Blog
Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows

Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows

When you are ready to start 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, you should understand the most frequent 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, knowing how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your house.

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 almost identical from afar.

However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of operable 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 structure 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 builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with 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 more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great choice for homeowners who desire:

  • A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A worry-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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window provides increased flexibility for houses.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that hassle can become precarious 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 provides much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms that need improved fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can result in increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have 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 strong selection for homes that:

  • Have multiple stories
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally requires double-hung windows in their style, 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
Cost

 
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 influence] the final price.

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 long-term benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be considered.

While some factors, such as decreased mildew levels from increased 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 factors that can influence just how much you spend on your window replacement:

  • Style
  • Material
  • Features and options
  • Number of windows needed
  • Installation
  • Warranty
  • Location of home

While doing the job on your own may seem like a more cost-effective approach, 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 offer 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.

Back to Blog
Live Chat
I can help with your window or door replacement questions.