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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before considering 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 present many similarities, understanding how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your needs.

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 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 different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, 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 choice used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in 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 are looking for:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A stress-free option for first-floor window replacement or in homes where windows are close to the ground

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The unlocked second sash on a double-hung window brings additional flexibility for houses.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can cause problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that hassle 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 case. While a few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides 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 needing increased ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can lead to 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 steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it is stationary, 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 swap out their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 influence] the final price.

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

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

Here are some of the factors 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 DIY 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 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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