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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 look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.

Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles offer many similarities, understanding 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 homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window lines 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 almost identical from afar.

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, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes throughout the country.

Since the upper sash is immovable 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 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 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 brings additional flexibility for homes.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can cause problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that inconvenience can become precarious 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 handful of single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable 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 that need more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can develop 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 steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when it comes to 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 have a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong choice for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally uses double-hung windows in their look, 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 ending price tag.

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

While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience 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 way to save money, 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 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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