Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows
Among 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 differ 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 have an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from a distance.
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, on the other hand, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, 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
A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all around the country.
Since the upper sash is attached 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 choice for homeowners who are looking for:
- A cost-effective product for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A worry-free 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 creates increased flexibility for houses.
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 normally moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, 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 dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows allows 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 needing improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, 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 warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, 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 uses 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|
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 influence] the ending price.
Historically, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be considered.
While some impacts, 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 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 consulting with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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.