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Casement vs sliding windows / sliders

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jun 5 2008

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site. We just bought a 1952 (early) Eichler and are replacing the sliding bedroom windows, probably with standard Milgard aluminum windows. We're trying to decide between double casement windows and sliders, and would like to hear people's opinions.

Casement windows - advantages:
- better ventilation (but this may not be as important to us since there is central AC is installed)
- probably considered an "improvement" over sliders by the average home buyer (but maybe not by Eichler aficionados?)
- able to "catch a breeze", which is useful since the windows are in a very narrow side yard, facing a fence
- we think they're more attractive when open than sliders when open

Sliding windows - advantages:
- most closely adhere to original Eichler aesthetic, with thinnest frame profile (though the casement windows aren't too bad)
- less expensive (about 40% of the cost of double casement windows)
- people walking in the side yard won't bump into them
- simpler, so fewer potential mechanical problems

We're leaning toward the double casement windows since that's what we would do in any other house, but the question is, will the extra money spent on casement windows add value to the home, or will it be considered architectural heresy?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

Joined: Apr 19 2007

we've enjoyed our sliding milgard windows (standard aluminum). depending on the size, you can't get them in the original 2-panel configuration, but the 3 panel configuration is actually quite a nice change (3 evenly sized panels opening on both sides... our sliders in our '63 eichler are quite wide... like 6 feet). the thought of casement windows never crossed our minds (likely for a reason). if you're looking for a vote, i'd vote sliders for cost (you've plenty of places to spend that extra money) and originality. i'd curse the casements the first time i whacked my noggin on one (or broke a pane). not worth it imho.

when you replace the windows, consider the other things that might need to be done, including sill replacement, trim replacement, siding replacement, etc... also consider new window placement (garage, etc.). our house had a aftermarket window installed in the garage which is actually nice (let's a breeze in an otherwise closed-up space or vents the gas fumes from a 40 year old VW) and when replaced with a matching milgard window, now looks original. we opted to replace the siding and window sills -- the later being easily cut on a tablesaw out of new redwood. the cost of trim is more than you'd expect (lots more)... especially the redwood corners needed for the window edges. we've likely spent more on wood (redwood trim and window sills), caulk and foam than on the windows themselves.

the extra width of the casements could actually be an issue... in the installs of our sliders, had we used the original sills, a fatter window would have not worked well. if you're replacing the sills, you can cut the slope as you want/need to accommodate any width window.

one word of caution: the windows might seem a "standard" size (3 of ours were supposed to be the same size), but after years of settling, they might be just a tad out of true to the point where a standard 36X24in bath window is actually 35X23 or something -- just enough to not cause them to fit well and necessitate some messy wood trimming.

sounds like you're using a contractor for the install, but the install is really quite easy and using modern materials (caulk, butyl-flashing, foam, etc) makes for an original-looking, but very much updated install.

some links below for visual reference...

Joined: Jun 5 2008

Thanks for the input, rnm. I didn't realize Home Depot sold the Milgards -- I'll have to compare their pricing.

We're using contractors since we're also enlarging the windows vertically (sill height is 5 feet, so need to bring the sill height down for safety/egress reasons as well as to get more light into the bedrooms). Right now we're thinking of a 37" sill height (vs. maximum 44" allowed by current codes). What is the sill height of your windows? Any thoughts (from anyone reading this thread) on what would be more appropriate for an Eichler?

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