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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

A couple 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 are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people 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 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 reflects the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home 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 option used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all around the country.

Since the upper sash is attached 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 are looking for:

  • 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window creates increased flexibility for houses.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can mean problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that inconvenience 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 case. While a few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms that need improved ventilation. 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 both 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 option to single-hung windows when dealing with 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 replace their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great selection for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally includes double-hung windows in their designs, 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 go 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 influence] the final price tag.

Frequently, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their common use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of installing double-hung windows should be considered.

While some factors, 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 convenience of flexible cleaning options and increased 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 DIY may seem like a save on costs, consider working with a Pella® professional to help identify 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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