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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 considering features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the common 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 have many similarities, understanding how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up these window lines 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 look similar from afar.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. 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 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 choice used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in 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 easier, since there are fewer moving parts.

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

  • A cost-effective product 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 additional flexibility for homes.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that hassle can become hazardous 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a handful of single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows brings much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms needing increased air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, 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 walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when it comes to 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 have a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out their window sash without a time-consuming visit 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
  • Feature an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 influence] the final cost.

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

While some features, such as lower mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and additional 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 DIY may seem like a way to save money, consider talking 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 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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