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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 look at a number of things: 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.

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

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 feature an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types appear the same from the outside.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window type 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 classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home construction, 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 over 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 choice for homeowners who want:

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

Features such as 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, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While a few single-hung windows feature 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 opened makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms that need increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, 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 it comes to window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 influence] the final cost.

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

While some impacts, 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 ease of flexible cleaning options and additional safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the elements that can determine 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 more cost-effective approach, consider consulting with a Pella® professional to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine 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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