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Twin Cities Homeowners: Do You Know Which Way a Casement Window Should Open?

While the double hung window remains the most popular style for homes across America – not just here in the Twin Cities – the casement window is gaining in popularity.  It is clearly the second most installed window type, but it’s moving up and will likely eclipse the double hung window.  There are a number of reasons for this, and we’ll be discussing those in a future post.  But for this particular article we’re going to handle (no pun intended) where the handles should go.

A homeowner asks, “You mean there is more than one position?  I thought casement windows only opened one way.”

Well, that statement is partially correct. Casement windows should usually open outward, not inward. (Although Marvin does offer an ‘Ultimate casement’ that has an inward swing, but this type of configuration is unusual.) But they can swing open to the left or to the right, and the direction is determined by handle placement.  Handles are placed opposite the hinges. A crank on the left side will turn to the left, causing the window to open toward the right side.  A right-mounted handle cranks right and the window opens toward the left side.

So how do you figure out which way a casement window should be installed? 

There are a number of factors to consider.

  • Are you left-handed or right-handed?  Most people can perform tasks with either hand, but one hand will dominate.  It’s especially important for any type of task requiring some dexterity that you use your dominant hand, because it’s usually easier to control. But you’re likely not the only person in your home, so it is wise to go with the tendency of the majority – those right-handed folks.  Have the handle installed on the right.
  • Consider air flow and the air currents you get around your home. You want the window to open outward in the direction that will catch the breeze and direct it into your home.  You also want to create a cross breeze in your home, so while you might install right-opening casements on one side of your home, you’l get the most ventilation by installing left-opening windows on the opposite side.
  • Keep overall appearance in mind.  This is particularly important if you’ve got two casement windows side by side, as in the photo above. In this case it makes the most sense to have a right-mounted crank on the left window and a left-mounted handle on the right window.  That way the windows open away from each other.  This is a more pleasing aesthetic, plus it maximizes rather than blocks airflow.  A single window might be mounted either way.
  • Are there obstructions to consider?  This is an important one, especially if you have landscaping close to your windows. You don’t want a casement window opening into a shrub, and you don’t want it blocking something. 
  • Ease of use should also be taken into account. For example, a casement window installed near a corner on the left side would more easily be operated with a crank on the right side.  
  • Casement windows are incredibly versatile, and while they can be mounted to open in either direction, it’s best to evaluate all the factors before ordering yours.  We can help you determine which directions are best for you and your home.
  • If you’re interested in finding out more about Marvin casement windows (or casements from any of the other window manufacturers we work with), please give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation.  We work in the greater Twin Cities area, and we are a licensed Minnesota replacement window company.
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Window Outfitters is a premier Window Replacement, doors, siding contractor and installer. As Contractor in the St Paul, Minneapolis, (Twin Cities) Minnesota (MN) metro, we proudly serve, but are not limited to, the following areas: Minneapolis Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows, Replacement Window Contractors Minnesota, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Lakeville, Savage, Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, Eagan, St Paul, Hastings, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Farmington MN, Chaska, Shakopee, Chanhassen, Victoria, Mendota Heights Anderson Windows Minneapolis, Marvin Windows Minneapolis.