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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 look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the common 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, looking at how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers 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 different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. 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 classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice 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 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 easier, since there are fewer moving parts.

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

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

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally 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 hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a few single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows allows much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean 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 room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 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 determine] the ultimate price.

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 long-term benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be quantified over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and greater 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 identify 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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