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 looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it’s important 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 present many similarities, understanding how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your needs.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people 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 have an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types look similar from the outside.
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 moves. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look almost indentical.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes throughout the country.
Since the upper sash is attached 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 selection for homeowners who are looking for:
- A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A stress-free 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window brings additional flexibility for houses.
For example, 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 most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, that hassle can become precarious 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 case. While a handful of single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows allows much easier cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking improved fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can develop 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 room.
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 include a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace 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 a second 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
|# 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 influence] 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 continual use in new home construction. However, the long-term benefits of installing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.
While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and additional 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider working with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine 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.