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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 consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the most popular 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, knowing how they differ 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 homeowners 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 almost identical from afar.

However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. 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 home 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 selection used in newer home design, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all over the country.

Since the upper sash is attached 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 choice for homeowners who desire:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient option for first-floor window replacement or in homes 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 homes.

Features such as 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 normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While some single-hung windows feature 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 moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms needing more ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can develop increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the 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 alternative to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally includes double-hung windows in their look, 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 factor 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 ultimate price.

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

While some factors, such as decreased 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 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a way to save money, consider talking with a Pella® professional to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine 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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