Big awning windows and alternatives

karinlJanuary 22, 2010

Hi, I'm trying to design a replacement wood window for an odd opening in our old house. The opening is roughly 70 inches high and 60 inches wide, likely the result of removing two old double-hung windows and removing the stud between them. The current window in the space is a 70s aluminum special that is mostly fixed pane, with just a tiny slider that opens across the bottom.

For privacy reasons (faces neighbour's kitchen window some 12 feet away), we keep a curtain almost permanently closed across the bottom half, and because the window faces east and gets brutal sun in summer, there is also a full height horizontal venetian blind that remains closed on summer days until past noon. When that's open, which is all day for most of the year, the view above the curtain is nothing to speak of (the neighbour's roof) but we love the daylight.

One of the major reasons for replacing the window (besides that it's ugly) is to have one that we can open at the top and leave open overnight in summer without compromising security. We'd also like to open the lower parts from time to time, for air and for emergency exit. But it will be awkward to open them through venetian blinds, so we are thinking of just making a series of three full-width awning openings one below the other, the top one just 12 inches high and the lower two in the neighbourhood of 28 inches each. (27 and 29 or whatever works with the exact final dimensions).

We like awning windows since it rains a lot here :-) and if we want to air the place out in winter, chances are it'll be raining. Also, this puts the controls in reasonably accessible places with respect to the curtains and venetian.

It was suggested by one window store that the bottom two awning openings would be too heavy to stay open, so we're thinking we'll have to divide them in half. The problem with that is that we lose a bunch more daylight - the paradoxical appeal of the current windows is that we enjoy a lot of daylight, and every opening or division we create loses us another three inch strip or so.

Are there other ways to approach this opening that would be better, more functional, offer more daylight?

Thanks in advance,


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What about this picture unit above two awnings? I envision 60x50 on top, two 30x20 side-by-side below.
Easy to get as a custom size fully assembled unit.

Seems like it would meet all of your requirements.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:12PM
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From what i am looking at and thinking any quality wood window company will make what you would like, which is a 2 wide 3 high awning combo. Tell me if this is what your thinking - Top row - 2 venting awnings approx 24" x 30" Middle row 2 - stationary awnings same size, Bottom row 2 - Venting awnings same size. At the most the mullions would need to be reinforced but there is no reason why it could not be made. If you wanted smaller top row and larger below should be no problem either. I would recommend going to a quality lumber yard or a higher end window and door store,NOT a HD or Lowes or any other type of chain homecenter

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 1:56PM
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Thank you for the quick replies. Afsa, I didn't know there are different types of awnings - venting and stationary. I can't readily find definitions of those on line, so I hope you can clarify! (I also didn't know what a mullion was, but I was able to find that out, and reinforcing it is a good idea; that hadn't occurred to us). I certainly like the sound of venting for the top one at least.

Barring that, that is basically what I was thinking except I wonder if the top awning at only about 12 inches high could go all the way across.

And I am working with a small local shop that seems to do decent quality.

Awsdan, your idea doesn't address my primary need for an opening at the top, if I understand correctly, but if I adapt your suggestion to include a picture unit across the middle, that may do a lot to allow daylight if I have to divide the lower awning openings.

Thanks for the help - including for the terminology. I didn't even know to call a fixed pane a picture unit, so end up floundering when I'm trying to describe things.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 2:40PM
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Venting means operating and stationary would mean fixed. You may be able to get one width across the top row but i think it would like out of place I would use 2 across and i would also make them all the same size. As far as security an awning window usually only opens approx 6" or so so no one will ever fit it for certain that way. And last but not least mullion refers to single units with a frame being assembled together the joining points are called mullions

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 3:09PM
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OK... so what differentiates a stationary awning from a simple fixed picture window?

Other than that, that helps flesh out the options. Thanks again!


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 6:34PM
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A fixed awning is basically the same as the venting in that there is a sash set in the opening just no hardware. A fixed picture window can be 2 different types with either a fixed sash(again a venting type sash with no hardware)or what they call direct set or glazed directly in the frame with no sash

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:51AM
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Thanks again, Afsa, for that clarification. I can see why a person would do it that way for consistent looks.

We have some quotes now on a 5-opening unit, a narrow awning all across the top, and then two below that four awnings, two on each row. It's bearable price-wise, so I don't think we'll go with a fixed pane. Also, we are probably installing it ourselves and will consider removing the sashes to tack in the frame, then adding back the windows, so the unit will be more manageable. We're rather afraid of dropping it otherwise!


    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 3:37AM
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