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 traditionally popular frame styles present many similarities, understanding how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your home.
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 feature 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 not the same. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home design, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective option 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 more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.
Single-hung windows are a great option for homeowners who desire:
- 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 brings additional 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 most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience 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 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 provides much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms seeking increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening both sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.
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 have a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great choice for homes that:
- Have a second story
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Feature an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 impact] the final price.
Frequently, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the long-term benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some factors, such as reduced mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the elements that can influence just how much you spend on your window replacement:
- Features and options
- Number of windows needed
- Location of home
While DIY may seem like a way to save money, consider talking with a Pella® professional to help identify 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.