When you are ready to start replacing home windows, homeowners look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most popular types of windows available for replacement.
A couple of the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles have 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 needs.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people 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 the outside.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash opens and closes. 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 similar.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
A classic style, single-hung windows have been the standard window choice used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be popular with homes throughout 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 desire:
- A cost-effective product for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A convenient 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 creates more flexibility for houses.
For example, tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that difficulty can become hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While a handful of single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms that need improved ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, less ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left unchecked, 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 hot, humid areas and keep moisture out of your house.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it’s immovable, 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 change their window sash without a time-consuming visit for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong choice for homes that:
- Have a second story
- Deal with airflow issues
- Have an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 determine] the ultimate price.
Historically, 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 longtime benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some features, such as reduced mildew levels from greater ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the factors 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 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 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.