GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

European windows vs traditional window installation

Whitestone_Builder | Posted in General Questions on

Homeowner has ordered a European tilt & turn window, and a lift & slide door. They haven’t been able to provide with additional details on the installation. They say that they install similar to a North American nail flange. Does anyone have experience installing these? Any best practices? What can I expect when they arrive?

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. Quinn Sievewright | | #1

    You may find these videos useful. There are of course specific to the manufacturers products but the same principles can be applied to interior air sealing and exterior weatherproofing for windows/doors set into the middle area of the rough opening rather than on the exterior face. Their German youtube also has a variety of installation examples.

  2. Expert Member
    Akos | | #2

    Most I've seen don't come with a nail flange. The install is similar to flangless retrofit install.

    The ones I've done where Rehau UPVC ones without mounting brackets, I can't speak for wood ones.

    First off, if they are triple pane, they be VERY heavy. Larger windows are definitely a two person job.

    General steps:
    -remove fixed window by removing the seal around the inside. This just snaps into the frame and you can seperate it with a stiff scraper. The glass will have spacers around the edges, keep track of those as they'll have to go back once when re-install. Unlike NA windows, the glass is not held in place with glazing tape.

    -remove operable windows by pulling the pin in the upper hinge, tilt them out and lift off the bottom hinge.

    With all the glass out you are left with a pretty light weight frame, which you install as you normally would. Watch to make sure the window stays square. You don't shim it tight like NA windows, you just put in the shims to level it and hold it in place while the screws go in and the SPF sets.

    Once the window is in put the glass back and check operation. There are lot of adjustments but I've rarely had to touch them.

    Tilt and slides are similar setup (remove glass, square and install fame, put back glass). They are a royal pain to adjust, my best effort only got it mostly working. I had to get somebody that is familiar with them in the end to do the final adjustments.

  3. Whitestone_Builder | | #3

    Thank you. This was helpful.

  4. GBA Editor
    Brian Pontolilo | | #4

    Hi Whitestone_Builder.

    Installing European-style windows in a wood-framed wall is quite a bit different than installing a flanged window, but it's not a daunting endeavor. Preparing the rough opening is about the same, of course. Install a back dam and pitched sill, shingle-lap the flashing from sill to the top of the rough opening, etc.

    As far as mounting the windows, the brands that I have seen installed came with mounting clips and screws. I just saw some Schuco windows installed a few weeks ago (article coming in January), and setting the window was remarkably easy with the included fasteners. In fact, their fully-threaded screws relieve the need for shims on the sides of the windows because they lock the frame in place. And because the frame is so rigid, if you set the bottom level, the unit will be plumb. As noted above, they are heavy. Have some extra help on hand, particularly for the door.

    In a thick wall, you'll need to decide where to locate the window in the opening. It may make flashing easier to bring it out to the plane of the sheathing, but that also makes the top of the window more vulnerable to water penetration. Setting it back offers some protection. In considerably thick walls, many builders say that the middle of the wall is the best location for performance. If You decide to set the window back from the face of the wall, check out Siga Fentrim tape. it has a folded edge designed to lap onto the window and a two-part release sheet to make installation a bit easier.

    Would love to hear your feedback on the windows and how they were to install.

  5. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #5

    Whitestone_Builder, I've seen flanges on only one project with European-style tilt/turn windows, included at the builder's request. My spec, as designer, was for the standard clip installation. The builder said the installation was pretty comparable to American flanged units with non-integral flanges that require extra steps to ensure water- and air-tightness. With all of the high performance tapes available for sealing the window to the frame, I would go with the flangeless installation if possible.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |