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Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows

Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows

When it comes to replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles present many similarities, knowing how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your home.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window styles with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both have an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from the outside.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes throughout the country.

Since the upper sash is attached on single-hung windows, installing a single-hung window can also make construction work less complicated, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great choice for homeowners who desire:

  • A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient option for first-floor window replacement or in homes where windows are close to the ground

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The moveable second sash on a double-hung window provides more flexibility for rooms.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can cause problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a few single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows provides much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms needing increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great option for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally uses double-hung windows in their style, such as Colonial, Cape Cod, Craftsman or Victorian homes

  Single-Hung Windows Double-Hung Windows
# of Operable Sashes 1 2
Cleaning Difficult to clean the exterior of the top sash since it does not tilt in. Tougher to clean for those living on an upper floor. Easier to clean since both windows can be tilted to wash inside and outside surfaces. Both sashes can be cleaned from the inside of the house.
Ventilation Bottom sash can open to let air in. Both sashes can open to let cool, fresh air in through the bottom and release warm air through the top.
Style Similar design options Similar design options
Cost

 
What’s the difference in installation costs?

A number of features and options factor into determining the final cost of replacing your home windows. Everything from the material and added features to your region of the country and style of window can determine] the ultimate cost.

Frequently, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

While some factors, such as lower mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the factors that can influence just how much you spend on your window replacement:

  • Style
  • Material
  • Features and options
  • Number of windows needed
  • Installation
  • Warranty
  • Location of home

While taking the job on yourself may seem like a way to save money, consider working with a Pella® professional to help find the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find the right window, but provide you with the proper know-how to get your new windows installed properly.

Call or stop by your local Pella Windows and Doors showroom or contact us online to set up a free, no-cost, in-home consultation to discuss how you can get started on your window replacement project.

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