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 consistently popular frame styles offer 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 customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up these window styles 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 look similar from afar.
However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home design, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all around the country.
Since the upper sash is fixed 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 choice for homeowners who desire:
- A cost-effective solution 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window brings additional flexibility for rooms.
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 usually moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can create problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle can become dangerous 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 reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows brings 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 needing increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, 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 steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when dealing with 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 include 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 great choice for homes that:
- Have a second story
- Deal with airflow issues
- Highlight an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 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 cost.
Frequently, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their common use in new home construction. However, the long-term benefits of installing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
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 points that can determine 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 save on costs, consider talking 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 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.