When it’s time for replacing home windows, homeowners consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, you should understand the common types of windows available for replacement.
Among the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles have many similarities, knowing how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your needs.
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 appear the same from afar.
However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, however, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their design 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 builds, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows are both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes all around the country.
Since the upper sash is immovable 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 are looking for:
- A cost-effective solution 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window provides additional flexibility for houses.
Thanks to 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 cases, that difficulty can become dangerous 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 situation. While a handful of single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows brings much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms that need improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, 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 warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when it comes to 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 have 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 good selection for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with fresh air issues
- Highlight an architectural style that traditionally requires double-hung windows in their look, 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 cost.
In the past, single-hung windows have been seen as 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 taken into consideration.
While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be quantified 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 points that can influence just how much you spend on your window replacement:
- Features and options
- Number of windows needed
- Location of home
While doing the job on your own may seem like a save on costs, consider working 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 give you 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.