Windows not only add to the aesthetics of a home, they play a critical role in insulation, ventilation, the amount of light a home gets, as well as protecting a home from all types of weather. As an investor, it's good to know that not all windows are created equal; not only do their styles vary, some windows are better suited for large multi-unit housing, while others are ideal for single family homes. Different windows also have different security features inherent in their design. Below, we’ve outlined some commonly used windows in residential construction.
Double hung windows are one of the most common window types and have been used for many decades. They consist of two large window sashes - one in front of the other - which open and close vertically by lifting the inner sash. They function using either counterweights or springs hidden inside the vertical tracks on either side of the window. These windows work well in traditional and contemporary homes, as well as multi-unit dwellings.
They tend to be large, allowing abundant natural light in, and since the inner window lifts all the way up, they are excellent for ventilation. However, they do pose a potential safety hazard for small children due to the window’s large opening. This is good to keep in mind if you’re considering these windows for multi-unit residences, as some jurisdictions require landlords to include window guards for double-hung windows, particularly for tenants with small children. This can incur additional materials and installation costs.
Casement windows are most common in single family homes. Most often they open horizontally and are operated by a crank at the base of the window. One side of the window remains fixed to the home, and the window opens like a book when cranked. Due to the position of the window panel when it is opened, these windows are excellent for creating air flow. They also provide more security than double hung windows since the cranked window does not open all the way. However, this means they generally cannot be used as a point of egress in an emergency. Another downside is that over time, the crank handle can weaken or break off.
Awning windows open by tilting up vertically from the middle of the window, leaving the bottom portion fixed. The opened section of window creates a downward slant making these windows an excellent choice if you are building or investing in areas with frequent rainfall; the window can be opened while it is raining to let in fresh air, but the precipitation slides off of the window and away from the building.
Awning windows can be crank operated just like casement windows or in some cases are on hinges, and manually pushed out. If your investment includes ground floor apartments, awning windows tend to be a good choice for security as it is difficult for an intruder to climb into this type of window.
Sliding windows are just that - windows that open and close by being slid horizontally. Mechanically, this is the simplest type of window since one or both window sashes simply slide left and right on tracks with no additional or hidden mechanism. This also makes them an inexpensive option. Sliding windows are an excellent choice in multi-unit residential applications as they are unlikely to “break down” from frequent use, they are inexpensive, and they provide a cohesive aesthetic across the building.
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