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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 important ones. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.

Among 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 are different 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 confuse these window lines 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 a distance.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window structure 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 design, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all over the country.

Since the upper sash is fixed 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 product 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window provides additional flexibility for homes.

For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that inconvenience can become precarious when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While some single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows brings 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 increased ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced 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 house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when it comes to 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 have 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 great choice for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 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 determine] the final price.

Frequently, 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 long-term benefits of installing double-hung windows should be considered.

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 ease of flexible cleaning options and greater 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 doing the job on your own may seem like a save on costs, 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 provide you with 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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