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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 looking at features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the most popular 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 present many similarities, looking at how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse these window lines 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 different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. 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 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 office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for 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 more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great choice for homeowners who want:

  • 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window brings more flexibility for homes.

For example, 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, blocking the upper sash. This can create problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that inconvenience can become dangerous 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 situation. While a handful of 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 seeking more fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can result in 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 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 means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include 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 more than one story
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 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 cost.

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

While some features, 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 convenience of flexible cleaning options and additional 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider talking with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine 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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