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 considering features, styles and installation requirements, it helps 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 historically popular frame styles have many similarities, knowing how they differ 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 mix up 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 afar.
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 opens and closes. Double-hung windows, however, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look similar.
Some reasons to choose a single-hung window
An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window option used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective option for 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 easier, since there are fewer moving parts.
Single-hung windows are a great option 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 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 additional flexibility for houses.
For example, 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 usually moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience 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 scenario. While a handful of single-hung windows include a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows brings much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.
Allowing for multiple sashes to be adjusted makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms seeking 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 mean 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 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 feature a removable upper sash, homeowners can swap out their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.
For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good option for homes that:
- Have a second story
- Deal with ventilation issues
- Have an architectural style that traditionally requires 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 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 determine] the ultimate cost.
Frequently, 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 installing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.
While some impacts, such as decreased mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be quantified over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.
Here are some of the points 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 consulting with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find 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.