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 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 house.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse these window types 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 look similar from the outside.
However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that reflects 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. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their home 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 construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are 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 fixed 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 option for homeowners who want:
- A cost-effective product for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A stress-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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window provides 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. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that difficulty can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a few single-hung windows have 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 opened makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms seeking improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can create 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 warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when considering 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 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 more than one story
- Deal with fresh air issues
- Highlight 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 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 cost.
Frequently, 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 acknowledged.
While some features, such as lower mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be calculated 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 elements that can determine 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 consulting 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 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.