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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 look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before considering 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 historically 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 house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people 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 look similar from afar.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, 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 almost indentical.

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 selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes throughout the country.

Since the upper sash is immovable on single-hung windows, installing a single-hung window can also make construction work more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.

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

  • A cost-effective product for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A worry-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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window creates 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. With single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become dangerous 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 scenario. While a handful of single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

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 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 great option for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 are considered when 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 final price.

Frequently, 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 selecting double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

While some factors, such as lower mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be calculated 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 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider talking 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 give you 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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