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European Windows vs. American Windows: What’s the Difference

By Stefon Miller | | 0 Comments

Northern American and European-style windows dominate the fixture market. However, their qualities differ. Discover the difference between European windows and American windows with this in-depth guide.

What Are European-Style Windows?

As the name suggests, European windows are fixtures that originate in Europe, and they share similar characteristics.

The characteristics typically include unique functionalities like “tilt and turn” style. They also have performance qualities such as superior thermal efficiency, acoustic comfort, and soundproofing. In terms of design features, Euro-style fixtures have modern frames, slim lines, and custom sizing.

Fun Fact

Euro-style fixtures have German design origins. So, some people refer to European windows and doors as “German windows and doors”. In Europe, German fixtures are the standard features inside homes. As a result, people use “Euro-style” and “German” interchangeably.

What Are American-Style Windows?

American-style windows are a catch-all term for the different types of fixtures in many American homes. The most common window is the double-pane style, which provides one layer of climate and noise insulation. However, homeowners can choose from a variety of panes, like triple and quadruple options. Triple-pane windows offer two layers of insulation, and quadruple provides three layers of insulation.

Regarding functionality, the average American window only lifts because of the “double-hung” style. However, other fixture options complement many homes. For example, Awning, Bay, Bow, and Casement windows are popular in Northern American residencies.

Overview of Differences

Functionality, performance, and style are the main differences between European and American windows. Let’s explore their unique qualities for an in-depth look at these fixtures.

European Functionality

European windows have three positions for the handle.

You know you’ve properly closed these windows when the handle faces down. The locking pins engage around the vent, which securely shuts the fixture. The window also acts like a door when you turn the handle to a 90-degree (horizontal) position. The locking pins disengage and the vent swings inwards.

Turning the handle another 90 degrees, so it’s pointing upward, the window engages and disengages at different points. In particular, the bottom corner of the vent engages while the top hinge disengages. As a result, the fixture tilts and has a “half-open” effect. 

All this to say, Euro-style windows can open like a door or just tilt inward. The inward tilt option supports ventilation while protecting against weather changes.

American Functionality

You lift an American-style window. The horizontal bottom rails have a handlebar-like configuration that allows you to hold and lift the glass. The window sashes and frames let the fixture move upward without disengaging from the rails. Besides this main feature, some windows have sash-tilt pans and check rails that allow the window glass to tilt inward. In a way, it’s like European-style windows. However, this configuration is rare.

European Performance

Thermal efficiency is a critical feature of European windows because the design accommodates the cold climate in Germany.

Euro-style windows have robust materials for adequate insulation. Common options include aluminum, steel, or PVC, and air chambers in the material on the window’s exterior that separates it from the window’s interior. The air chambers have foam for additional insulation, which minimizes the transmission of thermal energy between the interior and exterior material.

Furthermore, European windows have triple glazing to support thermal efficiency. The three panes fill the space between the glass, which helps homes regulate indoor temperatures and supports noise reduction.

Due to the “tilt and turn” style, European windows have heavy-duty seals between the vent and the frame. The vent won’t slide through these seals, as opposed to a double-hung fixture. As a result, Euro windows experience less wear and tear.

American Performance

In simple terms, “you get what you pay for” with American-style windows. As mentioned, the double-pane style provides one layer of climate and noise insulation. Triple-pane windows offer two layers of insulation, and quadruple panes provide three layers of insulation. Therefore, performance varies for each style window.

Given that Euro windows have standard triple-glazed panes, double and triple-pane American windows are less thermally efficient. They can’t help homeowners regulate indoor temperatures or maximize sound reduction. Furthermore, most American windows don’t have tight seals or advanced glass coatings.

European Style

European windows offer eternal elegance, visual appeal, and ornate details compared to American fixtures. Most Euro windows feature slender profiles, sleek lines, and a minimalist aesthetic. With most Euro-style fixtures, there’s an emphasis on simplicity, modern appeal, and clean lines. Thus, allowing the fixtures to complement various architectural designs.

Moreover, since manufacturers want to cater to different styles across continental Europe (and America), many suppliers have flexible, custom design options for customers. Therefore, you’ll find a wide range of shades and finish options for the fixtures.

American Style

American windows can seem obsolete because of a global trend favoring minimalistic designs. Most styles embrace a traditional aesthetic (double-hung). However, homeowners have several options to choose from to best suit their home’s design. For example, bay windows are beautiful additions to homes. People may view American windows as boring or archaic when comparing American and European styles. However, style is subjective to the homeowner.

Maintenance and Operation of European Windows

Admittedly, European windows have more advantages than American-style fixtures. Besides their beauty and functionality, manufacturers purposely design fixtures to require less maintenance and have low operational costs compared to their American counterparts.

  • The fixtures have suitable weatherproofing and insulation. They don’t require caulking, extra weather-stripping, or repairing to prevent drafts. Overall, they can improve energy inside homes. Furthermore, they’re long-lasting with minimal problems.
  • European windows have triple-pane glass which reduces heat and UV transmission. Homeowners don’t have to overwork their HVAC systems to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Thus, leading to lower electricity bills—which is especially enticing for larger properties or apartment units.
  • The modern tilt-and-turn configuration lets people open windows in different ways without cranks or pulleys. Additionally, people can enjoy fresh air without fully engaging the fixture. Therefore, homeowners can partially leave windows open for ventilation with the tilt feature. They can also fully open it for simple cleaning and maintenance.

Moving Away From American Windows

American windows offer less insulation and energy efficiency than Euro fixtures. Of course, you can improve barriers with laminated glass or quadruple panes. But it also costs more money and requires extra maintenance. It’s best to purchase high-performance windows that improve homes. Many contractors and interior designers select European windows rather than American ones.

Can You Buy European Windows in America?

Yes, you can buy European windows in America. In fact, you can purchase them from Modern Décor Supply! Our functional configurations and beautiful styles are the perfect additions to your next project. Reach out to us if you have any questions.

European Windows vs. American Windows: What’s the Difference

By Stefon Miller