Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows
A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles have 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 styles 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 applies 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. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window style 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 construction, 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 more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.
Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who want:
- A cost-effective product 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 more 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 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 few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable 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 that need more ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two 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 alternative to single-hung windows when considering 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 time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great choice for homes that:
- Have more than one story
- Deal with fresh air issues
- Have 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|
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 final cost.
Historically, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of installing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.
While some features, such as decreased mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and greater 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:
- Features and options
- Number of windows needed
- Location of home
While doing the job on your own may seem like a way to save money, consider working 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.