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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 it comes to 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, you should understand the common types of windows available for replacement.

A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles offer many similarities, knowing how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your home.

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 almost identical from afar.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, however, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, 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 office spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with 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 easier, since there are fewer moving parts.

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

  • A cost-effective choice 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window creates more flexibility for houses.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that hassle 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 dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows brings much easier 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 air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, 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 steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great option for homes that:

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have 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 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 final price tag.

Frequently, 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 increased ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the factors 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 working with a Pella® professional to help find the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only pair you with 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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