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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 comparing features, styles and installation requirements, you should 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 traditionally popular frame styles have many similarities, understanding how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your home.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up 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 look similar from a distance.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their home 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 option used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes throughout 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 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 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 brings increased flexibility for rooms.

Features such as 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 normally moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can create problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, 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 reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking increased air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean 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 room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without a time-consuming visit 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
  • 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 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 influence] the ultimate price tag.

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

While some factors, such as decreased mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 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 working with a Pella® professional to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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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