What is a Hopper Window?

What is a Hopper Window?
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Reviewed by Bryan Baeumler

A hopper window is a type of window that opens inwards from the top and tilts into the room. It is hinged at the bottom and opens by tilting the top portion inwards. In contrast, an awning window opens at the top and creates its own awning when pushed open.

Hopper windows have been around for centuries, providing natural light, ventilation, and an emergency exit in basements and other low-level areas of homes and buildings. These versatile windows are making a comeback in modern architecture due to their unique design, functionality, and energy efficiency. Hopper windows are often compared to awning windows, which open at the top and swing outwards.

At Canadian Choice Windows and Doors, we understand the importance of hopper windows and their role in creating comfortable, secure, and energy-efficient living spaces. As the President of Brand & Marketing, I’m excited to share our comprehensive guide on hopper windows, covering everything from their history and benefits to installation and maintenance.

What is a Hopper Window?

Key Features

A hopper window design allows maximum ventilation and air circulation while providing a clear view of the outside.

Here are some key features of hopper windows:

  • Rectangular shape: Hopper windows typically have a rectangular shape, which is ideal for basement and lower-level areas where space is limited.
  • Inward opening: Unlike other window styles that open outwards, hopper windows open inwards, making them a safer option for areas close to the ground or near walkways.
  • Tilt-in design: The window sash is hinged at the bottom, allowing it to tilt inwards when opened, creating an awning-like effect.
  • Easy operation: Hopper windows can be easily opened and closed with a simple crank or lever mechanism, making them user-friendly for people of all ages.
  • Comparison with awning windows: Unlike hopper windows, awning windows are hinged at the top and open outwards, creating an awning-like effect when pushed open.

Click here for more information on our DraftLock Slim Contour hopper windows.

Key Features

History and Origins

Hopper windows have been a part of architectural design for centuries, dating back to medieval times. They were commonly used in basements, cellars, and lower levels of buildings to provide natural light and ventilation while allowing easy access for goods and supplies.

In the early 20th century, hopper windows became a popular choice for residential construction, particularly in areas prone to heavy rainfall or where dirt roads were common. Their inward-opening design prevented rain and dust from entering the home, making them a practical and functional choice. Awning windows, which open at the top and swing outwards, have also been used historically for similar purposes.

Today, hopper windows have evolved to meet modern building standards and energy efficiency requirements. They are widely used in both residential and commercial buildings, offering a versatile solution for basement and lower-level areas.

History and Origins

Types of Hopper Windows

Hopper windows come in various types to cater to different needs and preferences. Here are some of the most common types:

  1. Traditional Hopper Windows: These are the classic hopper windows with a single sash that opens inwards from the top.
  2. Tilt-Turn Hopper Windows: These windows combine the functionality of a hopper window and a casement window. They can tilt inwards like a hopper window or open outwards like a casement window, providing versatility in ventilation and operation.
  3. Top-Hung Hopper Windows: As the name suggests, these windows are hinged at the top and open outwards, offering an alternative to the traditional inward-opening design.

Awning windows, which are hinged at the top and open outwards, are another type of window often used in similar applications.

Types of Hopper Windows

Benefits and Advantages

Hopper windows offer several benefits and advantages that make them a popular choice for homeowners and builders alike:

  1. Ventilation and Airflow Control: The inward-opening design of hopper windows allows for excellent ventilation and airflow control, making them ideal for basements and other low-level areas where air circulation is essential. Awning windows also provide excellent ventilation and are often used in basements and other low-level areas.
  2. Space-Saving Design: Hopper windows take up minimal space when opened, making them a practical solution for areas with limited floor or wall space.
  3. Easy Cleaning and Maintenance: Since hopper windows open inwards, they are easy to clean and maintain from the inside, eliminating the need for ladders or specialized equipment.
  4. Energy Efficiency: Modern hopper windows are designed with energy-efficient features, such as double or triple-pane glass, low-emissivity coatings, and weather-stripping, to help reduce energy costs and improve insulation.
  5. Security Features: Many hopper windows come equipped with secure locking mechanisms and child-safety features, ensuring the safety and security of your home.
  6. Aesthetic Appeal: Hopper windows can add a unique and charming touch to your home’s exterior while providing functionality and practicality.

Benefits and Advantages

Applications and Suitable Locations

Hopper windows are versatile and can be used in a variety of applications and locations. Here are some common areas where these windows are a suitable choice:

  • Basements and Cellars: Hopper windows are an excellent choice for basements and cellars, providing natural light, ventilation, and an emergency exit in case of fire or other emergencies. Awning windows, which open at the top and swing outwards, are also a good choice for basements and cellars.
  • Attics and Loft Spaces: In attics and loft spaces, hopper windows can be installed high on the walls or even in the ceiling, allowing for natural light and ventilation without compromising privacy.
  • Bathrooms and Kitchens: The tilt-in design of hopper windows makes them a practical choice for bathrooms and kitchens, where moisture and condensation can be a concern. They allow for ventilation while preventing water from entering the home.
  • Commercial and Industrial Buildings: Hopper windows are commonly used in commercial and industrial buildings, such as warehouses, factories, and workshops, where ventilation and natural lights are essential.

Check out our past projects to see how we’ve incorporated hopper windows into various residential and commercial applications.

Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your windows. Awning windows, which are hinged at the top and open outwards, also require proper framing and structural support. Here are some important considerations:

Installation

  • Framing and Structural Requirements: Hopper windows require a specific framing and structural support system to ensure proper operation and safety. It’s essential to follow local building codes and manufacturer guidelines for proper installation.
  • Weatherproofing and Insulation: Ensuring proper weatherproofing and insulation around the window frame is crucial for preventing air leaks, moisture intrusion, and energy loss. Awning windows also require proper weatherproofing and insulation to prevent air leaks and moisture intrusion.
  • Professional Installation: While DIY installation is possible, it’s recommended to hire professional installers who have the necessary expertise and experience to ensure a proper and secure installation.

Learn more about our professional window installation services and how we can help you with your hopper window project.

Maintenance

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your hopper windows regularly to remove dirt, debris, and any buildup that may interfere with their operation or compromise their energy efficiency. Awning windows, which open outwards, should also be cleaned regularly to remove dirt and debris.
  • Lubrication: Lubricate the hinges and moving parts of your hopper windows periodically to ensure smooth operation and prevent wear and tear.
  • Inspection: Inspect your hopper windows regularly for any signs of damage, such as cracks, warping, or issues with the seals or weather-stripping. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and maintain optimal performance.
  • Weatherproofing: Check the weatherproofing and sealants around the window frame periodically and replace or repair as needed to prevent air leaks and moisture intrusion.

By following these installation and maintenance guidelines, you can ensure that your hopper windows provide years of reliable service, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal.

Codes, Regulations, and Safety

When it comes to hopper windows, it’s crucial to consider local building codes, regulations, and safety requirements. Awning windows, which open at the top and swing outwards, must also meet local building codes and regulations. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Building Codes and Regulations

Building codes and regulations vary by region and locality, and they often have specific requirements for hopper windows, particularly when it comes to egress (emergency exit) and ventilation. It’s essential to consult with local authorities and follow the applicable codes and regulations to ensure your hopper windows meet the necessary standards. Awning windows must also comply with local building codes and regulations for egress and ventilation.

Safety Features and Child-Proof Options

Hopper windows can pose a safety risk, especially for young children, if they are not properly secured. Many manufacturers offer child-proof options, such as window opening control devices (WOCDs) and window guards, to prevent accidental falls or injuries. It’s crucial to consider these safety features when installing hopper windows, particularly in homes with young children or in spaces where they may have access. Awning windows, which open outwards, should also be equipped with child-proof options to prevent accidental falls.

Egress Requirements

In certain areas, hopper windows may be required to meet egress requirements, which are safety regulations that ensure the window opening is large enough to serve as an emergency exit in case of fire or other emergencies. These requirements typically specify the minimum size and clearance dimensions for the window opening, as well as the maximum height from the floor. Awning windows must also meet egress requirements for size and accessibility.

It’s essential to consult with local building authorities and ensure that your hopper windows comply with all applicable egress requirements, particularly if they are being installed in basements or other areas where emergency exits may be necessary.

Energy Efficiency Standards and Ratings

Many regions and municipalities have energy efficiency standards and ratings for windows, including hopper windows. These standards are designed to promote energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that windows meet certain performance criteria in terms of thermal insulation, air leakage, and solar heat gain.

When selecting hopper windows, it’s important to look for energy efficiency ratings, such as those provided by ENERGY STAR or the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), to ensure that your windows meet the required standards and can help reduce your energy costs and environmental impact. Awning windows should also meet energy efficiency standards and ratings to help reduce energy costs.

By adhering to the relevant codes, regulations, and safety requirements, you can ensure that your hopper windows not only provide functional and aesthetic benefits but also prioritize the safety and well-being of your family and contribute to a more sustainable living environment.

Comparison with Other Window Types

While hopper windows offer unique advantages, they may not be the best choice for every application. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of hopper windows in comparison to other window types to make an informed decision. Awning windows, which open at the top and swing outwards, are another type of window often compared to hopper windows.

Pros of Hopper Windows

  • Excellent ventilation and airflow control
  • Space-saving design when opened
  • Easy cleaning and maintenance from the inside
  • Suitable for basement and low-level areas
  • Provide natural light and an emergency exit
  • Awning windows also provide excellent ventilation and are often used in basements and other low-level areas

Cons of Hopper Windows

  • Limited opening size compared to other window types
  • May not be suitable for upper-level rooms or areas requiring a larger opening
  • Can be less secure than other window types if not properly locked
  • Awning windows, which open outwards, may not be suitable for areas with limited exterior space

Comparison with Other Window Types

Window Type Pros Cons
Casement Windows Casement Windows Excellent ventilation, easy to open and close, provide an unobstructed view Can be less energy-efficient than other types, may not be suitable for high-traffic areas
Double-Hung Windows Double-Hung Windows Easy to operate, provides ventilation from both top and bottom sashes, can be opened partially for security Can be less energy-efficient than other types, can be difficult to clean from the outside
Sliding Windows Sliding Windows Easy to operate, provide ventilation, space-saving design Limited ventilation compared to other types, can be less energy-efficient
Bay or Bow Windows Bay or Bow Windows Provide additional interior space, create a focal point, allow for natural light More expensive than other types, can be less energy-efficient, may require additional structural support
Awning Windows Awning Windows Provide excellent ventilation, hinged at the top, open outwards creating their own awning May not be suitable for areas with limited exterior space
Tilt & Turn Windows Tilt & Turn Windows Versatile operation (tilt or turn), easy to clean, provide good ventilation More complex hardware, may be more expensive than some other window types
Architectural Windows Architectural Windows Create unique aesthetic, allow for creative designs, can maximize natural light Often custom-made, may be more expensive, may require special installation considerations

When choosing between window types, it's essential to consider factors such as your specific needs, the location of the window, energy efficiency requirements, and your budget. Consulting with a professional window installer can help you make an informed decision and ensure that you select the most suitable window type for your home or building.

FAQ

What are hopper style windows and awning windows?

Hopper style windows and awning windows are two types of windows that open in a unique way. These types of windows are hinged at the bottom and tilt inwards from the top, while awning windows are hinged at the top and tilt outwards from the bottom.

What are basement windows and basement hopper windows?

Basement windows are windows installed in the basement level of a house, providing natural light and ventilation to the basement. Basement hopper windows are a specific type of window commonly used in basements due to their space-saving design and ability to provide fresh air and an emergency egress.

What is an egress window?

An egress window is a window that meets specific building code requirements for size and accessibility, allowing it to serve as an emergency exit from a room or building in case of fire or other emergencies. These windows are often required in basements, bedrooms, and other areas where a safe exit is necessary.

Why are hopper windows and awning windows a good choice for basements?

Hopper windows and awning windows are excellent choices for basements because they are designed to be located high on the wall, close to the ceiling, which allows for better ventilation and natural light in the basement. Additionally, basement hopper windows can serve as egress windows, providing an emergency exit.

What is the difference between hopper windows and awning windows?

The main difference between hopper windows and awning windows lies in the way they open. Hopper windows are hinged at the bottom and tilt inwards from the top, while awning windows are hinged at the top and tilt outwards from the bottom.

What is the main reason for choosing hopper windows?

The main reason for choosing hopper windows is their ability to provide excellent ventilation and fresh air while taking up minimal space when opened. They are also a popular choice for basements and other low-level areas due to their space-saving design and potential to serve as egress windows.

Do hopper windows come in standard sizes?

No, hopper windows do not come in standard sizes. They can be custom-made to fit specific openings and meet various building code requirements, such as those for egress windows.

What is the installation process for hopper windows?

The installation process for hopper windows typically involves properly framing the opening, ensuring proper structural support, and following local building codes and manufacturer guidelines for weatherproofing and insulation. Professional installation is often recommended to ensure proper operation and safety.

What is the egress code for basement hopper windows?

The egress code for basement hopper windows specifies the minimum size and clearance dimensions required for the window opening to serve as an emergency exit. This code varies by location and is set by local building authorities to ensure safety standards are met.

Conclusion

Hopper windows are a versatile and functional choice for basements, lower-level areas, and spaces where natural light, ventilation, and emergency egress are essential. With their unique inward-opening design, energy-efficient features, and aesthetic appeal, these types of windows offer a practical solution for homeowners and builders alike. Awning windows, which open at the top and swing outwards, are another versatile and functional choice for basements and other low-level areas.

At Canadian Choice Windows and Doors, we take pride in offering a wide range of high-quality hopper window options to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing exceptional service and guidance throughout the entire process, from selection and installation to maintenance and repair.

Whether you’re building a new home, renovating an existing space, or simply looking to replace outdated windows, we encourage you to explore the benefits of hopper windows and consult with our knowledgeable professionals to find the perfect solution for your project.

Contact us today to learn more about our hopper window offerings and how we can help you create a comfortable, energy-efficient, and secure living environment for years to come.

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Simon Pozneris, President of Brand & Marketing
Simon Pozneris, President of Brand & Marketing

As founder and President at Canadian Choice Windows and Doors, I've turned my passion for home improvement into a national brand. From our humble beginnings as a single store, we've expanded to six locations across Canada, specializing in windows, doors, and energy-efficient home solutions.

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