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What is the Difference Between Casement and Crank Windows?

Deciding on what window style is best for your home can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure of the numerous different types of windows and their terminology. Replacement windows aren’t cheap either, so you’ll want to brush up on the many options available as well as the common features like cranks, panes (single- or double-paned units), and energy efficiency ratings. Know what you’re getting into before spending the big bucks, and you will certainly save you money and frustration down the road. 

living room with casement windows

Casement and Crank Windows

Casement and crank windows are actually one in the same. Casement windows open when the handle mechanism is cranked. These windows open fully, allowing for both a clear, unobstructed view of the outside and maximum ventilation. Casement (or crank) windows are used in tall, narrow spaces or in areas of the home that have smaller window openings. This window style offers an unbroken and picturesque view of the outdoors.

Understanding Window Operations

The terms “casement” and “crank” refer to the same type of window: one that opens with a crank handle. Crank and casement windows are attached at the side of the window’s frame and swing outward when the handle is turned. Casement windows can open two ways: vertically outward (swinging open to either the left or right while being attached to either side of the window frame) or horizontally, where the windowpane is cranked upward and outward, then closes downward when shut. It’s more common for a window to be called a casement window when it opens vertically. Horizontally opening windows tend to be referred to as awning windows.

This isn’t the only way a window can operate. Sliding windows are another option for the way a window can open and close.

Sliding windows can be designed to open vertically or horizontally. In this style of operation, you can opt to have either a single-hung or double-hung sliding window. The difference will be whether you can open just one sash or both. 

On a single-hung sliding window, there is only one pane that remains stationary while the sash of the moveable pane moves along an embedded track. A double-hung sliding window means that both sashes are operable and can open from the top and bottom. Vertically sliding windows are often just referred to as “single-hung” or “double-hung” windows.

Horizontal sliding windows tend to simply be referred to as sliding windows. The panels in this window unit slide side-to-side. This style of window operation is often confused with casement windows.

Sliding or Crank?

Once you understand that crank and casement windows are two different terms for the same style, the question now boils down to how you want your windows to operate. Do you want windows that open by means of sliding a pane or would you prefer windows that use a crank mechanism to open?

Both sliding and casement windows have their own unique set of benefits. Both styles are easy to operate (sliding versus cranking comes down to personal preference) and both present themselves as excellent options in tight, compact wall spaces. 

Sliding windows are arguably better in areas that have limited space because they don’t require room for a crank mechanism that needs turning by the operator. Hinged casement windows have the one-up when it comes to ventilation, allowing the window to open fully for maximum air flow.

Casement windows offer an unobstructed view and are ideal for areas thirsty for natural light or capturing a picturesque glimpse of the outdoors. While casement and sliding windows can be made from fiberglass, vinyl, and composite, generally casement windows perform better with wood material than sliding windows.

As far as maintenance and upkeep are concerned, both sliding and casement styled windows will need routine care to make sure the window is operating smoothly. Casement windows have the crank mechanism to tend to in order to ensure the parts are working correctly, undamaged and not missing. Sliding windows have the embedded track that will need cleaning. Homeowners do report that the track has a tendency to collect dirt, dust, and debris, possibly requiring a little more upkeep than its casement window counterpart.

Replacement Casement Windows

Updating your windows will help your home in a number of ways. Replacement casement windows are energy efficient, saving you on monthly utility bills as well as keeping your home a consistently comfortable temperature year-round. With their ability to open fully for the most amount of ventilation possible, you’ll be able to shut off air conditioning and allow a breeze to cool your home in the warmer months, also saving you on energy costs.

Replacement casement windows will also serve your home advantageously in its resale value. New replacement windows always yield a high return of investment—on average, new windows have an ROI of an estimated 85%.

There are plenty of window style options out there, along with choices on how the window operates. The bottom line? You can’t go wrong with a casement window.

If you’re in the market for replacement windows in any of our markets across the Midwest, we hope that you’ll consider Feldco for your window replacement project.

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