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What is an Awning Window?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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Awning windows are a type of window design that allows the window sash to swing outward rather than inward or up and down. Once in common use in schools, manufacturing plants and some homes prior to the advent of air conditioning in those environments, this type of window is still sometimes utilized in the design for newer homes in temperate climates. The window may be operated with a hand crank or with the use of pull chains.

One of the most common examples of the awning window can be found in manufacturing plants and schools that were built between the 1920’s and 1950’s. In both cases, the windows normally involved large sashes that were composed of pane glass surrounded with metal framing. Depending on the application, the panes could be either large sections of glass that took up the entire frame, or a series of smaller panes encased within the structure of the frame. These examples of awning windows normally were operated with pull chains, since they tended to reach all the way to the tall ceilings of the day. When situated properly in the design, opening the windows could allow a cross current which helped to cool the interior.

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Many homes built in the 1940’s through the early 1960’s also made use of the awning window. In these instances, the panes were normally hinged at the top and made use of hand cranks to open and close the sashes. The hand crank made it possible to position the window sashes at any desired point, which meant the homeowner could retract the windows in the event of rain, but still leave them open to catch a breeze. When desired, the windows could be rolled out fully and allow a steady flow of fresh air into the space.

As air conditioning systems became more common in both homes and public buildings, the awning window began to fall out of favor. Some home owners chose to replace these windows with a more conventional up and down sliding style, noting that some designs of the awning window would eventually fail to close fully and inhibit the ability to heat the home during cooler months. Still, there are plenty of homes around today, especially in areas with moderate temperatures that feature the windows. The awning window is still available for new construction, as well as for replacing windows in older homes.

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Discuss this Article

anon210907
Post 7

Have you ever tried casement windows, these are a great alternative to awning windows. We install windows in Perth, I have a company called doorstop joinery and casement windows are becoming very popular. --Dave

anon206596
Post 6

Our house has awning windows that are in great shape. There's a lever you pull up that allows you to crank each louver open. To close them, you crank them back in and push the lever down. I think it creates a suction and security that the windows are closed.

Anyhow, my question is, how do I install the screens so I can have them open and avoid bugs in my house? We just can't figure it out! Thanks so much! --Rwatson

anon125129
Post 5

I have a louvered awning window that seems to close, but with the weather turning colder, it is definitely not air tight. The window is installed in a glass block window. It has a screen. Anyone know where I can get a glass or plexiglass cover (measured 14 x 14)? I'd rather not cover the whole window with plastic for the winter, but will if I have to.

anon123033
Post 4

I have awning windows that will not stay closed. After turning the crank to close them you can still pull the side of the window that the crank is not on out a little bit.

I see a hook that looks like it should come down on something on the window to "grab" it when its closed but this piece is not coming down. It does however, come down on the side of the window that has the crank. Help!

Planch
Post 3

@charlie89 -- Have you looked at your awning window crank? Sometimes those can get stuck, especially if it's an awning window with a handle to operate the crank.

Sometimes a little WD-40 is all you need to fix it up -- hope that helps.

Charlie89
Post 2

My house has got these aluminum awning windows, and they won't open all the way -- I originally thought that there was some kind of awning window lock or latch to keep it from opening, but after looking at the outside I can't see anything.

Is there some other kind of awning window hardware that might be keeping it from opening all the way, or do you think it is just stuck?

LittleMan
Post 1

So is there any real reason that an awning window would be less energy-efficient than say, a sliding window? I have vinyl awning windows in my apartment, and am kind of getting tired of all the awning window repair issues.

Is it worth it to invest in an awning window replacement, or would I do better to simply take the whole thing out and install a new kind of window?

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