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Double-Hung vs. Single-Hung Windows

May 15th, 2024 | 6 min. read

Double-Hung vs. Single-Hung Windows

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Single-hung and double-hung windows look almost exactly alike, with one key difference: in a double-hung window, the upper sash is movable; while in a single-hung, it's fixed.

So how do you know which one is right for you? 

That's the question we'll answer in this article.

Read on to learn what makes each of these window types unique.

Table of Contents

Single-Hung vs Double-Hung Windows: Comparison Table

Feature Single-Hung Windows Double-Hung Windows
Design One fixed sash (top), one movable sash (bottom) Two movable sashes (both top and bottom can be opened)
Ventilation Limited to lower sash opening Enhanced by opening both upper and lower sashes
Cleaning More challenging, especially on higher floors Easier, as both sashes can tilt inward for easy cleaning
Cost Generally less expensive More expensive 
Energy Efficiency Potentially higher due to fewer moving parts Potentially lower (slightly) due to more moving parts
Safety and Security Comparable levels of safety and security Comparable levels of safety and security
Practical Application Suited for budget projects or where less ventilation is needed Ideal for homes requiring more ventilation and easy maintenance

 

What Are Single-Hung Windows?

signature-ultimate-single-hung-g2-2-aht-hensen_v3

Single-hung windows, a classic choice in many homes, consist of two vertical sashes; the top sash is fixed and does not move, while the bottom sash can be raised or lowered to open the window. This design simplicity lends itself to a few key benefits as well as some limitations.

Pros:

  • Cost-Effective: Generally less expensive than double-hung windows, making them a budget-friendly option.
  • Energy Efficiency: With only one movable sash, these windows may provide slightly better insulation against air leaks.
  • Aesthetically Traditional: Often chosen for traditional home designs due to their classic appearance.
  • Less Maintenance: The simple mechanism involves less upkeep and fewer repairs compared to more complex window types.

Cons:

  • Limited Airflow: Only the bottom sash opens, which restricts the amount of air that can flow through the window.
  • Harder to Clean: Cleaning the outside of the fixed upper sash can be tough, especially on upper floors, as you can't do it from inside.

What Are Double-Hung Windows?

Endure Double Hung Windows - Dining Room - Internal Grids

Double hung windows look just like single-hung windows, but they two two movable sashes instead of one. 

Pros:

  • Improved Airflow: Both sashes can be opened, allowing for better airflow and natural cooling.
  • Easy to Clean: Both sashes have a special mechanism that allows them to tilt inward, so you can easily clean the outside from inside your home. This is especially beneficial for windows on upper floors.
  • Improved Safety: With the option to open just the top sash, they are safer for homes with children and pets.

Cons:

  • Higher Cost: Generally more expensive than single-hung windows due to the complexity of their design.
  • Potential for Air Leaks: Over time, the seals of both sashes may wear out faster, potentially leading to increased air infiltration.
  • Heavier: Double-hung windows are often heavier than single-hung, which can make installation more challenging.

Choosing Between Single-Hung and Double-Hung Windows

When it comes time to select new windows for your home, the choice between single-hung and double-hung windows can hinge on several factors. Here's how to weigh the options based on your specific needs, home style, and budget.

1. Consider Your Needs for Ventilation

If you need ample airflow, particularly in areas like the kitchen or bathroom where moisture and odors are more prevalent, double-hung windows might be the better choice. Conversely, if ventilation is lower on your priority list, the simplicity of single-hung windows might serve you well.

2. Think About Cleaning and Maintenance

For homeowners who dread the chore of window cleaning, especially those with multiple stories, double-hung windows have a practical advantage. Being able to tilt both sashes inward allows for easier cleaning from inside your home, eliminating the need for ladders or hiring outside help. However, if your windows are easily accessible and maintenance budgets are tight, the durable and less complex single-hung windows could be more appealing.

3. Assess Your Budget

Budget constraints are often a decisive factor. Single-hung windows are typically less expensive not only in terms of initial costs but also for potential long-term maintenance. This cost-effectiveness can be particularly advantageous for large projects involving multiple windows. However, if your budget allows, the benefits of double-hung windows, including their flexibility and potential resale value boost, might justify the higher upfront investment.

4. Evaluate Safety and Security

Safety can also play a role, especially in households with young children and pets. Double-hung windows that allow the upper sash to be opened while the lower sash remains closed can provide extra security and safety against falls.

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