When it comes to replacing home windows, homeowners take a number of factors into consideration: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before comparing features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.
Among the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles present many similarities, looking at how they are different 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 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 appear the same from a distance.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that refers to the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. Because of that, 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
An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home design, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all over 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 selection for homeowners who want:
- A cost-effective solution 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 creates increased 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, impeding the upper sash. This can create problems when reaching the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that inconvenience can become precarious 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 cleaning 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 brings much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a strong choice for rooms needing improved fresh air. 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 result in increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the 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 dealing with 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 have 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 selection for homes that:
- Have a second story
- 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 ending price tag.
Historically, single-hung windows have had the image of being less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the extended benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.
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 additional safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the elements 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 save on costs, consider working 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 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.