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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 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 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 traditionally popular frame styles present many similarities, understanding how they are different 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 customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse 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 afar.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window type 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

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are 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 immovable on single-hung windows, installing a single-hung window can also make construction work more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who are looking for:

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

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a handful of 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 smart choice for rooms needing increased ventilation. 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 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’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out their window sash without a service call for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Feature an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 ending price.

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

While some features, such as reduced mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and additional 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 more cost-effective approach, 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 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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