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3 Types of Egress Windows: Which Is Best?

types of egress windows woman seated at desk by egress window indoors

Egress windows are an essential component of a basement finishing project. Although all egress windows have the same intent/purpose, they may operate differently. In this month’s blog, we’ll discuss the three most common types of egress windows and the advantages/disadvantages of each.

Egress casement window 

A casement window is essentially a hinged window that is opened to either the left or right — very similar to a door. They are also commonly known as crank windows because they utilize a crank to operate, and are optimal for improving ventilation in the home. Elsewhere in the home, casement windows are often employed in harder-to-reach areas, such as behind sinks or furniture. You’ll also see them on second stories, where the more standard outswing models are less likely to pose an obstacle when fully vented (e.g. opened to full 90 degrees). 

Casement windows are available in a wide variety of styles, as well as frames, materials, and finishes to align with your home’s unique aesthetic. They are ideal for helping to regulate temperature, with certain models including a screen to prevent insects from entering the space. 

Egress casement windows differ from most models in that they swing inward, keeping the bottom of the egress window well clear so residents can get out and emergency personnel can get in without obstruction.

Advantages of casement windows

Several benefits come with the installation of casement windows. One of the top advantages of casement windows is their energy efficiency. The sash generates an airtight seal against the frame whenever the window is closed, which makes it difficult for outside air to get through. Along that same line, they provide ample natural lighting for interior spaces, and the view is mainly unobstructed. 

Disadvantages of casement windows

You can’t install a window air conditioner unit with a casement window since they swing outward to function. Most air conditioners require a model that operates vertically to ensure a secure installation. Luckily, basements naturally stay cooler year-round, so this is more of a concern with casement windows installed on other floors of the home. 

Outswinging casement windows installed on the ground floor can sometimes pose a hazard when working or playing along the perimeter of the house — but with inswinging egress models in the basement, this drawback is negated. 

Window size options are also relatively limited here; the sash needs to be light enough for the frame to properly support the weight when opened. 

Double-hung egress window

Double-hung egress windows are made up of two separate panes of glass. In this case, both the upper and lower sections of the sash can be raised or lowered. Both sashes meet in the middle of the pane, where a latch locks the window. They are best suited for spaces that face a walkway, porch, patio, or egress window well as their design doesn’t extend into such spaces. 

Since both sashes can be tilted, they are perfect for ventilation, easy cleaning, and sound reduction. Double-hung windows are ideal for homeowners who are partial to a more traditional look. Spaces that let in drafts or have water damage would additionally benefit from this model. 

Advantages of double-hung windows

The good news is that the absence of hinges means no extra space is needed (as opposed to a sash that swings). Double-hung windows also have plenty of design options, with a customizable frame and finish styles. If you have younger children, you will be able to keep the top sash open and the bottom closed, preventing a child from climbing out. Extra locks can add to the overall security, too. 

Disadvantages of double-hung windows

The downside is that double-hung windows must be fairly large to meet the requirement of an egress window. While both sashes do move, only half of the frame can be completely open at any one time. Further, a double-hung window often costs triple the price of a single-hung model; installation can be quite the expense, as well. Their multiple moving parts must be thoroughly evaluated by the installers, which significantly ups the cost when compared to other types of egress windows. 

Sliding egress window

Sliding egress windows feature a horizontal orientation, opening from left to right on a track at both ends of the frame. Their sashes and frames are designed for optimal water drainage, and the half screen of the window is often removable from the interior. These models are fitting for spaces on the tighter side and for homeowners who wish to add contemporary flair to a property. Sliding windows are durable, highly efficient, and can have a fixed sash or both sashes open at once.

Advantages of sliding windows

Sliding window styles are easy to operate with a horizontal function, making them very helpful for senior homeowners or anyone with limited mobility. Plus, they don’t contain a lot of moving parts, allowing for low maintenance and higher durability with time. 

Disadvantages of sliding windows

However, because only one side can be opened at once, the actual opening will always be a lot smaller than the frame itself. To qualify as a type of egress window, sliding models often need to be twice as large as other egress types. As a result, the homeowners are left with higher costs in enlarging the opening or the window well. Winter may also prove to be troubling for sliding windows since tracks easily fill with snow or ice. It might be extremely difficult to open and close the window during colder months. 

Combination egress window styles

Astro egress windows

Here at Egress Solutions, we offer combination styles that provide homeowners with the best of both worlds. Our Astro models blend the functionality of a single-hung window and the efficiency of an inswing casement window. With the quick lift of a latch, this versatile window transforms into a swing door for an easier escape. The Astro also features: 

 

– A multi-point locking system for additional security

– Double weather-stripping for leaks and drafts 

– Vinyl frames to prevent rust, corrosion, or scratches 

– 40(+)  Low-E Argon glass for energy efficiency and performance 

 

Tilt and turn egress windows 

Our Tilt and turn models are a combination of a functional hopper window (tilting inward from the top) and a casement window, swinging inward. Created by the Germans in the 1950s, these innovative designs have become a standard all across Europe — leading to the title, “European style.” The Tilt and turn design features: 

 

– Powder-coated handles for firm grasp and ease of operation 

– An attractive minimalist designs 

– A welded sash to provide a strong seal for the frame 

– Removable bug screen for full ventilation in casement mode 

Empowering smooth operators at Egress Solutions

Egress Solutions helps homeowners and home contractors alike with egress window options that fit their needs. Contact us today to request a quote for your next window project. 

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