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 historically popular frame styles have many similarities, looking at how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your home.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake 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 appear the same from a distance.
However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look almost indentical.
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 are both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes throughout the country.
Since the upper sash is attached on single-hung windows, installing a single-hung window can also make construction work less complicated, since there are fewer moving parts.
Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who want:
- A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A stress-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 provides additional flexibility for houses.
Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that inconvenience can become precarious 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 dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows allows much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can result in 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 room.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good choice for homes that:
- Have more than one story
- Deal with fresh air issues
- Feature an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 impact] the ending price tag.
In the past, 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 long-term benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be considered.
While some features, such as lower mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be quantified 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 elements that can impact 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 more cost-effective approach, 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 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.