Types of Window Mechanisms

Learn about the different types of window mechanisms and find the one that's right for your room.
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©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Butt Hinge

There are several different mechanisms used to open windows. How a window opens can have implications on how the space in a room is used — clearance may be needed to enable the window to be opened. Some types, known as "tilt-and-turn windows," have combination hinges and can open vertically or horizontally, depending on how the handle is operated. The opening mechanism of an existing window cannot normally be changed.

A butt hinge is the simplest opening mechanism. Hinges are attached down one side, or along the top edge on a "top-hung" casement.

Weights and Balances

Vertical sliding sashes use lead weights or modern spiral balances to hold them in position. Horizontal sliding windows run on tracks, similar to those for patio doors.


Tilting casements pivot halfway down each side, or midway along the top and bottom of the frame. The pivots are designed to hold the window in any position.

Friction Hinge

These are used on awning and casement windows. The hinges are at either end of the hinged edge, rather than along the edge itself. The "friction" holds the window in any open position.