When it’s time for replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name some. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to 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 offer many similarities, looking at how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your house.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many homeowners hear “single- or double-hung window” and confuse these window types 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 almost identical from a distance.
However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of functioning window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. Double-hung windows, however, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home design, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all over 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 are looking for:
- A cost-effective product for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A convenient 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 creates increased flexibility for homes.
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 a handful of single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need more fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, that lack of fresh air can develop 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 house.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires 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 great option for homes that:
- Have more than one story
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Feature 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 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 determine] the ending price tag.
Historically, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be considered.
While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the elements that can influence just how much you spend on your window replacement:
- Features and options
- Number of windows needed
- 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 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.