What are Jalousie Windows

Jalousie windows are a popular choice for homes in Hawaii—they provide incredible ventilation for the entire home, have a traditional local look, and can be installed with screens to keep bugs and debris out of your home.

Also known as louvered windows, jalousie windows have horizontal glass, plastic, wood or metal panels that operate on a track inside a window frame. Using a crack or knob operator, the windows/panels can be opened and closed, much like the slats of Venetian blinds.

Jalousie windows were invented in France in the 1700s and sound like the word “jealousy” because the louvers would provide privacy to keep jealous eyes away. The first patent for jalousie windows was filed in the early 1900s, but didn’t catch on until the 1950s, where they gained popularity in southern climates.

The energy crisis in the 1970s meant that most states gave them up, because they weren’t great at keeping air-conditioned air inside the house. You will still find plenty of jalousie windows across the Hawaiian Islands (and in Texas), as they’re the perfect choice to let the trade winds blow through to cool the home, or close up during a storm to keep the weather at bay. Also, it’s very affordable to replace jalousie windows.

This article will tell you about the pros and cons of jalousie windows and even include step-by-step instructions on how to replace jalousie windows.

What are the pros of Jalousie Windows?

Ideal Ventilation

Jalousie windows are common in humid, warm climates because they allow ventilation along the entire surface, vs. ½, like a single or double hung window. Even when the panels are fully open, they keep sun and rain out, protecting you from the sometimes-harsh climate of the Hawaiian Islands. You can easily adjust the angle of the panels to control how much air and sun comes in. The slats also break up the wind, keeping it from blowing everything around in your house.

Before air conditioning became so popular (before the 1970s), the cooling breezes were necessary to get airflow through your home. While jalousie windows aren’t ideal in homes with A/C, they can still be useful in enclosed lanai areas or other spaces that don’t have cooling options. In places like Hawaii, with a temperate climate (especially upcountry, where A/C isn’t usually necessary), jalousie windows are a great option.

With jalousie windows, you can relax and read a book while getting fresh air without worrying about rain, debris, or sun getting in your home.

Choose your Privacy Level

Even when jalousie windows are completely open, they provide a good amount of privacy for your home. A slight tilt of the panels gives you even more privacy, or complete closure means nobody can see into your home. This means you can enjoy a breeze, without letting passersby see you. This is one reason these windows are a popular choice for bathrooms, where you want maximum airflow, with full privacy.

Upgrade Options

If you installed clear panels and want more privacy, it’s easy to change the whole look and privacy level of your jalousie windows by simply replacing the panels with frosted or tinted glass, wood for a high-end look, vinyl, acrylic, or aluminum to fully block the light out. It’s simple to make a small change and match your home’s aesthetics by matching your jalousie window panels.

Easy to Open

Jalousie windows, or slatted/louver windows have many panels that are set into the frame by a track and work much like Venetian blinds, able to close and open fully up or down. Usually, when slats are wider than 6 inches, they are referred to as awning windows. With a simple pull of a handle, you can adjust the opening, sunlight, privacy, and breeze level.

What are the challenges of Jalousie Windows?

There’s a reason that these types of windows are mostly only found in tropical/humid climates like Hawaii and Texas. Since the windows aren’t exactly airtight, they aren’t ideal for use with air conditioning, which is common in most of the world. 

Other Challenges:

  • No weather or sound rating, which means sound and rain can get in and out without much trouble.
  • No Energy Star rating, which can be used to raise the value of a home.
  • Limited positions – while there is full range, you can just open, close, or partially open jalousie windows, vs. other windows that can open fully without panels obstructing views.
  • Size limitations – jalousie windows come in a limited number of sizes, which may pose problems for custom homes.
  • Cleaning can be tricky, as each slat needs to be cleaned individually.

What materials are used to make jalousie windows?

While most jalousie windows are made with glass to let a certain amount of light into the home, you can replace jalousie windows that originally had glass with vinyl, aluminum, acrylic, or wood panels to fully block out light or add a certain look and feel to your home. Some panels come with rubber edges to help protect against rain. Ask a Maui Windows and Doors representative to see what types of panels/slats would work best for the jalousie windows in your home.

How do you replace Jalousie Windows?

Jalousie windows tend to suffer from problems coming from the mechanical parts that open and close the panels, or slats. Rust can develop in the handle and tracks, making them harder to open and close. 

STEP 1: The first step to replace jalousie windows is to figure out what needs replacing – the slats, mechanical parts, or the entire window. Next, choose what you’d like to replace it with – do you want to stick with glass? Change to vinyl, acrylic, aluminum, or wood?
STEP 2: Next, you’ll want to remove the old window. An easy way to replace it is by getting an identically sized jalousie window that will fit right in where your old window was. Remove the screws around the frame of the window with a screwdriver and put them off to the side. 
STEP 3: Remove the old seal. Around the edge, you’ll see a thin layer of rubber or plastic, which needs to be removed from the glass frame before you replace it. Throw away the old seal. Pull out the window—you may have to pry it off if there is any caulk present that held the old window in.
STEP 4: Install the new windowpane. Since you got the exact size window you had before, go ahead and fit the window into the hole and seal the edges with the provided seal. Fit the seal around the edges and push the window into the opening.
STEP 5: As you replace your jalousie window frame, you just need to firmly push the frame into place, then put the screws back in that you set aside earlier. Use your hand to tighten them as far as you can, then use your screwdriver to finish the job. If there are still gaps, think about using caulk to create a secure seal. That’s it! 

If you have any questions about jalousie windows, your options for installation, replacement jalousie windows, or anything related to them, please call or visit Maui Windows and Doors and our friendly representatives will answer all your questions.