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 considering 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 traditionally popular frame styles present many similarities, knowing how they differ can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is the best fit for your house.
What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?
Many people 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 have an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from afar.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of moveable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their needs 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 selection used in newer home design, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows are 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 attached 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 selection for homeowners who want:
- A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
- A traditional, historic look
- A worry-free option for first-floor window replacement or in buildings 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 additional flexibility for homes.
Thanks to tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows accessing the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. On single-hung windows, the lower sash usually moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some situations, 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 cleaning an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While some single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable 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 good choice for rooms that need more air flow. 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 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 walls.
Double-hung windows also offer a unique option to single-hung windows when it comes to window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window requires a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows include a removable upper sash, homeowners can change their window sash without a service call for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a strong option for homes that:
- Have multiple stories
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Have an architectural style that traditionally uses double-hung windows in their look, 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 impact] the final 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 longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be considered.
While some features, such as reduced mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued 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 elements 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 talking with a Pella® professional to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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.