Double-Hung Vs Single-Hung Windows: Which One Is Better for You?

When it comes to picking out a window style, homeowners are often overwhelmed by the number of available options. Before you can even begin to consider the different shapes and trims, you first need to decide between a double-hung window or a single-hung window.

Double-hung windows and single-hung windows are popular in a variety of home design options and many home styles. While they are considered similar when looking at them from afar, there are several differences that set double-hung windows and single-hung windows apart. To determine the right choice for your home, you must first compare double-hung to single-hung windows and familiarise yourself with these differences.

What Is a Single-Hung Window?

Also known as a single sash window, a single hung window is a type of window that features an operable lower sash and a fixed, upper sash. To put this into perspective, this means that the top part of your single-hung window will remain stationary while the bottom part of the window slides in an upwards or downwards motion. Single-hung windows provide ventilation through the bottom sash.

What Is a Double-Hung Window?

Commonly referred to as double sash windows, double-hung windows are a type of window that features two operable sashes that can slide upwards and downward. Thus, the top sash and the bottom sash are the two main operable parts of a double-hung window. Ventilation-wise, both sashes are open to provide ventilation. When the heat rises, warm air escapes out of the top sash. Cool air flows from the outside inwards through the lower sash opening. This helps provide homeowners with increased comfort and makes double-hung windows an excellent choice for a double-story home.

The Cost Difference Between Double-Hung Windows and Single-Hung Windows

Credit Cards In Jean Pockets

When comparing the cost of these windows within the same product line, one will find that the cost of double-hung windows is typically higher than that of single-hung windows. This is mainly because a double-hung window has more moveable parts, and it costs more to manufacture a double-hung window than a single-hung one.

Another factor that also influences the pricing of these windows is the material used during construction. The most expensive material is wood, which is because it can offer homeowners the most opportunities for customization. Vinyl, however, tends to be the least expensive material, in addition to providing options in regards to maintenance for your homes. The cost of fibreglass meets somewhere in the middle between these other two options.

Six Things to Take into Consideration When Choosing Between Double-Hung or Single-Hung Windows

At Gerry's Roofing, vinyl, fibreglass, and wood are among the available options in terms of material for your single-hung or double-hung windows. Windows made up of wood provide a traditionally authentic look with a historic aesthetic to your home. In comparison, windows made of fibreglass create a timeless look that is also incredibly strong and durable. Lastly, windows made of vinyl offer an energy-efficient, high-quality option for more traditional homes.

#1 Maintenance and Cleaning

squeegee for cleaning windows

Cleaning your windows on a regular basis reaps many benefits. From the inside of your home, cleaning your double-hung or single-hung windows is considered relatively easy. Homeowners can simply spray the glass with a water and vinegar cleaning solution and wipe the window surface clean with a lint-free or microfibre cloth. The window frame, hardware, and surrounding trim should all be wiped down with water.

Usually, tilt functionality is unavailable when it comes to a fibreglass single-hung window. Still, single-hung windows made of vinyl or wood do feature tilt latches—allowing homeowners to quickly clean the exterior of the bottom sash by tilting it inwards toward the interior of your home. While standing on the inside of your home, you can wipe the outside bottom sash of the single-hung window clean. However, to clean the top sash of a single hung window, homeowners are required to wipe it clean from the outside.

When it comes to cleaning double-hung windows, all of them feature a tilt-lash on both the top sash and bottom sash. Thus, you can clean the exterior of your window right from the inside of your home. This is why double-hung windows tend to be popular on the upper level of a double-story home because both sides of the window can be conveniently cleaned from inside your home.

If you don't want to put in the extra effort to keep your single-hung windows clean, then double-hung windows may be the better option for you. Depending on your location, and the seasons, windows require cleaning monthly.

#2 Ventilation

Both double-hung windows and single-hung windows open to provide homes with ample airflow. Although, the biggest difference in ventilation has to do with which sashes open and which ones close.

When it comes to double-hung windows, homeowners can slide open the bottom sash, the top sash, or both to allow airflow into and out of their homes. On the other hand, when it comes to single-hung windows, homeowners can only open the bottom panel to allow airflow. The top sash remains fixed and cannot be opened.

Therefore, you get maximum circulation when both sashes are open in a double-hung window. If you are generally tired of your home constantly feeling stuffy, then double-hung windows may be the better option for you.

#3 Energy Efficiency

Single-hung and double-hung windows are window types that have been engineered with energy efficiency being front and centre of the design. However, it is the different frame materials that are able to offer these energy-efficient windows that additional layer of efficiency.

Fibreglass and vinyl frame material comes equipped with multi-chambered frames, which ultimately help slow down the movement of heat, which means that your home will be kept warm in the wintertime but cool in the summertime.

Double-hung windows and single-hung windows made of fibreglass also come with the optional installation of insulating foam, keeping your home much more comfortable all year round. Wood double-hung windows or wood single-hung windows are natural insulators that increase the efficiency of your home.

Overall, single-hung windows are found to be slightly more efficient. This is because it has fewer moving parts, which reduces the chance of air infiltration. However, both windows are relatively good options when considering energy efficiency.

#4 Installation

Double-hung windows and single-hung windows come with a number of installation types and methods. Better yet, both are able to be used in remodel or replacement projects, as well as in newly constructed homes.

When it comes to window installation, it is important to consider the seal used around your windows. The seal found around your window types is what provides your home with protection against wind and water.

Shimming is required to provide an optimal seal between the frame and weatherstrip.

#5 Size

When comparing single-hung windows to double-hung windows, double-hung windows are available in bigger sizes. Both a single-hung window and a double-hung window come available in a size as small as two feet wide by three feet tall, but only double-hung windows come available in a size as large as six feet wide by 12 feet tall.

A larger window style allows more natural light to seep into your home and increases ventilation. Alternatively, single-hung windows can be installed higher up on your walls for those wanting a cost-efficient option. This will allow homeowners to maintain the same desired aesthetic while still staying within a reasonable price range. This is because they do not include an operable top sash on their single-hung windows, like in the double-hung windows, which it is situated in a very hard-to-reach place.

#6 Security

Mother Baby Holding Hands

As with just about any opening in your home, these are potential entrance points. Therefore, safety is a matter of concern when deciding what is better - a single-hung window or a double-hung window.

Double-hung windows tend to be much less secure if they have not been shut properly. If you don't correctly close these windows, gravity can cause the upper sash to pull down slightly, causing it not to lock completely. This issue, however, isn't significant and can easily be checked by testing that your window is locked after you shut it.

Single-hung windows can also be more dangerous when homes occupy small children. Only the bottom sash of a single-hung window can be opened, but with double-hung windows, homeowners are provided with the option of only opening the top panel and leaving the bottom one closed.

Nevertheless, both window styles can still be as secure as the other, assuming that you follow proper safety measures.

Home Styles That Are Popular with Single-Hung and Double-Hung Windows

Typically, one will find single-hung and double-hung windows in homes that lean more towards the traditional side of things. Single-hung windows are commonly found in historic homes and have become a craftsman home hallmark. At the same time, double-hung windows are found to be more common in homes with a Victorian, colonial, or traditional design or aesthetic.

The reason for the growing popularity of double-hung windows is due to the wider variety of options being manufactured currently. With more choices, the more likely it is that a homeowner is able to find a style that works best for them.

Both types of windows come in vinyl, wood, fibreglass, as well as aluminium frames.

Best Places to Use Single Single-Hung and Double-Hung Windows

Single Hung Window In The Bedroom

As already discussed, single-hung and double-hung windows are fantastic options for many different home styles. Once you know the type of style you are after, you can begin to consider which window style is better for what room. You will also need to consider how easy it is to clean these windows and if you are able to open and close them without obstructions.

If you are in a hard-to-reach space, for example, over the kitchen sink, consider using single-hung windows in this space. The single venting sash makes it way easier to operate. Single-hung windows are also great options in rooms that do not need as much ventilation, such as the bedroom.

Double-hung windows are a perfect option if you have ample room that allows for the reaching of both the upper and lower sash. Because homeowners can tilt the sashes of double-hung windows towards the interior of their homes, they are an excellent fit for rooms on the second or third story or where cleaning from outside is relatively difficult. Double-hung windows can be found in rooms like the bathroom or a family room.

What Is Better - Single-Hung Windows or Double-Hung Windows?

The window styles that are best for your home will depend on various factors - where the window will be installed, your geographical climate, and any accessibility needs you may have.

We have over 40 years of experience when it comes to installing the perfect windows for homeowners. We love talking about windows and can answer any further questions you might have that wasn't answered in this article.

We offer free quotes and will come to your home to check out your unique situation and offer our advice.

Get in contact with us today, and let's see how we can make your new window project a reality!