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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 a few. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important 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 traditionally popular frame styles have many similarities, understanding how they have different uses 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 mix up these window types 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 appear the same from the outside.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. 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 needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.

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 provide both a cost-effective choice for 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 less complicated, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who want:

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

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 most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can create problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but cleaning 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 more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms needing more ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, 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 option to single-hung windows when considering 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 have a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 impact] the ending 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 longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be considered.

While some features, 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 relief of flexible cleaning options and increased 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 DIY may seem like a way to save money, consider working with a Pella® professional to help find the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine the right window, but offer 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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