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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 some. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important 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 consistently popular frame styles present many similarities, knowing how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners 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 include 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 refers to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their needs 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 selection used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all over 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 option for homeowners who are looking for:

  • A cost-effective product 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 provides more flexibility for homes.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can create problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a few single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows allows much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need more ventilation. 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 result in 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 walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good option for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Feature an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 impact] the ending price tag.

In the past, single-hung windows have been seen as less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their common use in new home construction. However, the long-term benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

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

Here are some of the factors that can influence 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 consulting with a Pella® professional to help choose 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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