Single-Hung vs Double-Hung Windows

Single-hung windows


   PROS
  • Inexpensive and easy to install
  • Energy efficient
  • Safe and secure
 
  CONS
  • Limited number of styles available
  • Difficult to maintain and clean
  • Less versatile for use and ventilation

Double-hung windows


   PROS
  • Many different styles available
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Highly versatile for use and ventilation
 
  CONS
  • More expensive to purchase and install
  • May be less energy efficient
  • May be less secure
$150 - $400

(per window)

VS

$500 - $700

Get free advice and estimates from window installers in your city.


Windows are one of the most frequently renovated and replaced areas of the home. With energy costs on the rise, many homeowners look to replacement windows as a way to help keep heating and cooling costs down, and those in older homes may be looking at traditional-style windows, such as the single- and double-hung varieties.

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a new window, from the style to how easy it is to clean. It’s important to get the right fit for your home based on your particular needs.

A single-hung window is one of the oldest and most popular varieties. The term single-hung refers to the fact that the window has a single sash, or operational panel. A double-hung window is similar in looks to a single-hung, but includes two sashes or operational panels, which can give more versatility.

In the sections below, we’ll cover the biggest differences between them, so you can make a better informed decision.

Installation

Both single- and double-hung windows are available in a wide range of sizes, which can be installed in a retrofit or new installation. In either case, single-hung windows are easier, therefore less expensive to install. This is due in part to the fact that the windows have fewer moving parts; the more moveable areas, the more precise the fit needs to be to ensure that the windows are energy efficient. Single-hung windows have only one moveable sash, so they can be installed faster and may be suitable for DIY installations.

Costs

On the whole, double-hung windows cost more than single-hung when comparing similar sizes, window frame construction, and energy efficiency. In most cases, double-hung windows cost about 75% more than single-hung windows. Average costs for single-hung windows range from $100 to $300 per window, while comparable double-hung windows may range from $400 to $600.

Installation costs are also less for the single-hung window, around $75 to $100 per installation, while double-hung windows cost around $150 - $250 per installation.

Because double-hung windows are available with more options than single-hung windows, this can also drive the costs higher. Other factors affecting the cost include the size of the window, energy efficiency, UV protection, and the material the window frame is made of.

Ventilation

Double-hung windows open from the top and the bottom of the window frame. This means that you have more versatility in how they are used and more options for ventilation. Because single-hung windows open only at the bottom, they offer less ventilation than double-hung.

Energy Efficiency

Any time you have moving parts on a window, you have the possibility for a poor air seal. A poor air seal is responsible for up to 40% of the energy you use to heat and cool your home. This is why most people upgrade their windows – to get energy savings. Double-hung windows may not always seal properly at the top edge, which may contribute to higher energy costs than single-hung windows. However, good-quality, energy-efficient windows can be found in both single- and double-hung varieties, but you may have to pay more for the better quality double-hung window. Most double-hung windows cost up to 75% more than single hung.

Maintenance

Double-hung windows don’t just slide up and down; the different panels also tilt in for easy cleaning. This means you can clean both the interior and exterior of your windows more easily than a single-hung window.

With single-hung windows, it’s customary to clean the exterior by going outside. While this is fine for windows installed on the first floor, windows installed on upper stories may be more difficult to clean. To clean a double-hung window, you simply tilt the frame in toward you, making the exterior of the window accessible so you can wipe it clean.

Style

Both single- and double-hung windows come in a wide range of styles, frames, and designs. Both can be found in aluminum, vinyl  1, fiberglass  2, and wood frames. Some manufacturers offer more styles for double-hung windows as well as more options for window frame materials and trim.

Popularity

The single-hung window is one of the most common types in the US. This is due in part to its longevity. It’s also one of the oldest window styles, and it’s cheaper both to purchase and install. Double-hung windows are gaining in popularity, however, as more window manufacturers offer them in a wider range of styles.

Safety

Both windows are secure when properly installed and maintained. Some double-hung windows may be less secure if not shut properly, as gravity can work on the upper sash, pulling it down slightly in the frame so that it doesn’t lock properly. This can be remedied by always testing the window after locking it to ensure that it is done correctly.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
2 Fiberglass: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric

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