What is a tilt and turn window handle? 

Tilt and turn window handles are found on the dual-action double glazed windows where the window tilts in and also opens inside the room. The handle turns a series of locks around the perimeter of the window. Inside the window is a small gearbox that connects with the spindle of the handle. The gearbox is then linked to the multi-point locks around the window. To know whether your tilt and turn window handle is broken can only be tested by taking the handle off.

How do I get the tilt and turn handle off the window?

It is very simple. The screw fixing holes are concealed under a cover plate. You may notice a small impression at the top and bottom of the base plate and using your fingers just lift the cover and swivel the plate to reveal the holes for fixing. Keep the screws as they will be the correct length and type for your replacement tilt and turn handles (new ones can be ordered for a small charge).

What do I need to  know to replace broken tilt and turn window handles?

The main thing is the spindle length which can be measured by taking the handle off the window by its two screws to expose the spindle. The spindle can vary although 32mm is quite common  The picture should explain it:

Tilt and Turn window handle broken spindle sizeIt is also worth making some other quick checks as older windows can throw up some unusual locking systems.  The screws should be pitched 43mm apart (from centre to centre). Also, check the spindle is 7mm square (most are). If it is 8mm square, and these are usually found on Scandinavian timber windows, then you can use the special spindle sleeves as shown here: Or read our guide to replacement tilt and turn window handles.

Tilt and Turn window handle broken may need spindle sleevesWith some of the older aluminium tilt and turn window handles you will find the spindle is replaced with a fork type blade and unfortunately these are not items that are easy to find.

Tilt and turn window handle broken and the spindle is stuck in the lever of the handle, what do I measure?

You need to find the measurement of the spindle from the underside of the handle base. The best way to do this is take the same handle off the window next to it and measure that one instead as they should be the same on the same window.

The key does not lock my handle, is the tilt and turn window handle broken?

Take the handle off the window and in the palm of your hand turn the lever 180 degrees to the base of the handle and then put it back on the window. It should work now. The handles have a safe mode which means you can lock the handle when the window is about to turn into the room but the window can still tilt down for ventilation. In other words the key lock can work on either the closed position or when the handle is 90 degrees. This is particularly useful for safety.

When fitting a new handle the back plate does not sit down flat on the frame?

There could be two main reasons:

Spindle too long – you will need to re-check the length of the protruding spindle. It is not recommended that you attempt to shorten this as the material is hardened and difficult to cut. Such spindles require a certain amount of strength to overcome the torque and resistance to move the locking mechanism that in time may become more frictional. You will need to reorder the correct size.

The holes in the PVC-U frame are not large enough – you may need to open up the two holes on the surface of the frame to accommodate location lugs. These are usually 10mm in diameter. Location lugs are much more the norm these days to ensure a much better location and stop the window handle twisting in use.

How do I know if my tilt and turn handle is right-handed or left-handed?

It is not necessary as the handles turn both ways.

What can I use to clean the handles?

Care should be applied when cleaning handles.
Window handles can often be cleaned with a soft dry cloth. If further cleaning is needed use a mild solution of warm, soapy water on a soft cloth and dry thoroughly afterwards.
To prolong the serviceable life of the handle, care must be taken not to scratch or damage the surfaces of the handle. Do not use wire wool or scouring agents.