When it comes to replacing home windows, homeowners consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before considering features, styles and installation requirements, you should 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 traditionally popular frame styles have many similarities, knowing how they are different 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 mistake these window styles 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 almost identical from the outside.
However, the two are different. “Hung” is a window term that applies to the number of functioning 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. Because of that, homeowners may find that one window style works better for their home 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 option used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and office spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective option for 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 easier, 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 moveable second sash on a double-hung window brings more flexibility for homes.
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 normally moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when washing the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that hassle can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.
Accessing the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but dealing with an upper-level window can be an entirely different situation. While some 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 opened makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms that need increased fresh air. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can develop issues with humidity and moisture. Left alone, that lack of fresh air can develop increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening each of the 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 difference to single-hung windows when dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, 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 replace 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 more than one story
- Deal with fresh air 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 determine] the ultimate price tag.
In the past, single-hung windows have been seen as less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their continual use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of choosing double-hung windows should be acknowledged.
While some impacts, such as lower mildew levels from increased ventilation and architectural style can be valued over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and additional 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 DIY may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider talking 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 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.