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

A couple of 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 have different uses 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 types 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 almost identical from afar.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, 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

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home builds, 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 all over the country.

Since the upper sash is immovable 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 choice for homeowners who desire:

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

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing 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 create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a few single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable 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 good choice for rooms seeking increased ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, 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 steamy, 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 doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means 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 the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with airflow issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally requires double-hung windows in their designs, 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 factor 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 influence] the final price tag.

In the past, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

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

Here are some of the factors 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 doing the job on your own may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider consulting 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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