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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.

Among the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles present many similarities, understanding how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people 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 have an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types appear the same from a distance.

However, the two are not the same. “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, provide 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 the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes throughout 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 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 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 creates additional flexibility for rooms.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While a handful of single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows brings 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 that need improved air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can result in increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.

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 ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include 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 strong selection for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 are considered when 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 ultimate price tag.

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

While some features, such as lower mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be quantified 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 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 more cost-effective approach, consider working with a Pella® professional to help find the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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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