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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 a few. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, you should 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 historically popular frame styles present many similarities, knowing how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your home.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers 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 feature 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 different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to 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. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home 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 option used in newer home design, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all around the country.

Since the upper sash is attached 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 are looking for:

  • A cost-effective product for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A worry-free option for first-floor window replacement or in houses 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 more flexibility for rooms.

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, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can cause 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 reaching 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 brings 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 needing more ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can develop 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 room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means 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 good choice for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Feature 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 impact] the final price tag.

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 longtime benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

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

Here are some of the factors 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 pair you with the right window, but provide you with 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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