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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 a few. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the common 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, knowing how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your home.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse these window styles 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 only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, however, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring 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 fixed 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 option for homeowners who want:

  • 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window provides increased flexibility for homes.

For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching 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 provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can develop increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two 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 difference to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have 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 selection for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 ending price tag.

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 longtime benefits of installing double-hung windows should be considered.

While some factors, such as decreased 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 greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the points 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 working 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 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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