Replacement tilt and turn window handles for uPVC

Typical tilt and turn window handle shown Tilt and turn window handles have been used on upvc, aluminium and timber windows for many years. In fact they can lay claim to being the very first window design in the UK for the modern double glazed window. Many years on and the job is now one of finding suitable replacement tilt and turn window handles.

Tilt and turn windows have a dual action mechanism which allows the window to open fully internally or to be dropped down 'hopper' style for ventilation. These windows originate in Europe, and predominantly Germany, which is why they open inwards as is the norm for a lot of European countries.

Spindle sleeves for converting to 8mm

UPVC and timber tilt and turn Window Handles are the easiest to replace as they are spindle based, much like the espag window handle only much stronger, bigger and more durable. A typical tilt and turn window is much heavier and much larger. The sizes of such windows can go up to door size and this is why the handles need to be much more robust and fit for this type of purpose.

If you are wondering why then imagine the amount of friction the locking mechanism has to overcome around a much larger window and this is what puts the strain on the window handle.

The tilt and turn window handle with a spindle can turn 360 degrees when off the window but only 180 degrees when on the window. This is another distinct difference between an espag handle and a tilt and turn handle as the espag handle will usually only turn 90 degrees.

Handle base diagram

Over the years the realisation that these type of windows can be very unsafe, by virtue of the fully internally opening window, has led to the development of the 'safe mode' handle which allows the window to be locked in one of the two turns to ensure the wide internally opening window requires a key to open it.

Typical Detail for a spindled tilt and turn handle

Tilt and turn handles with spindles are generally standardised to a few different options which includes the spindle sizes (32/38 and 44mm lengths) and fixings which are generally 43mm apart between their centres. A point to note is that the base of the handle tends to be wider than most handles and typically around a 30mm width.

The action of a tilt and turn window is generally one of two designs:

  • Tilt before turn (TBT)
  • Turn before tilt

Tilt Before Turn (TBT)

Tilt before turn action diagram for replacement tilt and turn window handles

This is the typical action of a tilt before turn window with a TBT Safe handle.

When the window is closed the handle remains unlocked.

When the handle is turned 90 degrees the handle is always locked requiring a key to release the handle. This stops the window being opened fully into the room without due care and attention. The window drops down for ventilation in this position.

When the handle is turned the full 180 degrees the handle is unlocked once more (the window opens fully inside the room).

Turn Before Tilt

Turn before tilt action diagram for replacement tilt and turn window handles

Say you are using the above TBT handle then this can still be used for the more conventional turn before tilt windows found. To use this handle just turn the base around 180 degrees to the lever before fixing to the window and then observe the change as follows:

When the window is closed the handle remains locked to avoid the large opening.

When unlocked by the key the handle can be turned 90 degrees and the window opens fully into the room.

When the handle is turned the full 180 degrees the handle remains unlocked once more and the window can drop down for ventilation (tilt).

Aluminium Tilt and Turn Window Handles

A small part of the residential tilt and turn window market is the aluminium window and this sends the whole replacement tilt and turn window handles notion into orbit!

It is generally accepted that most aluminium tilt and turn windows are found in commercial applications like offices and shop fronts etc but for those that exist in the residential market the likelihood of finding replacement handles is very difficult, bordering on very unlikely. The best advice is to find an aluminium window manufacturer or contact a local double glazing repairs company to look at how this can be approached.


Replacement uPVC tilt and turn window handles can be found fairly easily if they are spindle based. Spindles are usually 7mm square and are common lengths like 32mm, 38mm and 44mm (32mm very popular). The handles tend to be much sturdier than conventional casement handles using spindles (espag) and have wider bases. The fixings are almost always 43mm centres.

Replacement timber tilt and turn window handles are ditto the above except you may find they are 8mm spindles (use spindle sleeves in that case) and 30mm in length.

Replacement aluminium tilt and turn window handles are very specialist and will need the help of a specialist contractor for replacement handles.