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 historically popular frame styles present many similarities, looking at how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your house.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse 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 appear the same from a distance.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home design, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with 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 easier, since there are fewer moving parts.
Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who are looking for:
- A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A worry-free 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 brings increased flexibility for homes.
For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning 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 mean 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 cleaning 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 moveable second sash on double-hung windows brings much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms that need improved air flow. 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 both 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’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good selection for homes that:
- Have a second story
- Deal with ventilation 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 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 been seen as less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of installing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.
While some features, such as lower 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 greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the points 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 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 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.