With so many window types, hinges and stays on the market things can easily get confusing! In this article, we will be focusing on window stay hinges and friction hinges, the differences between them, and how they operate. Both hinge styles are commonly used on sash and casement style windows. While a window stay hinge and a friction hinge serve a similar purpose of keeping the window open, they differ in their design and functionality.

What is a Stay Hinge?

A stay hinge is a term that is used interchangeably with a window stay. A stay hinge and a window stay refer to the same window mechanism whereby a window stay works in conjunction with a hinge to control movement and positioning of a window or door sash.

A traditional window stay may lack the friction mechanism associated with Friction Stay Hinges (we’ll come to those in a moment), making it less effective at holding a window sash or casement in place at different angles. The stay often has fixed holes along it that determines the angles that the window can be fixed at.

Here are some examples of window stays/stay hinges:

What are Window Stays?

Window stays are items which support to open windows and aid in the security of a closed window.  A window stay consists of a metal arm that attaches to the opening piece of the window and the pin that fixes it to the frame. Each arm features separate holes for a pin to be secured to keep the window in place. This is often referred to as a lift off stay because the metal arm is lifted to disengage the pin in order to open or close the window further. When the window is in the closed position, the arm should rest horizontally across the pins.

What is a Friction Hinge?

A Friction Hinge, also known as a Friction Stay Hinge, is a specific type of stay hinge used in sash or casement windows. It incorporates a friction mechanism within the hinge to provide resistance against the movement of the window sash or casement. The friction mechanism helps hold the window in position, allowing it to stay open at various angles or remain closed securely.

How does a Friction Hinge work?

A Friction Hinge consists of two plates or components connected by a pivot point. Inside the hinge mechanism, there is a torque element, often a small clutch or a combination of springs and friction materials, which generates resistance to movement. The torque element can be adjusted to control the amount of friction or resistance applied to the hinge.

When a force is applied to the hinge, the resistance provided by the friction mechanism allows the hinge to hold its position at any angle within its range of motion. It eliminates the need for additional mechanisms, such as locks or support brackets, to keep the hinge in place. The friction hinge provides a smooth and stable operation, enabling users to position or adjust the connected parts easily while maintaining the desired angle.

The design and construction of friction hinges can vary depending on the specific application requirements. Some friction hinges allow bidirectional rotation, while others have limitations on the range of motion. They can be found in various sizes, materials, and configurations to accommodate different loads, environments, and aesthetic preferences.

Overall, friction hinges offer a reliable and versatile solution for controlled movement in numerous applications, such as windows, providing stability, adjustability, and a satisfying user experience.

The differences between stay and friction hinges

Stay hinges and friction hinges are two distinct types of hinge mechanisms with key differences in their design and functionality. Here are the main differences between stay hinges and friction hinges:


Stay Hinges: Stay hinges primarily function as support mechanisms to hold an object, such as a door or window, in a specific position or angle. They are designed to provide stability and prevent the object from swinging or moving freely.

Friction Hinges: Friction hinges, on the other hand, are designed to allow controlled rotation or movement between two parts while providing resistance through friction. They enable smooth and controlled motion and can hold an object at various angles within their range of movement.

Resistance mechanism:

Stay Hinges: Stay hinges typically rely on holes along the metal arm component to hold the pins in fixed positions or predefined angles to allow the window to stay open or closed.

Friction Hinges: Friction hinges incorporate a friction mechanism within the hinge itself. This mechanism generates resistance through the interaction of materials or components, such as nylon sliders or pads, which creates friction when the hinge is moved. The friction can be adjusted to control the amount of resistance and allow the object to stay in any desired position.


Stay Hinges: Stay hinges usually have fixed positions or predefined angles at which the object can stay open or closed.

Friction Hinges: Friction hinges offer adjustability in terms of the amount of friction or resistance provided. By modifying the position or configuration of the friction components, such as adjusting the position of sliders or pads, the level of resistance can be changed. This adjustability allows for a wider range of angles at which the object can be held.

A popular window configuration using friction hinges and window stay:

In summary, stay hinges, otherwise known as window stays, primarily focus on providing support and stability at fixed positions. Friction hinges, on the other hand, offer controlled movement with adjustable resistance, allowing objects to stay in various positions without the need for a metal arm or other hardware.

For more information on wooden casement and sash windows at Parsons Joinery, why not check out our case studies or contact us to chat your requirements through.