to open the lock from the inside. That’s almost impossible with these windows. 

The glass panel is tightly sealed, and it’s often a different kind of glass – a lot of these windows are made of double-layered glass. These panels are created by putting a strong, flexible plastic mesh between two glass panels, connecting them into a single panel.

This plastic mesh makes it very difficult to break through the glass (that’s what they use for windows and windshields on cars).

The second reason why it’s challenging to break in with this window is because of the lock. The locks on these windows have a hook shape and embed into the frame to keep thieves from prying open the window.

When you compare this to double-hung windows (which can be opened from the outside with literally just a crowbar), it’s safe to say that casement windows are much safer.

The windows also have internal window beading explicitly designed to prevent burglars’ removal of the glazed panes. The stainless-steel hinges add additional security.

Weatherproof

The strong locking mechanism of casement windows keeps wind, rain, and snow from probing through. So even if you buy a single-layered casement window (just one layer of glass), you still don’t have to worry about weather elements getting inside your home. If anything, the chances of air passing through are smaller than double-layered glass. 

Energy-efficient

Casement windows being weatherproof will automatically translate to your utility bill. Since casement windows are so good at keeping the cold outside (where it should be), you’ll soon find that you’re saving money on utility bills. 

You’ve just installed your casement windows, and all of a sudden, your home is amazing at retaining heat. However, you’ll soon realize that installing these windows is an investment that goes beyond views and ventilation.

According to United Home Experts, “When these windows are closed, they are the most energy-efficient of all window types. In addition, because the casement window sash is movable, it can fasten very securely to the weather-stripping when in a locked position; thus, very little outside air can get in. This type of window is excellent to have in a very windy climate.”

Lesser view obstruction

While we’re on the topic of views, casement windows may be better for keeping a beautiful view beautiful than other windows. Double-hung windows, and other models, for that matter, have grid lines that will obstruct the horizon’s view.

Easy installation

Casement windows are very easily installed. This is another great benefit, as you can reinstall all the windows in your house in less than a week. 

Casement windows can easily fit into any area, with just a few adjustments made. This is even easier if your former windows were casement windows as well. If you decide to replace your used, sad-looking windows, buying casement windows should make it very easy.

Affordable

I should also point out that buying casement windows is saving money on its own. These windows are the most affordable ones out of all window styles. This is partly because of their popularity and partly because they’re so easy to install. They are fixed windows, which means that they need to be set up in the frame. However, no assembly is necessary (they come preassembled).

Accessibility

Their accessibility is another benefit. Casement windows come in all shapes and sizes, and you can hinge them from the side, the bottom, and the top. They’re wildly customizable, and you can make the house truly feel like home when you design it as you’d like.

They’re very stylish, primarily because of their slimline frame and wood-grain surfaces. This replicated the feeling and the appearance of traditional timber-made casement windows.

The windows are also low maintenance because they’re often aluminum-made. As a result, they’re effortless to look after, and unlike timber windows, they require no sanding or painting. Instead, you can wipe the window down with a wet cloth, and it’ll be clean.

Casement windows are also great for reducing the amount of sound coming from the outside. Double-glazed and triple-glazed casements are all great for noise reduction, with double-glazed windows reducing noise pollution levels by up to 70% (compared to single-glazed windows).

The last benefit of casement windows I’d like to point out is the coloring. You can choose any color for your window frame, be it in a color of wood, stone, or plain colors.

Are Casement Windows Better?

There are certain situations wherein casement windows may not be a better option. Even though casement windows have many benefits, they may not be suitable for every situation.

The following are the drawbacks that make other types of windows better than casements.

  • Inability to accommodate in-window air conditioners

This is because there’s nothing to hold the air conditioner in place (with a double-hung window, the top sash holds the AC unit in place). 

So, if you’re planning on leaving your AC unit in the house, you should also leave at least one double-hung window in the room. Otherwise, you won’t be able to cool your house down during those summer days.

  • Safety risk for small children

The reason for this is twofold: firstly, the window is opening inward, and uncareful children can often bump into the window. Second, it can be very dangerous if they hit their head against the pointy end of the window. 

Secondly, if there are no screens on the windows, your child is always at risk of accidentally falling through the window.

  • Limited in size

Casement windows need to be able to open inwards, so the frame needs to support the weight of the window. This may limit the size of the window you can have in terms of both dimensions and weight.

Also, if you have a small room, then the casement window may be an issue, as they’re opening inward. This means that they are taking up space on the inside when they are opened.

Are Casement Windows Safe?

Casement windows are safer than double-hung windows, and it’s mainly because of the way they’re built. Their frame is lined with stainless steel, the glass is double or triple-glazed, and the window itself is very heavy (which makes it difficult for the wannabe burglar to break).

They can’t even be opened with crowbars from the outside, unlike double-hung windows.

The only way a burglar could break in through a casement window is by breaking the glass and turning the handle from the outside. And there are two reasons why this won’t happen:

Firstly, since the glass is most likely double-glazed or triple-glazed, it’s tough for the burglar to break it. It will take more than a single blow for the glass to crack. Burglars like to get in, take what they want, and get out – quickly. This window ensures that even if they manage to pull it off, it won’t be quick. This leaves them vulnerable to being caught.

The second reason burglars don’t like breaking through glass is the loud noise it makes, basically alerting the homeowner of the burglary as soon as it happens.

You also have the option of removing the handle entirely (if you don’t plan on opening the window), and this way, you can ensure children (or anyone, for that matter) won’t be able to open the window.

Also, even if burglars manage to break the glass, they won’t be able to open the window; they’ll have to crawl through shards of broken glass.

They usually don’t come with locks, but you can install them additionally.

The only way they may be unsafe is because children may bump against the window frame, which can lead to injury.

Types of Casement Windows?

There are 3 different types of casement windows:

1. Single frame casement windows are considered to be the most common ones. These windows have panels of glass separated by wooden strips inside the frame. They can open inward or outward, depending on how they’re mounted. They boast a simple yet elegant look and are remarkably easy to operate and maintain.

2. Double casement windows, often called French casement windows, have two sashes that open from the center – with no center stile, offering a wide, unobstructed pane of glass. This custom option is hinged on each side and can operate with a single, easy-to-reach handle.

3. Push-out casement windows are unique. They don’t have a crank, just a handle that you have to turn and push the window out. They’re very simple, easy to use, and have a minimalistic feel to them, and you can get them in both traditional and contemporary styles to match your home’s design.

Push-out French casement windows are a combination of push-out windows and French casement windows. They have two sashes that open from the center, with two matching handles, wide wood sash frames, and historical stays that hold the window open.

4. Picture windows with casement flankers are an excellent addition to any home. They are clear and beautifully wide – allowing in a lot of natural light and an uninterrupted landscape view. In addition, they let a lot of natural light in and highlight your home’s design. 

Unfortunately, they’re usually fixed and not operable. For ventilation, owners usually add a casement window alongside the picture window. One casement window on each side of the picture window allows ventilation and lighting.

5. Inswing casement windows are pretty self-explainable. They swing inward instead of swinging outward. They’re a good solution for houses with hanging flower pots or something similar in front of the windows.

Outswing casement windows are the opposite of inswing casement windows. Many people prefer this over inswing because they don’t have to worry about bumping into the frame.

Do Casement Windows Have Screens (and what are their pros and cons)?

You can install screens on casement windows. This option, however, has its pros and cons.

If you install screens, you’re ensuring adequate protection from insects, dirt, flying objects that may smack against your window (primarily balls thrown by children), and believe it or not – burglars.

It seems like I’m mentioning this a lot, but safety is paramount. Removing a screen is another complication for the burglar, and seeing that they have to do this may deter them from their intentions.

Installing a screen can ensure that you can keep your window open without worrying about a misthrown ball making its way into your house, breaking vases, or hurting someone.

But insect protection is probably the number one reason anyone insists on installing window screens. If you live in a tropical area, it’s a way to open your window without worrying about those pesky mosquitoes and other insects that would gladly make their way into your home.

Screens may also help with your financial savings. Although they aren’t bulletproof, they can still withstand some abuse from natural elements – especially wind. So you can freely leave your windows open during the night without worrying that something’s going to get blown over.

They also filter airborne junk, which will save you a lot of time when cleaning, and as a result, also protect you and your family from allergies.

Finally, if you live in an area that’s often witnessing hailstorms, you should know that screens (that are on the outside) offer a layer of protection for the windows. If the storm is strong enough, no kind of screen will save your window from the damage that comes with the hail, but little pieces of hail won’t pass the screen and won’t scratch the glass on your window.

There are some downsides to windows screens too.

Firstly, dirt can and will get caught in the mesh, which means you will have to clean it. This, however, isn’t that difficult – as all you need to clean a mesh is a steady stream of water.

On the other hand, snow and ice getting trapped between the screen and the window is a much larger issue. This happens during the winter months, and it can cause long-term damage to the sill and the window frame. In addition, snow is heavy, so it can damage the screen by bending it, while ice is destructive. 

This issue can quickly be resolved, though – take your screens off during the winter. 

Another disadvantage of having a window screen is that they reduce lighting, which isn’t much of a problem when you remember how many insects it will keep from entering your home.

Are Casement Windows More Expensive?

Casement windows are somewhere in the middle, between cheap and expensive. Pricing for this sort of window isn’t fixed, as it depends on two things: size and window material.

Smaller windows (1m x 0.5m) are the cheapest ones to make, with prices ranging from $200 to $375 for PVC windows, $600 to $900 for wooden windows, and $540 to $680 for aluminum windows.

Larger windows (1.2m x 1.2m) range from $350 to $900 for PVC windows, $1370 to $1500 for wooden windows, and $770 to $960 for aluminum windows.

We’ll be taking a closer look at pricing when we compare these windows to other models.

Like Basement Egress, some of the more expensive windows can cost over $5000 with installation. For example, Bay windows can cost over $7000 with installation, while Bow windows take the prize of being the most expensive windows with installation at over $10000. Finally, of course, there are custom windows, but we’re not considering them for this discussion.

Cheaper windows, like single-hung windows, can cost up to $600 with installation. Fixed Picture windows cost about $1,200 with the installation while sliding windows cost about $1,300, including installation.

Casement windows somehow fit right in the middle of this discussion, costing about $1,900 with installation.

All these prices vary based on the contractor installing the windows and the company producing them.

If you think buying more expensive windows will provide you better quality, or purchase something a cheaper window type would not have much difference, the following comparisons are a must-read for you. But, first, here is why casement windows are worth their price:

How Casement Windows Differ From Other Windows?

Casement windows have several advantages in comparison to other windows.

Slider windows will often collect debris on the tracks, which will, in return, make them difficult to open and close. These windows are also quite loud, producing a distinct sound when opening and closing. Casement windows, on the other hand, are quiet and don’t collect dirt and debris.

Double-hung and single-hung windows can be difficult to open because they’re opening vertically – fighting gravity. This isn’t an issue with casement windows. Also, if the vertically moving windows’ lifting device breaks, the window will not stay open.

Another advantage casement windows have in comparison to other windows is the screens mentioned above. Screens are usually placed on the inside when it comes to casement windows (unless they’re inward opening), and these screens collect much less trash and debris, making them easier to clean.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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