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

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

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse these window types 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 appear the same from afar.

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, by comparison, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window type 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

A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office 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 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 selection for homeowners who desire:

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

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The adjustable second sash on a double-hung window brings more flexibility for rooms.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience 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 dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a handful of 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 needing increased air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can lead to 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 warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when dealing with 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 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 strong choice for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 ultimate price.

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

While some features, such as reduced mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be quantified over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the ease of flexible cleaning options and additional 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a way to save money, consider talking with a Pella® professional to help choose 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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