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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 comes to replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two traditionally popular frame styles offer many similarities, understanding how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up 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 appear the same from a distance.

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 can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, 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 classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes throughout the country.

Since the upper sash is attached 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 choice for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A stress-free 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 creates additional flexibility for houses.

For example, 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, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that inconvenience can become hazardous 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 situation. 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 opened makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms needing improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two 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’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires 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 great selection for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with airflow 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 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 impact] the ending price.

Frequently, 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 long-term benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be considered.

While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a save on costs, consider talking 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 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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