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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 some. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the most popular 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, knowing 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 homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse these window types 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 reflects the number of operable 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. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home 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 builds, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in 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 choice for homeowners who are looking for:

  • A cost-effective choice 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 adjustable second sash on a double-hung window brings additional flexibility for rooms.

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 usually moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can create problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that difficulty 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 reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable 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 smart choice for rooms needing improved 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 both 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 requires 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 service call for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with fresh air 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 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 ending price tag.

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

While some factors, such as lower 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 greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the factors 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 more cost-effective approach, 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 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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