When it’s time for replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.
Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles offer many similarities, understanding how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your needs.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people 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 include 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 moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. 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
An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home design, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all over the country.
Since the upper sash is immovable 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 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 cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows allows much safer 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 increased 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 mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening both sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, 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 replace their window sash without a service call for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong selection for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with fresh air issues
- Highlight an architectural style that traditionally includes double-hung windows in their designs, 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 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.
Historically, 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 longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from increased 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 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 working with a Pella® professional to help find the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only pair you with 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.