When it comes to replacing home windows, homeowners consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important 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 consistently popular frame styles offer many similarities, knowing how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your home.
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 have an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types appear the same from the outside.
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 can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, by comparison, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window structure works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look almost indentical.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for 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 less complicated, since there are fewer moving parts.
Single-hung windows are a great option for homeowners who want:
- 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 creates additional flexibility for homes.
For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that inconvenience can become hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with 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 adjustable second sash on double-hung windows brings much easier 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 air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, 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 steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a great option for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Have 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 cost.
Frequently, 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 extended benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be considered.
While some features, 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 increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the points that can determine 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 save on costs, consider talking with a Pella® professional to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine 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.