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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 important ones. But before looking at 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, knowing how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners 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 almost identical from afar.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, by comparison, offer 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 the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in 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 less complicated, 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 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window brings additional flexibility for rooms.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become dangerous 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 dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While some single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows brings much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced 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 the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when considering 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 service call for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great option for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 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 influence] the ultimate cost.

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

While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a save on costs, consider working with a Pella® professional to help find 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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