When it’s time for replacing home windows, homeowners consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, it helps 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 present many similarities, knowing how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your house.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window lines 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 a distance.
However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, however, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. As a result, homeowners may find that one window structure 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 option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective option for a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for 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 choice 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 increased flexibility for houses.
Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. With single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can cause problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience can become dangerous 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 scenario. While a few single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows brings much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms seeking more fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, 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 warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique difference to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong option for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with airflow 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.
In the past, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be considered.
While some factors, such as reduced 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 additional 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 taking the job on yourself may seem like a way to save money, consider working 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.