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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 important ones. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps 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 present many similarities, looking at 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 mistake 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 appear the same from afar.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window style 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 timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all over the country.

Since the upper sash is immovable on single-hung windows, installing a single-hung window can also make construction work less complicated, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great option for homeowners who desire:

  • 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window brings increased flexibility for rooms.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become dangerous 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 situation. While a handful of single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows provides much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms needing more ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can develop increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, 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 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 multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 final price.

Frequently, 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 choosing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the points 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 more cost-effective approach, consider working with a Pella® professional to help find 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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