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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 comes to replacing home windows, homeowners look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two traditionally popular frame styles have many similarities, understanding how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your needs.

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 look similar from a distance.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their needs 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 selection used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all over 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 selection for homeowners who are looking for:

  • A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A worry-free option for first-floor window replacement or in homes where windows are close to the ground

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The unlocked second sash on a double-hung window provides more flexibility for rooms.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, 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 reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a few single-hung windows have 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 adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need increased air flow. 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 each of the sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, 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 replace 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 multiple stories
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Feature an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 impact] the final price tag.

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

While some factors, such as decreased mildew levels from improved 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 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 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 give you 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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