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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 some. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to 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 traditionally popular frame styles have many similarities, looking at how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your house.

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 feature an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from the outside.

However, the two are different. “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, however, provide 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 similar.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

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

Since the upper sash is fixed 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 option for homeowners who want:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window brings increased flexibility for homes.

Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become dangerous 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 reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a few single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking improved 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 each of the 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 difference to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it is stationary, 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 replace their window sash without a service call for a glass repair job.

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

  • Have a second story
  • Deal with fresh air issues
  • Highlight 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 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 impact] the ending price.

In the past, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be considered.

While some features, such as lower mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be quantified 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 points 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 consulting with a Pella® professional to help find 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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