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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 a few. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.

A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two traditionally popular frame styles offer many similarities, knowing how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your home.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up these window styles 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 appear the same from a distance.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, however, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.

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 business spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes all over the country.

Since the upper sash is immovable 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 want:

  • A cost-effective solution 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window brings increased flexibility for rooms.

For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle can become precarious 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 situation. 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 more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms needing more fresh air. 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 hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.

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

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Highlight 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 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.

Historically, 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 choosing double-hung windows should be considered.

While some factors, such as reduced mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be calculated 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 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 DIY 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 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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