The way we see the world from indoors doesn’t have to be restricted to the same old kind of window. There are many kinds of windows that can decorate or functionally add to a wall. They bring in the sun, manage ventilation, invite in the breeze, and can bring a room’s look together. If you live in a certain place, you will end up seeing the same styles of windows everywhere you go. But are these the only options? What are the big differences between American style and European style windows?

Design Style

American windows are made to match the standard of American homes. With some exceptions, they are made to be very flat and square, to section themselves equally into rooms and provide evenly spaced out viewing. European windows are different. They are made to be opened in different ways if possible, not just as static pieces of glass. While American windows can slide up or down, European windows implement multiple actions that allow them to swing out or in, to tilt up or down, and to combine together to make single larger window spaces.

Operation Methods

American windows can either open or close. Any space in between can be seen as a different level, but for the most part, American windows are only opened or closed. European windows can tilt to be partially open, or lean-to let in just a small amount of air without letting through any weather like rain. This is the main difference. European windows use twisting levers to operate, which gives them far more articulation in just how open they can be in any direction. It’s not as simple but offers more refined options.

Energy Consumption

The tilt and turn functionality come in handy for cooling houses without losing all that cool air through proper ventilation. American houses tend to use more energy-intense cooling and heating in general, and when that goes out, the windows can only be opened to mix the air together. Air trying to go out meets the air coming in and complicates the cross breeze. European windows allow the air to come in at one level and leave at the other, allowing proper circulation from the outside, which cools the room without using energy for heating or air conditioning.

Glass Materials Selection

American windows use the double pane standard, two glass panes with a pocket of argon gas in between which acts as an insulation buffer to trap heat or cold and preserve internal temperatures. This is the standard across the nation. In Europe, glass panes can vary depending on the style of window and taking a traditional timeframe into account. However, modern European windows use triple panning - three glass plates with two individual air pockets. More mean more insulation, more energy efficiency, along with more weight and therefore less stable articulation.

Sound Insulation Effect

Having more panes also affects sound penetration. More window panes mean sound can get in. European windows are proven to be more sound insulating because they use more panes.

Cost Difference

Cost is determined by the quality of goods and the presence of features in the windows themselves. There are many kinds of glass, but the most utilized industrial standard type of glass will have the same cost per weight as any other window. Then double, triple, or quadruple that for the number of panes that get installed. Plus the manufacturing of the double-panes process and anything else. Windows tied to some automatic system will have a greatly increased cost for implementing new technology. Even windows with cranks, which are a common fixture for European-style windows, will cost more in order to properly install the lever into the wall. For all these reasons, American windows are usually the cheapest, but also have fewer options to choose from overall. Things like powder-coating to protect the glass from the outside can also increase the costs up-front, but the real cost comes in the savings they generate over time.

Installation Method

American windows are probably the simplest to install. They are set into a wall and that’s more or less it. The frame is restructured, usually with the same wood as the rest of the house, then sealed in around drywall or plaster. Older homes with brick or stone walls, or with more unique structures, will take more work to install but American windows have enough variety in size and shape to fit into nearly any home.

European windows are a bit more complicated. The mechanisms for the twist and tilt functions need coinciding installation and their work done to implant them into the wall and connect to the mechanisms within the frame. The standards for house design are also different. European windows normally come with brackets or hooks which are set into older European walls. European-style windows manufactured in America will be easier to install by themselves, but to get the full range of utility, they need more work done.


Overall, European windows are better, even for American houses. They have more versatility, more operational options, better energy-saving capability, and even soundproofing. The only thing that’s not easier is the cost and installation. They are not a DIY type of project and are more reliably installed by a professional to prevent any damage to the wall or the rest of the house. However, once they are in, they can change a whole room and improve the feeling of the space.

In the end, it is up to the homeowner to decide what windows will work best. And the sooner that decision is made, the better. Ideally, as the home is being designed or during major renovations. It’s easier to install the perfect window if you build a wall around it than take a perfect wall and change it to fit a better window.

July 25, 2022 — Della Wang