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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles offer many similarities, looking at how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers 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 feature an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types look similar from afar.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of functioning 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 style works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are 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 more convenient, 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 buildings where windows are close to the ground

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The unlocked second sash on a double-hung window provides more flexibility for houses.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle can become precarious 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a handful of single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms needing more fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, that lack of fresh air can result in 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 requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have a removable upper sash, homeowners can change 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 a second story
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Feature 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 factor 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 influence] the ultimate price.

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

While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from increased 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 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 DIY may seem like a save on costs, consider consulting with a Pella® professional to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only pair you with 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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