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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 important ones. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

Among 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 have different uses 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 people 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 include an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from a distance.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that refers to 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, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window structure 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 timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes throughout 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 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 adjustable second sash on a double-hung window provides additional flexibility for rooms.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a handful of single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows allows much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking increased ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can create 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 walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when it comes to 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 feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out 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 multiple stories
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally uses double-hung windows in their look, 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 final cost.

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 taken into consideration.

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

Here are some of the points 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 choose 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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