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

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

When it comes to replacing home windows, homeowners consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the common types of windows available for replacement.

A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two traditionally popular frame styles offer many similarities, knowing how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your home.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window types with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both have 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 only similar in looks. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, 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 classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice 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 easier, since there are fewer moving parts.

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

  • A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient option for first-floor window replacement or in homes where windows are close to the ground

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The adjustable second sash on a double-hung window provides more flexibility for homes.

Features such as 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 cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, 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 dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While a few single-hung windows have 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 moved makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms needing more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced 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 each of the 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 alternative to single-hung windows when dealing with 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 swap out their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong choice for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 impact] the ending price tag.

Historically, 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 longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from improved 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 DIY may seem like a more cost-effective approach, 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 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.