Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows
A couple 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 a good solution for your home.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse 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 appear the same from a distance.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, by comparison, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, 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
A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows provide 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 attached 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 want:
- A cost-effective product for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A convenient 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 adjustable second sash on a double-hung window provides more 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. With single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can create problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a handful of single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows brings much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking improved fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can result in increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.
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 ends in 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 strong option for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with airflow issues
- Have 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 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 determine] 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 long-term benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some factors, such as lower mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the points 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 working with a Pella® professional to help find the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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.