When it comes to replacing home windows, homeowners look at a number of things: 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 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 consistently popular frame styles have many similarities, knowing 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 homeowners 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 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, on the other hand, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their needs and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home construction, 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 appealing in homes throughout 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 desire:
- A cost-effective choice 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 unlocked second sash on a double-hung window brings increased flexibility for houses.
Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows cleaning the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash normally moves only vertically, blocking the upper sash. This can cause problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that difficulty can become hazardous 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 case. While some single-hung windows feature a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the free-moving second sash on double-hung windows provides much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms seeking more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, 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 steamy, humid areas and keep moisture out of your room.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when considering 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 feature 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 more than one story
- Deal with airflow issues
- Have an architectural style that traditionally includes 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 tag.
Historically, single-hung windows have proven less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their common use in new home construction. However, the long-term 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 ease 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 DIY may seem like a more cost-effective approach, 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 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.