Single or double? It’s an easy question when you’re ordering a latte at the corner coffee shop. When you’re ordering new windows, there’s a lot more to think about than the amount of espresso you want in your drink.
Single-hung and double-hung windows are window styles found in the country. Their popularity, longevity and similar look leave many homeowners going back and forth between these two options. As similar as the window types may be, there are distinct differences in the two styles that can guide your decision.
The difference between single-hung and double-hung windows
First, let’s clear up some confusion about the terms. A single-hung window is different than a single pane window. “Hung” is a term that refers to the number of operable sashes, while “pane” describes the number of panes of glass in the window.
Both single-hung and double-hung windows have two sashes — an upper and lower sash — which separates the window both physically and visually. The similar structure means they share many of the same design options, providing a timeless look for homes new and old. From a distance, the two window styles can look exactly the same.
The major difference lies in the upper sash. It’s stationary on single-hung windows whereas it is an operable sash on double-hung windows. That one change leads to a number of differences in the functionality and performance of each style.
| ||Single-Hung Windows ||Double-Hung Windows |
|# of Operable Sashes ||1 ||2 |
|Ease of Operation ||Yes ||Yes |
|Ventilation ||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. |
|Cleaning ||Bottom sash able to tilt in for easy cleaning of the outside of the glass. ||Both sashes able to tilt in for easy cleaning of the exterior of the window. |
|Cost ||↓ ||↑ |
SEE ALSO: Window Replacement Factors That Can Impact Cost
When to choose a single-hung window
Single-hung windows have a classic style that’s been popular with homeowners for centuries. While double-hung windows offer the same look, single-hung windows are sometimes more cost effective. The fixed upper sash means there are less moving parts and a simpler construction, making single-hung windows a more affordable option. If price is a concern, you can consider using single-hung windows for:
Reasons to pick a double-hung window
For many homeowners, that second operable sash is a difference maker. Having two movable sashes just unlocks too many benefits. You may prefer double-hung windows if you have:
- A second story – You can more easily clean and maintain the exterior of double-hung windows.
- Ventilation issues – Double-hung windows are better at circulating air. Opening both sashes for ventilation can help cool hot, humid upstairs. In a bathroom, you can open or crack the upper sash to retain your privacy while helping to reduce moisture during a bath or shower.
- A certain style of home – Many architectural styles used double-hung windows in their designs. If you have a Colonial, Cape Cod, Craftsman or Victorian house, you may want double-hung windows to help complement the look of your home’s era.
Single-hung and double-hung windows are both great choices, as evidenced by all the homes around the country that feature these window styles. The decision comes down to the unique needs of you and your home. Whichever window style you choose, you’ll have a timeless look that fits your home now and in the future.