When it comes to replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important to understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.
Among the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two traditionally popular frame styles present many similarities, understanding how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your needs.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake 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 not the same. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, however, allow 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 timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows bring 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 more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.
Single-hung windows are a great choice for homeowners who desire:
- 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window provides more flexibility for houses.
Thanks to 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 normally moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that inconvenience can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While some single-hung windows include 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 moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms that need more fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean 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 alternative to single-hung windows when it comes to 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 feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without a service call 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
- Have an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 factor 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 determine] the ending price.
In the past, 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 lower mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the ease of flexible cleaning options and additional safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the elements 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 way to save money, consider consulting 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 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.