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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the common 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, 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 homeowners 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 the outside.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their needs 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 business spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all around the country.

Since the upper sash is fixed 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 are looking for:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient 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 rooms.

Features such as 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 normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that inconvenience 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 case. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows brings 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 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 the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when it comes to 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 feature 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 great choice for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Feature 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 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 cost.

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

While some impacts, 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 ease of flexible cleaning options and greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the elements 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 save on costs, consider working with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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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