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Community and Q&A

Tilt and turn windows (Intus)

Jesse Lizer | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

What are people’s experience with tilt and turn style windows? I have not really seen any except for the Marvin one in person. I am looking more specifically into the Intus Upvc vinyl window. I would prefer fiberglass, but the ratings of these windows and the cost appear much better then Inline and other similar windows.
I am a little apprehensive of the turning part coming into the room, being in the way and such. Also are they fairly stiff and stay in place or do they tend to swing more freely like a door?
The other option is fiberglass casements/fixed combinations from Integrity or Pella. Running RESfen, it puts the Intus (and even the new Pella 350 triple pane) at about a $75 a year savings over the double pane fiberglass using their high solar gain glass option (Natural Sun).

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  1. Greg Smith | | #1


    I happen to be a huge fan of dual-action or tilt-turn windows. So much so that I put tilt-turns in my daughters house when we built it.

    The windows I put in her house are triple panes with Low-E on surface 2 and 5 with a (winter) U-value of .17 (fixed) and .19 to .21 on the operators. They have a rated DP of 100 and AI of .003 CFM.

    Some folks would find the open-inward feature of the windows to be awkward, but she loves them for ease of cleaing and for the amount of air that they admit to her house.

    Her windows are not stiff in the least - in either opening position.

    If I ever build again, tilt-turns will be at the top of my list.


  2. Jesse Lizer | | #2

    Thanks Greg
    What I meant about the "stiffness" was more of a good thing. As in, when you open them and leave them open, are they stiff and not swing around still (sort of like opening a laptop...where you put the screen it stays).
    I would imagine though, for venting, we would use the tilt option most, if not all, of the time. Marvin's version has a screen on the sides, so when you tilt it open the screen pulls out too. Intus and others uses a full screen. However the advantage of them over a casement is the screen is on the exterior thus you eliminate the dead bug issue and interior damage to a screen. (kids, dogs, etc).
    The windows are, by far, the hardest decision of this whole build. (shell type right behind it). Kitchen, finishes? piece of cake!

  3. John Clarke | | #3

    We just built a house we hope to achieve passive house certification on. We looked at several of the tilt-and-turn windows (Henselstone, Intus, Hoco) and we settled on the Hoco. We lived with the windows in Belgium for 3 years and fell in love with them. Unless you have a significant wind tunnel (or stack effect) happening then the windows didn't swing closed - they're not light when you have a triple pane glazing. We find that the tilt feature actually has more utility for ventilation because it doesn't allow rain in, is a bit more secure, and for us a huge plus is the cat's can't escape out the window. In swing is definitely something to consider when building since the furniture that is front of the window can now interfere with the opening.

    We also put a "rolladen" (roller shutter) on our Master Bedroom which allows complete darkness without a curtain hanging in the window. It rolls into a casing above the window when not in use.

    The main reason we went with the Hoco was we felt like they were a bit higher quality construction though the both use the same extrusion mechanisms. I do know they have changes out the hardware since we purchased our windows so I can't speak to the current hardware. Ours is smooth for the most part but you definitely need to adjust them after they are installed to make sure everything is aligned. The good thing is they have about 5 adjustments that can be made so they operate well as time progresses.

    Ours are a U-factor of .16 (R 6) with a triple pane glazing but not Low-e due to our desire to capture solar heat gain in winter months when the overhang doesn't shade the windows.

    I think like Greg has stated once you try them, you'll find it hard to go back to the double-sash or casement windows. You can check our our blog at
    (oh yeah, you can see the German-manufactured door that we had shipped with the windows. We love it too).

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    I remember sleeping in a bedroom in Belgium with roll-down metal shutters. At 10:30 a.m., it's as dark as midnight.

    If you are used to letting the morning rays of light wake you up, you'll never wake up.

  5. Jesse Lizer | | #5

    thanks for the feedback everyone.
    Great blog John, I have peaked through some of it, but I will go through more later. Love looking at blogs, especially one as involved in the process as you. Beautiful home. Love the black windows. Black or dark bronze is definately what we plan on going with. Hefty upcharge though.

  6. Albert Rooks | | #6

    One of the big factors when you move to tilt and turns is that now you can work with HSHG IGU's and place the shading on the outside. Even variable and controlled shading in areas or application's where overheating is a concearn.

    Some of the external blind systems are automatic, and therefore quite expensive (we sell a Hella system -$$$) while some others are simple and don't have a big price tag such as extruded systems from Rehau -$ to -$$.

    Give it some good thought. Once you tilt a tall window on a nice day, it's great. I think they get used more as tilts rather than swings once the owner is all moved in and understands what is the most comfortable.

    Shades and screens belong on the outside, not the inside!

  7. Greg Smith | | #7


    I agree, great blog! Your home is amazing!

    I have a concern about a comment you made regarding your windows though.

    In your response here you mentioned that your windows were U .16 without a LowE coating...unfortunately that simply isn't physically possible (unless you have something new and exotic that I am not aware of ) and I am concerned that somewhere you may have a communication disconnect with regards to those windows - a) you are getting a U.16 because they do have a Low-E coating, or b) there is no coating, but you don't have the U.16 that you believed that you were getting.

    Either way, my only consideration is that since you are obviously well involved in the construction of your new home that you know exactly what you are getting window-wise.


  8. Greg Smith | | #8


    As you thought, the windows do open much like a really fine door - smooth and easy - but I have never seen them swaying in the breeze or anything similar so I wouldnt be overly worried on that account.

    And like you thought, and John verified, it does seem that about 90% of the time you will use the tilt option anyway.

    My daughters windows have exterior screens that attach really snug, so bugs and such are not a problem thru them at all.


  9. Greg Smith | | #9

    double post - sorry

  10. Mike Eliason | | #10

    i'd be surprised if john's PH windows weren't high SHGC glass w/ low-e coatings.

    the intus seems pretty unbeatable for price/performance. zola also has a uPVC window that may be comparable.

    having lived w/ inswing and outswing windows - i prefer the inswinging w/ exterior shades and screens (if needed)

  11. John Clarke | | #11

    Greg, I'll have to dig through the literature more since I can't find the LowE discussion so I may remember that wrong. As Mike said, they are indeed high SHGC (~.50) triple-pane, argon filled. The thicknesses are 4/14/4/14/4 where the outside and middle numbers are 4 mm glass with two 14mm layers of gas in between the layers. The glass has a U-factor of .11 while the frames are .23 and overall units are rated at .16 (varies with the size of the glass/frame of course). I'll send the US rep a note to see if he can give me the facts regarding LowE. Here is a copy of the specs - the first section is standard and the second is the "upgrades" we chose for our windows.

    Standard features
    - Surface white - Two level rubber gaskets (gray color)
    - Sash lifter with false operation lock
    - Basic security with at least one mushroom locking pin
    - Circulating smooth inter-frame profile (for easy cleaning)
    - Frame Value Uf=1.3 W/m2K (US-Value= 0.23 BTU/hr-ft2-°F)
    - Heat-insulating glass Ug= 1,1 W/m2K (US-Value= 0.19 BTU/hr-ft2-°F)
    - Meets the EnEV* 2009 according to DIN** EN 10077-1 for the DIN** size 1230 (48.43") x 1480mm (28.27")
    Optional Features
    - Surface inside or both sides with décor foil (rubber gasket color black)
    - H 150thermo Frame Value Uf=1.1 W/m2K (US-Value= 0.19 BTU/hr-ft2-°F)
    - Heat-insulating glass up to Ug= 0.5 W/m2K (US-Value= 0.09 BTU/hr-ft2-°F)
    - Improved glass edge joint -Thermal insulation value,depending on glass type up to Uw=0,8W/m2K (US-Value=0.14BTU/hr-ft2-°F)
    - Grilles and Divided lites
    - Sound insulation up to 42dB
    - Security level up to WK1
    - Roller shutters, Sun protection and insect screens
    -RAL*** Quality label Vinyl windows

    Martin - indeed you can sleep the day away. Given the length of daylight in Belgium that helped if you couldn't sleep with the lights on. I don't have that problem but my better half likes darkness for sleeping.

    The other thing that the screens on the outside do is prevent the ubiquitous collection of dead insects that collect in double-hung window sills. Just as an aside the windows are actually Nussbaum which translates to "nut wood" and is dark walnut color. Many comments about our "wood" windows and it takes some convincing to prove they are vinyl.

  12. Jesse Lizer | | #12

    thanks everyone for the replies. I am still looking into various brands. Intus appear to be the best cost so far, however they are uPVC. We really want a black or dark finish, and that is a good size upcharge, basically the price of 2 windows. I am also not sure about white vinyl on the interior either. Again, we would like wood, or at least the option to have it either stained or painted.
    I do like the exterior screen though. That is a big flaw in the casement design IMO.

  13. Greg Smith | | #13

    Hi John,

    Thanks for all the information, it makes for some interesting reading...and based on the information that you provided, you definitely have a HSHG LowE coating on your windows.

    Direct comparison between Euro performance standard using W/m²K and NFRC standard using Btu/ft²/°F is not quite apples to apples, so the direct conversion using 1 Btu/ft2h°F = 5.678 W/m²K isn't 100% accurate and can lead to some misundertanding of actual comparisons between Euro and US window performance.

    In the examples that you posted, the comparison between W/m²K and BTU can be calculated using 5.678, so the performance comparisons aren't totally "accurate", but the information that you posted is still really excellent for comparing the different performance criteria for the Hoco offerings between "standard" and "optional" features.

    I am curious if Hoco uses a quad pane in order to reach their advertised "Heat-insulating glass up to Ug= 0.5 W/m2K (US-Value= 0.09 BTU/hr-ft2-°F)" - again using 5.678 to calculate the difference between Euro and US U-values...

    Really good stuff John, thanks!


  14. John Clarke | | #14

    Greg, I don't know if they even offer a quad-pane option - ours are the triple pane and have an insulating spacer between the panes (warm-glass) which helps with the Ug (or so we were told be several different manufacturers)..

    Jesse, We too wanted to get the wood option on both inside and out so we went with the foil application which is bonded to the vinyl during the manufacturing process. Depending on manufacturer and your location that may not be something they recommend due to increased heat absorption by that dark surface. The upcharge was significant but it wasn't as expensive as going with the wood frame with "passive house certification" which we wanted. The other thing about our windows is the spacer is titanium grey instead of bright silver so you really don't see it on the darker window frame. That was a small upcharge.

    One thing to consider during your search is the mounting process - European windows can be mounted with through-frame screws and not the nailing flange used on some US windows. For us that presented some challenges and opportunities (e.g. harder to get the screws into reinforced concrete but eliminated the wood nailing frame which presents heat loss concerns). The mounting is not so difficult that your normal framers can't do it - but we did do the tape/foam treatment for increased air-sealing. It does help with air sealing since our blower door test just yielded 0.42 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals and the Passive House standard requires 0.60 ACH/50. We know there were a couple of our duct vents that were not perfectly sealed (hard to get tape to stick to elastomeric pain on concrete and a roof range hood vent). The 2012 IECC calls for 3 ACH/50 and I think Energy Star is something like double that so we're very happy.

  15. Elizabeth Kormos | | #15

    I am also considering Intus windows for our new house and was concerned about how window treatments would work with the in swinging windows. I came across a web site that had a neat solution ( of creating a pocket above the window to hold the blind.

  16. Christine Brotz | | #16

    Elizabeth, I am curious about your window detail. Will you be able to effectively use the 'tilt' function of the window when it is so far to the outside of the window opening? We are planning double stud, ~12" exterior walls and are still pondering how to coordinate the window placement so that we get good ventilation when tilting the windows into the house.
    Jesse, We have quotes on tilt and turn and casement windows and will definitely go with the tilt and turn. This type of window offers better air sealing and the quotes have not been that much higher. We are looking at both fiberglass and uPVC. Intus Eforte seems to be a really good value. Anyone have experience with Intus service? I'm in Wisconsin and so we are also considering Geneo windows from WASCO.
    Regarding the dark color for vinyl, I've heard that dark colored uPVC can be more susceptible to UV deterioration. I also wonder if a dark color might cause the material to become hotter and expand more.
    My window research has caused an information overload, but it is such a big investment! Thanks for all the great info.

  17. James Morgan | | #17

    Christine, the tilt function should work fine with a deep window reveal, they are commonly installed that way in European masonry walls ~14" thick or more. In fact the detail shown allows the window to be tilted for ventilation even when the window blind is down. The turn function will be limited to about 90° in this format but that should not be a problem.

  18. Elizabeth Kormos | | #18

    Hi Christine,

    I have the same concerns about how much air will get in with deep windows and the tilt function. We are considering having transoms above the operable windows to improve the air circulation. The Intus window frames are quite wide so maybe that is why you get enough air in even with deep windows. We are going for white so the color is not an issue. The Intus pricing is not much higher than Marvin Integrity with much better performance and is significantly better than any other triple pane we priced.

  19. Jesse Lizer | | #19

    Performance and function aside, my biggest hurdle at this point is the vinyl. I have seen "expensive" high end vinyls, and while they look nicer, they are still vinyl. (uPVC in this case). Its the glossy smooth appearance that I am fighting with. We want dark exteriors, but I am worried the dark colors on pvc in the summer. Also wood interiors. While they can do both, its a heafty upcharge. Factor in discounts I can get through my reps, it makes the cost difference between triple pane windows from Eagle, Marvin and Kolbe cost less then these believe it or not, where I can get black exteriors and wood interiors, still with u values in the lower parts of .20s. Integrity fiberglass is even less.

  20. Elizabeth Kormos | | #20

    Hi Jesse

    Are you saying you can get triple pane windows with wood interiors for less than the Intus windows with the same performance?

  21. Jesse Lizer | | #21

    yes and no. Yes, I can get wood triple panes from the listed above US makers for less then the Intus uPVC, but not much. However add their black coating and wood veneer, and its quite a bit more.
    However the Intus performance is a little bit better, a couple u value points lower and a tighter seal. If you are not going for PH, getting in the lower .20s of u values is more then adequate for me.
    Now with that being said, Eagle triple panes can probably be had for less or the same price. Their u values with their new Fibrex thermal break design is in the bottom .20. Kolbe and Marvin will most likely come in higher. I get architectural discounts from my reps, so it helps with the cost of things. It does place windows from Canada and ones such as Intus at an unfair advantage.
    They also offer tilt/turn windows.
    So yes, in my unique situation, I can get them for lower, which I must consider when calculating payoffs. Obviously this also places their dual pane windows at an even lower price, making the arguement between dual and triple pane cost difference vs payoff even greater.

  22. David McNeely | | #22

    I have just returned from visiting the Intus showroom in Washington D.C. and I can answer your second question: yes, Intus windows swing freely like a door. And, Intus provides two options for limiting the swing:

    1.) You can put a limiter on the swing part of the window that is similar to the tilt part of the window, and will allow a window to be opened about the same distance. I was told the cost would be just a few dollars. I don't know if it can be disengaged easily to allow the window to open fully.

    2.) You can opt to forego the tilt function, and instead have a feature that allows the window to be held in place at any point in its swing simply by turning the window handle up. I was told the cost would be roughly equivalent. I was also told this is not mentioned on the website, and not even all the sales people are aware of it.

    Generally, I was impressed with the quality of the windows, and I have made the decision to use them in my own house that I am drawing plans for. They seem significantly tighter than Marvin or similar competitors. The steel reinforcement in the frames also allows me to have significantly larger windows; so, for example, I can go up to about 7ft. in height, which would require transoms with just about every other manufacturer. Also, the doors are similarly tight, and have an equally impressive u-value, so I can have the same design throughout the house.

    Cost-wise, the windows seem roughly equivalent to mid-priced units in this country while offering about twice the efficiency. You can add color or simulated wood grain (a fairly realistic-looking applied foil) to one side for about 15%, and to both sides for about a 25% up-charge. While this is a financial hit, one has to remember that installing a window with a wood veneer on the interior will require a skilled painter, at no small expense, to achieve a result that is not as long-lived.

    Please note that I use my full name here, and you can look at other posts of mine; hopefully this will dismiss any concern that I may be a shill for Intus. I drove a long distance to look at them, and the result, for me, was excitement. Truly, this is the motivation for this post.

  23. Rudy Batties | | #23

    I wanted to mention that window shades are available for Tilt n Turn Windows, They are made in Germany and distributed in the US by The interior pleated shades and Venetian blinds can be installed in the glazing bead for these tilt and turn windows. Thus, they move with the window. The pleated shades can be ordered in very energy efficient honeycomb designs in hundreds of colors. Dual operation (top down, bottom up) pleated shades can be moved from the top down or the bottom up. A tab at the top and the bottom allows shade positioning anywhere on the window or door, providing easy and accurate control lighting and privacy. They alos work on folding patio doors. RB

  24. Jessie Pratt | | #24

    Just to let you know, intus wood and aluminum-clad wood windows are now available.

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