How to Find and Buy the Best Window Hardware

In the decor world, window hardware is often synonymous for curtain rods, holdbacks and other “hard” items related to the soft-goods world of window treatments.

But when you’re talking windows, hardware takes on a whole new meaning. Window hardware makes the window function properly, such as sash hardware (locks, lifts, pulleys and cords), latches, hinges, stays, bolts, cranks and even specialty items like window bars.

We’ll break each piece down for you so you can confidently tell your latches from your lifts.

Sash Hardware

Window sashes, the moving panels of glass, include double-hung (both panels move) and single-hung (one panel is fixed). In order for these to be functional and secure, they require specific mechanisms, such as:

Sash locks – The piece at the top of the window that secures the sash, keeping it tightly closed

Sash lifts – A handle at the bottom of the window that allows you to easily open and close the sash. These can be shaped like bar handles, recessed inserts or fingertip-friendly hooks.

Pulleys and cords – Antique windows use a pulley and cord to raise and lower the sash

Sash stops - When a sash won’t stay open, use a stop. Choose from spring bolts, sash stays, tension springs or old-school bead adjustors. Newer windows often have these built into the jamb, which is more functional but less charming.

Casement Hardware

Casement windows are hinged on one side and swing open, requiring different hardware than sash windows. That hardware includes:

Casement latches – Casement latches are the hardware that allow you to open and lock the window. They come in vertical and pivoting lever styles, as well as fastener bolts and ring handles.

Casement hinges – Located on the side of the door, hinges are the joints on which the window swings. If you have antique or historic-style windows, look for decorative options with designs and finials.

Casement Stays – These smart adjusters let you open or close the window for just the right amount of air. Some have knobs for tightening them into position; others have pre-drilled positions.  

Casement bolts – Casement window bolts are the long arms that run vertically along the window to keep tall sashes from bowing. They include surface-slide bolts (typically at the top of the window) and cremone bolts (“espagnolettes” in window parlance), which run the full length of the window and latch at the top and bottom, eliminating the need for casement latches.

Window Bars and Grilles

Window bars and grilles offer added security for windows, keeping intruders out and preventing falls. They work with most single-hung, double-hung, casement and sliding windows.

Window grills typically screw or are nailed into the window frame. They can be purely functional or have decorative arches, scrolls and other designs. Many are now made with emergency releases so they can be opened from the inside.

Window bars cover all or part of the window, and can be locked with a padlock or nut and bolt. They also include a safety release. Window bars can mount vertically or horizontally and come in adjustable widths.

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