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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 a few. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps 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 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 house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people 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 only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, by comparison, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look almost indentical.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home design, 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 around the country.

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

  • A cost-effective product for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient option for first-floor window replacement or in houses where windows are close to the ground

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The moveable second sash on a double-hung window provides additional flexibility for rooms.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that inconvenience can become precarious 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 dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While a few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable 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 air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, 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 steamy, 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 doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without a service call for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Highlight 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 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.

Historically, 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 extended benefits of choosing 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 convenience of flexible cleaning options and increased 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 doing the job on your own may seem like a save on costs, consider consulting with a Pella® professional to help identify 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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