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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 take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the common types of windows available for replacement.

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

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse 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 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. Because of that, 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

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all around the country.

Since the upper sash is attached 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 option for homeowners who are looking for:

  • A cost-effective solution 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 adjustable second sash on a double-hung window creates additional flexibility for houses.

For example, 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 usually moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience can become dangerous 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 have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows brings much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

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

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • 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 final cost.

In the past, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of installing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

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

Here are some of the elements 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 doing the job on your own may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider working with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only pair you with 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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