Right or left? It makes a difference. Find out how to choose what works best for your home.
Casement (sometimes called crank-out) windows provide large, unobstructed expanses of glass, are more energy efficient than other types of windows, and excel at capturing a breeze and filling a home with fresh air. When choosing to install a casement window, in addition to the overall size and shape, you need to think about the direction the window swings open. Technically there’s no wrong choice, but there are several factors to consider when deciding which direction a casement window should open, including better angles for ventilation, noise control, and easy operation.
A Simple Way to Determine Swing
The direction a casement window opens is called the handing. Casement windows are labeled either FCL (From the Curb Left) or FCR (From the Curb Right). If you’re looking at a window while standing outside, an FCL window will have the hinges on the left and an FCR will have the hinges on the right. The window above is an FCR window. This information only applies to casement windows that swing out. Inswing casement windows do exist but are rarely installed.
Hinges Near the Corner
If there are two casement windows installed at the corner of a room, it’s considered more aesthetically pleasing if the hinge side of the window is closest to the corner.
When two casement windows are installed next to each other, mulled (connected) to each other, or joined with a stationary (inoperable) window in the middle, it’s much more common to see the hinges on the outer sides.
Catch a Cool Breeze
An open casement window can capture a refreshing cool breeze and channel it indoors. But that can only happen when the window opens into the wind. If a room has just one window, consider installing a casement that opens to catch the prevailing wind. Of course, the wind doesn’t always blow in the same direction, so rooms that have more than one window should have at least one opening each way.
Noise is an often overlooked consideration when choosing the handing of casement windows. Casement windows can not only capture a cool breeze, they can also redirect loud noises indoors. It might be a good idea to choose windows that open away from busy streets or vociferous neighbors. This is especially something to think about when planning windows for bedrooms.
A casement window with tinted or frosted glass can act like a dressing divider for bathrooms and bedrooms. With the proper handing, a casement window can open to a beautiful backyard vista while providing privacy from the street or neighboring houses.
Most folks find it more intuitive to operate a window crank with their dominant hand. If you’ve considered all the factors listed above, and the window could really swing either direction, think about the 90 percent of the population that is right-handed. An FCL window with the crank on the right and the latch on the left might be the best choice … sorry lefties.
If you’re a builder or window installation contractor, be sure to inform your clients of their casement window handing options. If you’re a homeowner getting ready to pull the trigger on a new home or amazing renovation, let your contractor know of your preferences. Projects always run more smoothly when everyone is on the same page.