Understanding Casement Window Hardware
Casement windows have been around for centuries in one form or another. Hinged at the side, they swing outward (or inward) like a door and allow the maximum amount of fresh air into your home. While modern casements feature fully integrated hardware such as cranks and pivots, traditional casement windows operate with a series of distinct hardware components. For example, there are butt hinges to swing open, a latch to keep it closed, a sash hold (or stay) to fix the opening position, and sometimes a surface bolt to secure the top. All these elements combine to give casement windows their unique charm and character.
Finding just the right hardware is key if you are restoring vintage casement windows or creating new ones in the traditional style. While the basic requirements are the same – hinges, a latch, and a stay - there are many options to choose from. Read on to find everything you need for your windows to look and function exactly as you want.
Hinges for casement windows are simply smaller versions of the butt hinges used for doors throughout most homes. Made of brass or powder-coated iron with non-rusting stainless-steel pins, they are designed to withstand the elements. The hinge pins are removable, which allows the sash to be taken from the frame for painting or maintenance.
Since most casement windows swing outward, the hinge barrel is visible from the outside, while the hinge leaves are only visible when the window is open. For that reason, some prefer the hinge finish to match the exterior hardware, while others prefer the same finish as the casement stays and latches on the interior. Both are good options - the choice is yours!
The most common type of hinge for casement windows is a 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” butt hinge. Given their small size, taller sashes require three hinges. You can opt for plain or decorative styles with ball or steeple tips.
These unique “H” shaped hinges are ideal for houses veneered with brick or stone or any home with deeply inset windows. The elongated hinge leaves extend the pivot point to the outer edge of the window frame, allowing your casements to swing clear of the trim and lay flat against the wall.
Casement stays keep your windows securely in place, whether they are open or closed. Consisting of a pivoting rod mounted to the sash and a post (or posts) mounted to the sill, they allow you to adjust the degree to which the window opens. Because the sash is attached to the rod, it cannot flap back and forth in the wind. When closed, the casement stay holds the lower part of the sash snugly against the frame, preventing drafts and warping.
This traditional type of casement hold features a perforated rod held in place by two sill-mounted posts. Hinged in two directions, the rod is lifted to disengage the posts and pivot to set the window opening width. The number of holes in the rod determines the number of positions the window can be fixed. Because the rod is entirely independent of the posts, you can open the window to its full extent - a plus for emergency egress.
Unlike lift-off type stays, the rod passes through an opening in the post and is tightened in place with the knurled knob. The window opening width is completely adjustable, rather than a series of fixed positions, making this a popular option.
These streamlined sash holds have no knob at all. Instead, the flat rod simply slides into a sleeve, creating friction that holds the window open at any point between zero and ninety degrees. Sleek and understated, they are ideal for modern-style interiors.
Mounted at the middle of the sash, a casement latch serves two purposes - it keeps the window secure and serves as a handle to open and close the sash. Latches fall into three categories (see below), each with distinct advantages and best-use cases. Most come with two or three strike options - mortise, surface, and extended - to accommodate a variety of window frame configurations. Styles range from classic traditional and rustic European to sleek contemporary - there is something to compliment every type of home!
This classic style of casement latch features a substantial lever handle that is easy to grasp and operate. Available in large and small sizes, it’s a great choice for anyone who has issues with their grip.
Latches with a vertical handle typically project less than those with a horizontal lever. With their low profile, they are a good option for windows with blinds or shutters mounted within the window frame. In some models, the handle sits flat and rotates against the sash, while others have a pendant-style handle that lifts and rotates to disengage the latch.
This unique style was popular in the 1920s and 30s. Smaller in profile and projection, it’s a good choice for tight spaces or when you simply want a less-conspicuous latch. Please note, it is not necessary to insert a finger into the ring to operate.
Slide bolts are a necessary addition to many casement windows. Mounted at the top of the sash, they offer a third point of security in addition to the casement stay at the bottom and the latch at the middle. By keeping the sash tightly in place, they prevent it from bowing. This is an issue with tall windows or those exposed directly to rain. The bolt slides into the frame above the window, so it should be long enough to comfortably reach and operate from a standing position. Since they are typically installed vertically, slide bolts are equipped with an internal tension spring to keep them from slipping down.
Casement bolts are also essential when a pair of windows open together without a central support. Much like a set of double doors, one window must be fixed in place with bolts on top and bottom for the other window to close and latch against.
Cremone bolts are a single-piece alternative to the usual combination of a sash stay, latch, and slide bolt. Originating in 18th century France, this innovative device features a pair of rods controlled by a handle positioned in the middle of the window. As the handle is turned, the rods simultaneously move upward and downward to engage or disengage the window within the frame. Ideal for pairs of windows that close together without a center support, they also work well on individual sashes, cabinet doors, and even furniture. Cremone bolts are a familiar feature of windows in older European buildings and add a touch of elegance and old-world charm to your home.
From hinges and latches, to stays and bolts, House of Antique Hardware has everything you need to restore your vintage casement windows in authentic period style. If you have questions about any of our products or need help with your selection, call our hardware specialists at 888-223-2545.