Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows
Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles have many similarities, looking at how they are different 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 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 the outside.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.
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 provide both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes throughout 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 solution for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A worry-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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window creates more flexibility for houses.
Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become hazardous 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While a few single-hung windows include 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 moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms needing improved air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited 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 both sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.
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 means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong option for homes that:
- Have a second story
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Feature 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|
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 ultimate cost.
Frequently, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be considered.
While some impacts, such as reduced 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 factors that can determine just how much you spend on your window replacement:
- Features and options
- Number of windows needed
- Location of home
While taking the job on yourself may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider talking 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 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.