When it comes to 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 helps to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.
Two of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two consistently popular frame styles have many similarities, understanding how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your home.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up these window styles with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both feature an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from the outside.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, offer movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their needs 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 business spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all over the country.
Since the upper sash is attached 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 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 houses where windows are close to the ground
Some reasons to choose a double-hung window
The adjustable second sash on a double-hung window creates additional flexibility for homes.
For example, 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 normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can cause problems when reaching 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 reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different case. While a handful of single-hung windows include 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 moved makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited 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 the two 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 dealing with window maintenance. Since it doesn’t move, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means 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 fresh air issues
- Highlight an architectural style that traditionally uses 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 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 influence] the ending price.
Frequently, 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 installing double-hung windows should be considered.
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 additional safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the factors that can impact 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 choose 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.