Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows
A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles present many similarities, understanding how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your needs.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window styles 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 afar.
However, the two are only similar in looks. “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, by comparison, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.
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 office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in 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 choice for homeowners who are looking for:
- A cost-effective choice 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 brings additional flexibility for homes.
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 usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Accessing 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 feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows provides much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms needing increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, that lack of fresh air can result in increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off hot, 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 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 swap out their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great choice for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Have an architectural style that traditionally requires double-hung windows in their designs, 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 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 ending price tag.
Frequently, single-hung windows have been seen as less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the long-term benefits of installing double-hung windows should be considered.
While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 points that can influence 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 working 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 offer 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.