When you are ready to start replacing home windows, homeowners look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.
A couple of 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 are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your needs.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many homeowners 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 look similar from the outside.
However, the two are only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, by comparison, provide 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
A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home design, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes all around 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 choice for homeowners who are looking for:
- A cost-effective product 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window brings more flexibility for houses.
For example, 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 difficulty can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with 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 free-moving second sash on double-hung windows brings much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, 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 hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good option for homes that:
- Have more than one story
- Deal with fresh air issues
- Highlight an architectural style that traditionally includes double-hung windows in their look, such as Colonial, Cape Cod, Craftsman or Victorian homes
|# of Operable Sashes
||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.
||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.
||Similar design options
||Similar design options
What’s the difference in installation costs?
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 influence] 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 extended benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be considered.
While some impacts, such as lower mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 factors that can determine 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 talking 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 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.