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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 take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

Among the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles offer many similarities, knowing how they differ 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 mistake these window types 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 the outside.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to 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. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their design 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 construction, apartment buildings and business 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 around 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 want:

  • A cost-effective solution 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window brings additional flexibility for rooms.

For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching 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 reaching 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 reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

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

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include 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 great option for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have 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 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 determine] the ultimate cost.

Frequently, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the long-term benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

While some factors, such as lower mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 elements 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 talking with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only pair you with 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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