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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 look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before considering 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 consistently 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 confuse 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 only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look almost indentical.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes all around the country.

Since the upper sash is fixed 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 selection 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 houses 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 increased 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 most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become precarious when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms seeking more ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, 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 hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it is stationary, 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 replace their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 determine] the final cost.

In the past, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

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

Here are some of the factors 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 save on costs, consider talking with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only pair you with the right window, but offer 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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