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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 important ones. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the common 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 offer many similarities, knowing how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers 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 almost identical from afar.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, however, provide 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 the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes throughout the country.

Since the upper sash is immovable 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 option for homeowners who are looking for:

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

For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can create problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become dangerous 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 situation. While a few single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows brings much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms needing more 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 mean 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 walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without a service call for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with airflow 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 determine] the ending price.

In the past, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their common use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

While some factors, such as decreased mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be calculated 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 elements that can influence just how much you spend on your window replacement:

  • Style
  • Material
  • Features and options
  • Number of windows needed
  • Installation
  • Warranty
  • Location of home

While doing the job on your own may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider consulting 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 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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