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 consistently popular frame styles have many similarities, looking at 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 mix up these window types with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both include an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types look similar from afar.
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 moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, 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 option used in newer home design, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all over 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 selection for homeowners who desire:
- A cost-effective product for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A stress-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 adjustable second sash on a double-hung window brings more flexibility for rooms.
For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning 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 reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience can become precarious when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While a handful of single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows brings much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms needing improved fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, 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 option to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include 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 strong selection for homes that:
- Have more than one story
- Deal with airflow issues
- Feature an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 are considered when 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 ultimate price.
Historically, 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 longtime benefits of installing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the elements that can impact 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 working 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.