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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.

A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles have many similarities, understanding 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 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 look similar from a distance.

However, the two are different. “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, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look almost indentical.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes throughout 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 desire:

  • 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 additional flexibility for rooms.

For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that difficulty can become dangerous 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 case. While some single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows allows much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking improved air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when dealing with 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 include 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 great option for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 impact] the ultimate cost.

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

While some features, such as lower mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience 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 save on costs, consider working 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 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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