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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 some. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most frequent 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 are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your needs.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many people 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 include an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types appear the same from the outside.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home design, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective option 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 selection for homeowners who desire:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A stress-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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window provides increased flexibility for homes.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become dangerous 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows allows much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking improved air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good selection for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Feature 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 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.

Frequently, 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 selecting double-hung windows should be considered.

While some factors, such as reduced mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be quantified 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 elements 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 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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