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Double Hung vs. Single Hung Windows: Pros, Cons, & Differences

Double Hung Windows vs Single Hung Windows

Whether you’re replacing the windows on a current house or building a house from scratch, you’re going to have to decide on your window design. You’ll likely be surprised by the vast number of windows available out there. You have to choose from countless designs, not to mention materials and other features.

Double-hung and single-hung windows are some of the most popular options out there. In this article, we’ll take a look at both options to help you choose between them. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about these windows.

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Overview of Double Hung Windows:

Double-hung windows have a bottom and top sash that can be moved. Therefore, you can move them towards the middle of the window to open up both the top and the bottom (as opposed to just the bottom on a single hung window).

This small design difference leads to quite a few differences in functionality.

double hung windows
Image Credit: tokar, Shutterstock

Ventilation

Because you can open just the top of the window if you want, double-hung windows allow you to maximize air circulation in your home without having the air blow on you directly. On windy days, opening just the top allows airflow without blowing a bunch of stuff around inside (since the wind will be hitting the ceiling).

Similarly, because you can open more of the window, there is simply more airflow overall as well. Plus, airflow is optimized because these windows allow air to enter and leave the home simultaneously.

Cost

With that said, double-hung windows have a few extra moving parts, so they generally cost more. For this reason, many people may choose to purchase the cheaper, single-hung windows, even though double-hung windows are technically more functional.

Maintenance

Double-hung windows usually come with tilt sashes, which makes the interior and exterior of the glass much easier to clean. Of course, this feature is particularly vital for second and third-floor windows, when trying to clean the window’s exterior would be more dangerous otherwise.

Pros
  • More ventilation
  • Easier maintenance
Cons
  • More expensive

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Overview of Single Hung Windows

Single-hung windows have a fixed top sash that cannot move. However, the bottom sash moves vertically. Therefore, they have a low level of operability when compared to double sash windows. They just can’t do quite as much.

single hung window
Image Credit: Jason Finn, Shutterstock

Ventilation

Of course, you can open single hung windows. However, these windows only have one opening on the bottom. Therefore, you’re far more limited in the ventilation you can bring to your home. Generally, you’ll need to open more than one window to create airflow in your home, as air can only come in or out of a single hung window. (Unlike a double-hung window, which allows both at the same time.)

For this reason, ventilation is often less with single hung windows.

Furthermore, these windows can cause strong winds to blow stuff around inside your home. They only have an opening at the bottom of the window, so the airflow will only come in at ground level.

Cost

Because these windows have fewer moving parts, these windows are typically much cheaper than others. If you’re looking for a budget option, single-hung windows are often the recommended design, as they tend to be cheaper than all others.

Maintenance

Single-hung windows are a bit more difficult to maintain, especially if you’re on an upper floor. The sashes typically do not tilt. Therefore, you have to go on the outside to clean the exterior portion of the window.

If you’re on the first floor, this isn’t too much of a problem; you can just walk outside and clean it. However, if you’re on an upper floor, then you’ll have to climb on the roof to clean the window. Obviously, this can be dangerous and is simply a lot more difficult than a double-hung window.

Pros
  • Cheaper
Cons
  • Harder maintenance
  • Less ventilation

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Are Single or Double Hung Windows More Expensive?

Typically, single-hung windows are cheaper than double-hung windows of the same size. Of course, there are a lot of other factors that go into a window’s price as well. For instance, some windows are designed to be extra energy-efficient and often cost more.

Energy-efficient single-hung windows may be more expensive than your average double-hung window.

However, comparable double-hung windows will typically always be more expensive.

wooden window frame
Image Credit: Piqsels

What Is the Advantage of Double Hung Windows?

Double-hung windows do have a few advantages. Firstly, they provide extra ventilation. You only have to open one window to have some sort of a breeze throughout your home since each window is designed to have two openings.

Furthermore, these windows are much easier to clean, as they often tilt inwards. Therefore, you can easily reach the exterior of each window without actually going outside. While this may not be a huge deal on the first floor, it can be a significant boon on the upper levels, where you would have to climb out onto the roof otherwise.

Furthermore, these windows can easily be fitted with air conditioners and screens, as they are designed specifically to slide up and down. This feature puts the ahead of windows that are designed to crank out or slide to the side.

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Conclusion

Overall, double-hung windows have more benefits than single-hung windows. You can get more ventilation within your home with double-hung windows, and they are also much easier to clean. Because both sashes move, they often tilt inwards for easy cleaning.

However, with that said, double-hung windows are far more expensive than single-hung windows. While there are other factors at play, you’ll almost always find single-hung windows for cheaper.

Therefore, it largely depends on what you’re looking for. Some people don’t find the extra ventilation and ease of maintenance worth the extra cost, especially if you already have single hung windows in your home. This decision is something that each person will need to make.

See Also:


Featured Image Credit: Left: double hung window: tokar, Shutterstock | Right: Single hung window: Jason Finn, Shutterstock

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