A few days ago I was preparing a quotation for a client’s new build project and they asked me to explain the benefits of inward opening vs. outward opening windows. It’s a question that many customers ask so I thought I’d write down some of the points we discussed to help you achieve the look and style that’s right for your home.
Inward or Outward? Vive la difference!
Chances are that you’ve seen plenty of inward opening windows if you’ve ever travelled to or through France. Perhaps you’ve seen apartment blocks with tall windows and tidy balconies on Parisian bustling streets? Or beautiful villas in the French countryside with charming wooden shutters and well kept flower boxes.
All of these windows are likely to be inward opening, but here in the UK I’d be impressed if you came across a window like this once a year. So why is there such a big difference on the continent? Why doesn’t the UK have more inward windows? Especially when the vast majority of windows installed in the UK are designed by European system companies!
Well actually the split is more Northern Europe / Southern Europe than just UK / France. Just as inward windows are all the rage across the Channel, northern Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway almost exclusively use outward opening windows like the UK. And warmer countries like Italy, Spain and Greece follow the French with their love of inward openers.
The advantages of inward opening windows
So the preference of inward vs. outward opening is clearly something to do with the climate and weather, but are there still benefits in going against the grain and enjoying the continental style in your British home? I’ll take you through what I think are the four main advantages of doing things a little different and installing inward openers.
A more contemporary appearance
Inward opening windows give a much cleaner appearance to the exterior of your property. When the opening sash is inward opening it can be hidden behind the vertical and horizontal frame sections, achieving a “hidden vent” look – all of the hinges and other hardware are tucked away on the inside of the window.
And of course inward openers let you install and easily look after flower bed window boxes to give your home a really fresh and unique look.
Easier installation and cleaning
Just like internally fitted glass [link], inward opening windows are easier to install and maintain, and because they open in towards you it is just as easy to clean the outside of the glass as the inside. No more need for Mr Window Cleaner and his ladder!
Also, it is difficult for the wind to catch an inwardly open window and attempt to smash it against the side of your house!
Can be used with external shutters
Here lies the major reason for the use of inward opening windows on the Continent: being able to close your shutters while keeping your windows open keeps the heat of the sun out while allowing the cool fresh air to breeze in – without compromising the security of your home.
Of course, the opposite applies in the UK: if you have windows or blinds, they can get in the way of inward opening windows so you need to make sure that your window coverings are sufficiently oversized to allow the windows to open freely.
Welcome the fresh air
This one is a little less tangible – but no less important – than the practical benefits I’ve outlined above. When you open inward windows it can feel like you are “pulling” the fresh air into your room – and I promise you will feel yourself taking a nice deep breath as it floods in. I like the positive effect that has as I start my day or open the windows when the air inside is a little stale.
Benefits of outward opening windows
Aside from the curtain issue mentioned earlier, outward opening windows have better weatherproofing than inward openers – they are less likely to let in the rain and wind. This is another reason they are so popular in northern European climates.
Outward opening windows can also be more secure, and unlike inward openers they allow you to use the internal window cill to decorate the interior of your home.
So there are plenty of pros and cons to each type of window, and ultimately which you choose comes down to your personal style preference and perhaps the environment in which your house is located. But be sure to give inward opening a windows a consideration – they may be a unique enhancement to your home.
If you have any questions about this topic and which style is right for your home, please do leave a comment below or call us on 0203 00 22 088.