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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’s time for replacing home windows, homeowners consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.

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

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window lines with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both include 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 only similar in looks. “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, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows provide 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 immovable 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 choice for homeowners who are looking for:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A stress-free 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window provides additional flexibility for homes.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can cause problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become precarious 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows allows much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms that need increased air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, that lack of fresh air can mean 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 room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when dealing with 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 replace their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally uses double-hung windows in their designs, 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 go 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 ending price.

In the past, 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 features, such as reduced mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be quantified over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the ease of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the points 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 save on costs, 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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