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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, you should understand the common types of windows available for replacement.

Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles present many similarities, looking at how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse 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 look similar from the outside.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, however, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window style 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

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes throughout the country.

Since the upper sash is attached 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 selection for homeowners who are looking for:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient 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 adjustable second sash on a double-hung window creates increased flexibility for rooms.

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 usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that inconvenience can become precarious when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a handful of single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows brings much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms needing improved fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, 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 room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, 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 swap out their window sash without a service call for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Feature an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 determine] 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 common use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of installing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 save on costs, 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 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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