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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important 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 have many similarities, looking at how they are different 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 mix up these window lines 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 appear the same from a distance.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window style 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 choice used in newer home design, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows bring 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 attached 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 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 unlocked 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. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle can become hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Being able to reach the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a few single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows allows much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

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

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature 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 great selection for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with ventilation 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 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 price tag.

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

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

Here are some of the elements that can determine 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 way to save money, consider talking 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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