Type of window on porch?

OaktownNovember 16, 2012

New here and would appreciate any opinions regarding our window decision.

We're in the process of designing a house that includes a wraparound porch. The architect and builder are suggesting that we consider something other than a double-hung window for increased energy efficiency.

Three of the possible alternatives are Loewen access windows, Loewen casements, and Marvin tilt-turns. I would prefer not to do the casements because I would not want someone on the porch to walk into an open casement. This might be a bit less of a concern with the access windows as we've been told we might be able to do something to restrict how wide the window will normally open (but also that could be removed to allow full access if necessary). The rooms with windows looking out on the porch are kitchen, utility room, office, and bedroom (the bedroom also has an exterior door for egress).

What would you do? Access, casement, tilt-turn or double-hung? Thanks in advance for any advice.

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I am doing casement...both for the view and efficiency. I have had casement before on porches and it is very easy to open them and wash them from both sides while in the process.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 1:55PM
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I would use the Tilt & Turns myself for the exact reasons you give about people walking into the open sash. Access windows you will end up with some of the same issues and while Tilt & Turns are not cheap I imagine Access windows would be even more expensive. Or if your not in an extreme weather area maybe look at French Inswing Casements.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:02PM
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What is the architectural style of your house and what windows are appropriate for it?

It's not always productive to "mix an match" when designing and building a home. I'm not sure why you are being told that double-hung windows are inherently inefficient. Will you be living in an inhospitable environment?

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 3:33PM
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What is an access window?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Thank you for the responses!

Generally speaking I might be more sensitive about the safety issue, we have young children and I will admit a bit sheepishly that I once walked into an open first-floor casement and it was not fun.

Virgilcarter, I don't think the house has a style, maybe "updated farmhouse" -- basically a rectangle with gabled roof and dormers, porch wraps 3 sides, garage is detached. Double-hungs would be appropriate, and if we go with a different window we would apply muntins in such a way as to suggest a double-hung. The climate is hospitable, but we would like to be energy efficient and selected the architect and builder in part because of their focus on such things. They've said that the other types of windows have better air seals than the double-hung.

I'm just not sure where I come out on the trade-off between energy efficiency and the suitability of the different types of windows. Any other thoughts are welcomed!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Renovator 8,
The access window is somewhat akin to an awning window but it has mechanisms on the left and right sides so that it can tilt out at top or bottom, or it can rotate open for egress. I had never seen this kind of window before the builder sent me to the Loewen website.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:58PM
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Would such a window be more energy efficient than a double hung?

In any event, unless it was flush with the floor, wide enough, and tall enough, it would not qualify as part of an egress path so it would more properly be called an emergency escape and rescue opening if it met that standard.

Manufacturers are notorious for adopting misleading or inappropriate terms to describe their products.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:15PM
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Just my opinion, but this seems much too complicated for normal residential construction.

Quality double-hung windows have been in existance for hundreds for years and modern double-hungs, double glazed and properly caulked and sealed are very efficient. The operative word is "quality"!

If divided lights are desired, there's a range of options, depending on aesthetics and budget.

Farmhouse type houses typically use double-hungs. All of these other types of windows sound much more expensive to me for no apparent additional value. Porch windows don't need to be tilted out or turned or some other type of access for normal use or for cleaning--they are on a porch, with easy access to both the inside and outside, right?

If this were my house, it would be double-hungs--end of story!

Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:20PM
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I appreciate the reality check!

I am leaning towards the double-hungs. While I like the tilt-turns I suspect those would be inconvenient in the kitchen and office areas.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Can you put a screen on an access window? Also, they look like you could walk into an open window. I'm biased, our windows are tilt and turn.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Just curious, do you find that you have to adjust your use of the kitchen because of the tilt and turn windows? Our current kitchen layout has no uppers on the exterior wall, just windows over a run of counter.

The manufacturer's website says that the access windows can be screened but I am not visualizing how that works and have not yet been able to find a good photo. Maybe before I rule out the compression seal type of windows I'll try to visit a dealer to see how they work in real life.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:15AM
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There is no better practical design for a residential window than a double-hung because it is possible to raise the lower sash and lower the upper sash for good ventilation, screens can fit on the outside, the open sash does not create a hazard, adjacent windows so not bounce sound to other rooms, and they cost less than other types.

The drawbacks of a double-hung are that the weatherstripping for a sliding sash is not as effective as for a swinging sash where it is compressed and it is difficult to operate a double-hung over a kitchen sink.

Other considerations are the style of the house and emergency escape and rescue requirements.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:09AM
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For the lower level with easy access to clean the windows I'd also look at single hungs. A little better for energy efficiency vs double since half is stationary.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Oaktown, I'm not sure what you mean. Why would we have to adjust our use of the kitchen? We mainly use our windows in the tilt mode. If I were ordering our kitchen window now, I would make the handle an inch or two lower. My husband doesn't have a problem reaching it, but it is a little bit of a stretch for me to reach it since there is a counter in front of the window.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Just wanted to provide some additional information about the access windows for anyone who might be interested. I went to the showroom to see how they work, and they are similar to awning windows, but the mechanisms extend out to allow the window to rotate 180 degrees. This would be convenient for a second-floor application (easy cleaning) but definitely is overkill for our porch, so we have ruled those out. Even so, I was quite impressed with the Loewen windows and doors -- they are really beautiful. Thanks to everyone for their input!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 12:23AM
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An update for others who are considering window types. We finally decided to use french casement windows. The ones on the porch will be inswing french casements (thank you millworkman!). Those will work with our interior traffic pattern. Our architect also gave us a thumbs up from an aesthetic perspective -- although we are not trying to follow any particular historical style the closest thing is probably lowcountry/french colonial.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:36PM
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