Which Style of Replacement Window is Right for You - Casement or Double-Hung?

posted on in Global Blogs

Like so many other questions, the answer is, it depends.  Let’s explore the features and benefits of casement and double hung windows.

Amount of Light

 One of the primary purposes of windows are to let light into the home.  Both casement and double-hung windows achieve this goal, but there are differences.  First, casement windows utilize a single sash whereas double-hung windows use two sashes in the same size frame.  As a result, a double hung window will have a check rail where the two sashes meet, typically at the middle of the window.  This not only blocks your view, but also cuts down on the light that will enter the home.  So, if you are looking for more light, casements may be the way to go.


Most people like to open their windows to let the fresh air into their homes.  Double-hung and casement windows both open, but a double-hung window, by design, can only open one half of the total opening because the sashes slide up and down over each other.  On the other hand, the entire sash on the casement window cranks out allowing the window to be opened.  Another benefit of casement windows is that when opened, the sash can catch the wind and redirect it into the home.  That’s why it’s important to hinge casement windows so they can catch the prevailing breeze.  A plus for double hung windows is that either sash can be opened independently of the other.  Many people with pets and small children will lower only the top sash, allowing air in, but protecting the lower part of the screen from claws and small hands.


Modern casements and double-hung windows are easy to open.  Most casements use a crank while most double-hung windows have a sash lift to raise the sash.  Two things for homeowners to consider is the placement of the window and the interior window treatment, such as blinds or shades.  If the window is over a sink or counter, it may be difficult for someone to reach over and lift a double hung sash.  A casement window with an easily accessible crank might be a better option.  Conversely, if you have shades or blinds on the interior of your windows they may hang up on the casement crank and not sit properly.  A double-hung window without a protruding crank may be a better choice.


Modern casement and double-hung windows have cleaning features that make it easy to clean the glass from the interior.  For example, Pella double hung windows pivot into the home at the bottom of both the top and bottom sash.  Likewise, when open, Pella casement windows have enough clearance between the sash and the frame to allow homeowners to clean the exterior glass from the interior. 


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but often the type of window we use is dictated by the architectural style of our home.  Although there are no concrete rules on this, a general consensus is that double-hung windows are more traditional and historic, while casement windows are more modern and contemporary.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t replace double-hung windows with casement windows, or vice versa, you’ll just need to understand how the change will affect the overall look and curb appeal of your home.


Double-hung and casement windows come in many different sizes and configurations, but there are some fundamental differences.  Double-hung windows can typically offer much larger operable windows than casements.  So, if you are trying to fill a large opening and want it to open, a double-hung is probably your best bet.  If you choose casements for the same large opening you might need to put in two casements, adding to the cost and cutting down on visible glass due to the additional frame and sash. 


Another difference between double-hung and casements is how the screens work.  Double-hungs have a screen, either full or half, that sits on the outside of the window, so it will cover the exterior, changing the aesthetics and cutting down on the visible light that enters the home. Out-swing casement windows have a screen that sits on the interior of the window frame.  This screen covers the opening, hides the sash of the window, and cuts down on the visible light that enters the home. 

The good news is that Pella offers a retractable hidden screen on both double-hungs and casements.  The screen is there when you need it, gone when you don’t.  When the screen is retracted more light enters your home, the beauty of your new windows is not hidden behind fiberglass screen cloth, and your screens are protected from dust, pets, and little hands.

A Few Last Things to Consider

Since replacement windows are often going into older homes, homeowners often have to deal with existing conditions and limitations.  For example, if the window you are replacing goes out onto a deck, you may want to use a double-hung because a casement window, when open, would swing out and potentially impede traffic on the deck.

Another issue is egress in bedroom windows.  When replacing windows in a bedroom, homeowners will want to ensure there is as much clear opening as possible in case someone needs to exit the room through the window.  Depending on the shape and size of the opening, one type of window may be the better option over the other.

As you can see, double-hungs and casements have their pros and cons.  In the end, it is a combination of many features and benefits that will decide whether you choose double-hungs or casements for your window replacement project.  Although the decision may seem daunting, our expert consultants will be with you every step of the way.  They will review your needs and offer the best solutions for your home renovation project. Schedule your free in-home consultation here.

Mark Mead

About The Author

Mark is the President of Gunton Corporation, a Pella Window and Door distributor.   He has been in the fenestration industry for more than 28 years.

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