April 27, 2021


Suppose you are considering building a new home or renovating your property. In that case, operable windows and fixed windows are essential structural and aesthetic components that you will need to consider for your project. Over time window technology has progressed, and today, there are various types, shapes, and openings to choose from. In this post, we will give an overview of fixed windows and operable windows to help you understand your options so you can make the most informed decision for your new project!

Operable Windows vs. Fixed Windows

There a numerous different types of windows but we are going to focus on two primary categories. Those are fixed windows and operable windows. Both types of windows can be used on commercial or residential applications. Depending on the type you select, there are up to five different shapes available: rectangular, square, shaped or angled, arched, and round.

Fixed windows are also known as picture windows. They are constructed out of a glass pane and a frame and are sealed units that cannot be opened. Due to their design, they are affordable and, in general, maintenance-free. This type of window is a good choice for energy efficiency, natural light, and exterior views. Unlike operable windows, fixed windows do not require any hardware or screen. Fixed windows are commonly used in large openings for spaces such as living rooms and dining rooms. They are also frequently used in combination with operable windows.

Operable windows have all the benefits of fixed windows; however, they can be opened and closed. This ability helps to improve the comfort inside a home or building by allowing for additional ventilation. Since operable windows have a more complex design than fixed windows, they are typically the more expensive option. These windows also require maintenance and use other hardware such as screens, seals, opening mechanisms, and locking mechanisms.

Types of Operable Windows

In general, there are eight types of operable window configurations. They include single-hung, double-hung, French, casement, integrated, hopper, awning, and tilt and turn.

Single-hung or horizontal slider windows are the most common type of operable window. They are lockable, and the lower sash slides upwards to create an opening.

Double-hung windows have the benefits of a single-hung window, but in addition, the upper sash slides down to allow for more airflow. Double-hung windows are also very easy to clean because each sash tilts open. This type of window does not require a large amount of space and is commonly used above kitchen sinks.

French windows are two horizontal panes that are hinged on opposing sides. The panes open away from the room and usually do not have a mullion between them. These are usually placed near terraces and decks.

Casement windows are usually a single square or rectangular pane window that functions similarly to a door. The hinges and cranking mechanism allow the window to swing outward. This type of window is ideal for tall openings.

Integrated window systems are typically used in curtain wall commercial applications, but they have also grown in popularity with residential applications. These windows provide an ultra-modern appearance.

Hopper windows are hinged at the bottom, and the top swings open towards the inside of a room. They are typically placed close to the ceiling for improved ventilation, and they usually open to ninety degrees or forty-five degrees. Hopper windows are regularly used in basements.

Awning windows are similar to hopper windows, but they are hinged on the top, and they open out and away from a room. These windows are usually used in wider openings.

Tilt and turn windows function like a casement window and a hopper window combined. They can swing open with both horizontal and vertical hinges.

As you can see, there are numerous different types of windows to choose from if you are in the market for operable windows or fixed windows. Each of these types offers unique aesthetics and can also significantly improve the functionality of a room or space. That being said, take the time to research what options are available for your project so you can make the most appropriate choice. If you are overwhelmed, a builder or experienced glass shop such as Glass Inc. can help. Glass Inc. specializes in operable windows and has the experience to help you choose the perfect window combination for your project. Contact our office today to answer any questions you might have or to request additional information!

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