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 consistently popular frame styles present many similarities, looking at 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 people 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 include 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 different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in 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 option for homeowners who are looking for:
- A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A worry-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 provides increased flexibility for houses.
For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With 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 homes, that hassle 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While some 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, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can develop 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 it comes to 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 a service call for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great choice for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with airflow issues
- Have 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 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 final price tag.
Frequently, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their common use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be quantified over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the ease of flexible cleaning options and increased 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 save on costs, consider consulting with a Pella® professional to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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.