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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before looking at 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 traditionally popular frame styles offer many similarities, understanding how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up 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 refers to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

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

Since the upper sash is fixed 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 option for homeowners who desire:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient option for first-floor window replacement or in buildings 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 houses.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become precarious when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

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

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need increased air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can result in increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the 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 dealing with window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have 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 good option for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally uses double-hung windows in their look, 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 price.

Historically, single-hung windows have had the image of being 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 acknowledged.

While some impacts, such as lower mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 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 way to save money, consider talking with a Pella® professional to help choose 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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