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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 looking at features, styles and installation requirements, you should 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 consistently popular frame styles offer many similarities, looking at how they have different uses 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 customers 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 include an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types look similar from afar.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look almost indentical.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home design, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all around the country.

Since the upper sash is immovable 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 are looking for:

  • A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A stress-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 reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that difficulty can become precarious when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can develop increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative 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 have 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 good option for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Feature an architectural style that traditionally includes double-hung windows in their style, 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 tag.

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 extended benefits of installing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

While some impacts, 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 convenience of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the points 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 DIY may seem like a save on costs, consider consulting 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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