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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 look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.

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

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window lines 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 different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

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

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A stress-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 brings increased flexibility for homes.

Features such as 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 usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, 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 dealing with 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 moved makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, 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 steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

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 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 strong option for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Highlight 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 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 impact] the ending price tag.

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

While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be quantified over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and additional 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 doing the job on your own may seem like a way to save money, consider consulting with a Pella® professional to help identify 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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