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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 you are ready to start replacing home windows, homeowners look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. 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 traditionally popular frame styles present many similarities, understanding how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your home.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up these window lines with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both include an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types look similar from a distance.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of functioning 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 needs 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 commercial spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for 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 less complicated, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great option for homeowners who desire:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient 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 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. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that difficulty 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 case. While a handful of single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows allows much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms that need improved air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can lead to 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 warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when dealing with 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 have a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good option 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 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 influence] the final cost.

Historically, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

While some factors, 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 impact 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 more cost-effective approach, consider working 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 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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