When you are ready to start 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.
A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two traditionally popular frame styles have many similarities, looking at how they are different can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is right for your house.
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 feature 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 applies to the number of operable 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. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their home and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
A timeless style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home design, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be chosen for homes all around 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 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window creates more flexibility for houses.
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 most often moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can cause problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that hassle can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Being able to reach the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While some single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows brings much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms that need more ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, limited ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off steamy, 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 means a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can change 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 more than one story
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Feature 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 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 ultimate price tag.
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 selecting double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some features, such as decreased mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 impact 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 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 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.