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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’s time for replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to 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 have 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 customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up 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 the outside.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

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

Since the upper sash is attached 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 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 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 creates additional flexibility for houses.

For example, 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 cause problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become hazardous 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 scenario. While some single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows provides much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, 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 warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include 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 good choice for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 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 final price.

Frequently, 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 extended benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be considered.

While some features, such as decreased 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 additional 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 more cost-effective approach, consider talking 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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