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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 you are ready to start replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the common types of windows available for replacement.

A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles present many similarities, looking at how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up these window lines with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both feature an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from a distance.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, however, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

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

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

Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who want:

  • A cost-effective product for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient option for first-floor window replacement or in houses 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 increased flexibility for homes.

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

Being able to reach the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can develop increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening both sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, 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 swap out their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong choice for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Feature an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 influence] the ultimate cost.

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

While some factors, such as decreased mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be quantified 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 impact just how much you spend on your window replacement:

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

While doing the job on your own may seem like a save on costs, consider consulting with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine the right window, but give you 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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