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Fittings – the heart of a functional window
The colour of the frame, shape and type of glazing are not the only important issues we have when choosing windows. A lock, a hinge or a handle are elements of window fittings which influence the comfort and functionality of use. Windows with the best parameters may disappoint us if the fittings fail. Therefore, when deciding to buy windows, it’s worth taking the time to find out more about the fittings.
What are fittings?
The term ‘window fitting’ refers to almost all mechanical parts of the structure responsible for opening, closing and tilting the sashes of windows or doors. Fittings also have a security function, protecting homeowners against burglary. The hardware system controlling the window can be divided into two equally important parts. Fittings installed on the sash frame, e.g. espagnolette (controlled by the handle movements) or stay arm(enabling the change of the sash position from turn to tilt) and those mounted on the frame, e.g. hinges (supporting the sash weight). Windows without fittings are the so-called “fix”, i.e. a glazed frame.
The correct selection and installation of fittings has a key impact on the operating properties, such as:
Resistance to wind load
Currently, there are tilt, turn, tilt-turn, tilt-slide and lift-slide solutions available. The method of opening should be adjusted to the function of the room and the frequency of using the window.
Popular types of window fittings
Nowadays, the most frequently used are circumferential fittings, i.e. fittings located around the perimeter of the sash. In the basic version, there is an espagnolette and a stay arm controlled by a handle on the sash. Hinges and catches are attached to the frame. After closing, they press the sash to the frame evenly, ensuring tightness and preventing profile deformation. They are recommended for windows and balcony doors weighing up to 150kg.
The type of envelope fittings we choose depends on how our windows will open. You can choose between tilt and turn fittings, which allow you to open the window to the frame, and tilt and turn fittings, which only allow you to tilt the sash. However, the most convenient solution are fittings combining both functions, i.e. tilt and turn fittings.
A variant of perimeter fittings dedicated to large glazing, e.g. terrace doors, are fittings in the PSK system. They allow the sash to be tilted and then put aside to move it on the rail located in the guide at the bottom of the frame.
In the case of very large and heavy glazing, efficient mechanisms are necessary to move heavy sashes weighing several hundred kilograms. This is a task for HST systems, in which the movable sash is slid behind the fixed sash. Opening does not require any force, the sash moves smoothly on the rollers of the track hidden in the floor. Rollers and massive handle, hook espagnolette and top guides are the most important elements of this type of fitting.
Additional elements of window fitting
When choosing fittings, it is worth considering whether to equip them with additional elements positively influencing safety, comfort and functionality. Here is the list of the most important additional functions of the fittings.
Micro-ventilation, also called micro-slot, is a standard in tilt and turn sashes. After turning the handle, a small gap is created between the frame and sash, ensuring a constant flow of fresh air.
Concealed hinges are fittings that cannot be seen because the hinges are hidden between the sash and the frame. Thanks to this the windows gain in aesthetics, only the frame of the sash is visible, without any unnecessary metal additions.
Aesthetic qualities are not the only advantage. The windows are easier to keep clean, the surface of the woodwork is smooth, there are no nooks and crannies where dirt accumulates.
Hidden hinges also increase energy efficiency and soundproofing of the windows (the seal is not broken at any point).
Handle misplacement blockade
Handle misplacement blockade with integrated sash lift is a mechanism that forces correct operation of the window. When the window sash is open, turning the handle to the tilted position is blocked. On the other hand, the sash lift guarantees a smooth transition from the open to the closed position.
Graduated tilt of the sash
This is a mechanism which enables adjustment of the degree of tilt of the sash by turning the handle to the next degree. Depending on the hardware system, we can obtain up to 7 different positions. The tilted sash is additionally protected against slamming shut. A useful system, especially in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.
Sash opening restrictor
The mechanism protects the sash against hitting the window recess e.g. during stronger winds. However, the built-in brake keeps the sash in a fixed position.
Balcony door catch
Allows you to close the balcony door from the outside using a special handle. However, in order to reopen them it is enough to gently push the sash. This is a great solution for those who frequently use the terrace or balcony.
Window handle with lock
A lock with a key blocks unauthorised opening of the window. This is a great solution when there are small children in the flat.
Octagonal locking cam
The shape of the octagonal locking “mushroom” guarantees a stable connection with the steel anti-burglary catch in the window frame. Strength and burglary resistance tests have confirmed the fitting’s suitability for use in various profile systems and windows of different sizes.
Self-closing device for sliding doors
Self-closing devices, also known as slowers or brakes for sliding systems, improve user comfort. Its function is to prevent sudden impacts and to make the door close smoothly.
Windows opening and closing automatically – yes it is possible. Aimwin, among others, offers such hardware. The system can be programmed to open and close the windows automatically even when you are not at home. The system also allows the rooms to be ventilated safely when you are not at home.
Fittings with untypical placement of the handle
It is worth knowing that the producers offer the possibility of installing the handle in the bottom part of the sash. This solution is ideal for staircases, cellars, garages, bathrooms, where the window is located so high that opening it would be difficult. A special fitting with an untypical placement of the handle will make it much easier to open the window.
Fittings and safety of residents
Balcony and terrace windows and large windows on the ground floor are statistically the weakest link in the security of our homes. It is these “entrances” that are most often chosen by burglars. How to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep for your household members and secure your property? By choosing anti-burglary fittings.