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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before considering 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 historically popular frame styles present many similarities, understanding how they have different uses 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 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 appear the same from the outside.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “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, by comparison, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window style 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 option used in newer home design, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for 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 more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.

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

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

Features such as 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 usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that difficulty can become precarious when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Being able to reach the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While some single-hung windows include 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 moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms that need improved fresh air. 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 develop increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two 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 difference to single-hung windows when considering 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 feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great option for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Highlight 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 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 impact] the final price.

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

While some factors, such as reduced mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the points 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 doing the job on your own may seem like a save on costs, 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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