How do I keep casement windows from opening?
May 16, 2007 2:14 PM   Subscribe

How can I limit the opening of casement windows?

As I've mentioned in previous questions, I live in a highrise and I've had some challenges with making my windows safe. We have discovered that, despite local building codes, our casement windows do not have anything to keep them from swinging wide open. Normally, there is a hinge limiter in place. A glazier has confirmed that we do not have hinge limiters, which is against code. This is a problem from the standpoint of child safety, but also poses a problem in that the window could catch a window and fling it open. We have been searching for something that will limit how far the windows will open.

We have been to every home improvement store and window supply store in our city. No one can suggest anything. They've even looked through the catalogues. All they can find are window sash locks, which lock the window but don't let you open it. We have a corner suite and it's summer. The windows have to open a little.

It seems that we are going to have to custom build a solution. (We had to custom build something to keep the patio door from opening, as it is installed backwards, such that any patio door lock would have to go on the outside.) The window casings are metal and so are the frames. What could we do to keep the windows from opening more than about 2-3 inches?
posted by acoutu to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Casement stays shouldn't be hard to rig.
posted by paulsc at 2:47 PM on May 16, 2007

Can you put a chain from the window to the window frame to only allow it to open as much as you want?
posted by Doohickie at 2:48 PM on May 16, 2007

Thanks. The casement stays above are for wood windows. I'm not sure how they would work with metal. Any ideas?

THe chain idea sounds good. I'm a little nervous about drilling into the frame, as the glass would potentially crash down 12 storeys if I screwed something up. But perhaps that would work.

We were looking at putting a metal bar into the track, so that it can only open so far. I'm not sure how well that will work. Perhaps we could do that and a chain. Other ideas welcome, though!
posted by acoutu at 2:57 PM on May 16, 2007

After three questions about your kid falling out a window, I can't help but wonder, why the hell haven't you just installed screens?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:03 PM on May 16, 2007

This isn't just about my kids. We cannot open the windows at all right now because there is nothing to keep them from swinging open and breaking, then falling to the street. We have a corner suite near the water, so it gets pretty windy. In a recent windstorm, the windows of several nearby condos were blown out because there weren't limiters. A screen is not going to keep the window from swinging open. It's not just about child safety. As for child safety, no one seems to make screens (for this kind of window) that prevent someone from falling through a window. All the local stores say it would be difficult even to get regular window screens, as these windows are not to code and are usually used only in commercial settings on the ground floor.
posted by acoutu at 3:11 PM on May 16, 2007

"... The casement stays above are for wood windows. ..."

The fact that they ship with wood screws doesn't mean that casement stays are only for wood windows. They could easily ship with sheet metal screws, or with machine screws. Depending on the construction of your metal windows, you might have enough material in the frames to drill and tap for machine screw attachments, to use self-tapping screws, or to use sheet metal screws to attach them.

You'll have the same fastener issues with whatever devices you add. And if you choose devices which have slack issues, you'll stand a far higher chance of having the windows damaged in wind conditions, and perhaps losing glass to the area below.
posted by paulsc at 3:13 PM on May 16, 2007

Quick note: screens are not structural; a child can crash through a screen almost as easily as they can fall through an empty opening.

I say this from firsthand experience as a child as well as a parent.
posted by davejay at 3:48 PM on May 16, 2007

Absolutely. Our local hospital notes the problems with screens all the time. (You can apparently buy screens that withstand 500 lbs, but they are very difficult to find and the problem is that, while the screen make not break, the fasteners might.)

Thanks for the notes PaulSC. I will see if there is something we could do to jerry-rig those stays. I really appreciate the note about the slack issue. That's a *very* important observation.
posted by acoutu at 3:52 PM on May 16, 2007

As a follow up....I talked to a window manufacturer. They suggested putting slugs of metal in the hinge track, so that the windows can only open 3-4". They said that this is pretty much what they do during the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, it took my husband many, many hours to do this, as it was not possible to buy metal in the right size. He had to Dremel, file and hacksaw the metal pieces. That being said, he did get it done and now the windows don't open more than the 3-4".

Another company suggested screwing a screw into the hinge track. This doesn't work with our window type, but it might work for someone else.
posted by acoutu at 8:20 PM on July 5, 2007

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