Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows

When you are ready to start replacing home windows, homeowners look at a number of things: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name important ones. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the common 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 have many similarities, understanding how they have different uses 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 people hear “single- or double-hung window” and mix up 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 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 can be opened and closed. Double-hung windows, on the other hand, provide movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window style 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 choice used in newer home construction, apartment buildings and business spaces. Single-hung windows provide both a cost-effective selection when needing a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all around the country.

Since the upper sash is attached on single-hung windows, installing a single-hung window can also make construction work more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who desire:

  • A cost-effective solution for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A convenient 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 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 most often moves only vertically, impeding the upper sash. This can mean problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some cases, that inconvenience can become hazardous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching 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 few single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the moveable second sash on double-hung windows allows much more convenient cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be moved makes double-hung windows a good choice for rooms needing more air flow. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can create issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, 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 dealing with window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have 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 selection for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Have an architectural style that traditionally requires double-hung windows in their designs, such as Colonial, Cape Cod, Craftsman or Victorian homes

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 impact the ending price.

Historically, 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 installing double-hung windows should be taken into consideration.

While some features, such as lower mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be calculated over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the relief of flexible cleaning options and increased safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the factors that can impact just how much you spend on your window replacement:

  • Style
  • Material
  • Features and options
  • Number of windows needed
  • Installation
  • Warranty
  • Location of home

While DIY may seem like a more cost-effective approach, consider working with a Widows For Less to help identify the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only work to determine the right window, but offer the proper know-how to get your new windows installed properly.

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