What are the pros and cons of sash vs. tilt and turn windows


I've lived in both Germany and the US and one of the biggest construction differences is the style of windows used. In Germany, the most common window design is tilt and turn. In the US, a variety of windows are used, but I would argue that in private homes, sash windows are the most common. I have never seen a tilt and turn window in the US.

Here's an illustration of the different types for those who haven't heard them described by these names before.

Illustration of tilt-and-turn and sash windows

In words, tilt and turn windows can be opened in two ways: (1) on a hinge at the side of the window similar to a casement window, and (2) on a hinge on the bottom of the window similar to a hopper window. The position of the handle determines the direction in which it opens. A sash window slides up and down in its frame, in the US sash windows are often called double or single hung windows depending on whether both halves of the window can open.

I have found no source comparing tilt and turn to sash windows. The arguments that I have read in favor of sash windows in general cite 2 main reasons to prefer sash windows

  1. Aesthetics i.e. people like the way they look
  2. Ventilation i.e. you can open either the top or bottom half of the window without needing to prop the window open

But tilt and turn windows arguably have similar advantages

  1. Aesthetically, you can have a larger uninterrupted piece of glass or you can use several panes to get the same visual effect as a sash window.
  2. Because you can open the window in two ways, you can control the amount of ventilation
  3. Additionally, because the window opens all the way horizontally, you can easily clean both sides of the window. There are modern sash windows that allow the window to pivot for cleaning, but this is not part of the basic design.

Other than historical reasons, i.e. tilt and turn windows were first adapted in Germany, sash windows were first adapted in England, why are tilt and turn windows not more common in the US? Are there other pros of sash windows and cons of tilt and turn windows that I am overlooking?

Best Answer

I think this probably has more to do with regional building habits than any systematic optimal decision. I agree, what you call "tilt and turn" windows seem to be more common in Europe. In the US (and elsewhere?) a similar style is a "casement" window, although it's not as functional (doesn't open as far and doesn't offer multiple ways of opening).

I have seen "tilt and turn" windows used in the US in basements, since they can satisfy emergency egress requirements. Perhaps they are less common in general use because they are more complicated / expensive? The latching and hinging mechanisms are much more complicated than a sash window, which typically is just held in place by friction.