One of the most important decisions you can make when you’re choosing replacement windows is the style of window you want. Some styles work better than others in certain applications or for specific areas. (Keep in mind that you do not have to choose the same style for your entire home.)
The most popular window style in America is the traditional double-hung window. It first gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1800s, although there is evidence it was in use as far back as the mid 1650s. In other parts of the world, double-hung windows show up in medieval buildings.
The double-hung window was an improvement on the single-hung window, and they look identical. The only difference is with the single-hung window only one sash (usually the bottom section) is moveable; the other section remains fixed. With a double-hung window, you can either slide the window open from the top or bottom, or you can slide both sections open at the same time.
So you might wonder why single-hung windows are even manufactured anymore. Are there times when that style window might be a better choice? Let’s compare them.
Price: When your bottom line is price, single-hung windows will always be a better choice. They are less expensive than a comparable double-hung window. We find that often owners of older or historic homes that currently have only single-hung windows will choose newer windows of the same style. They’re used to how they function, and the price difference makes it worth it to settle for less functionality. But be warned – double hung windows can cost up to 75% more than single-hung windows.
And if that window is being put in an area where it doesn’t matter how much you can open it, then a single-hung makes good financial sense. If all you’re after is the amount of light let in, then single hung windows have the advantage just because of the price; they let in the same amount of light as a double-hung window of the same size.
Ventilation: If maximizing air flow is a priority, then you should choose a double-hung window rather than a single-hung. You can open both bottom and top sashes so they overlap, letting in air at both the top and the bottom. In fact, this is a good safety tip for those who have small children or pets. Being able to open a window from the top only to let in air means the bottom sash can stay closed, providing an effective barrier to keep those little ones inside.
Double-hung windows are also a better choice for moist areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, where ventilation is key to keeping mold at bay.
Ease of Cleaning: Here’s another element where double-hung windows win out over single-hungs. Most double-hung windows on the market today have sashes (the top and bottom sections) that tilt in for ease of cleaning from inside your house. Since the top sash of a single-hung window is fixed, that can’t be done, and the exterior of that part of the window can only be cleaned from the outside. This might be a problem for windows on a second floor, because you’ll need a high ladder (or a professional window cleaning company).
Ease of cleaning is the #1 reason most homeowners who choose double-hung windows go for those as opposed to single-hung windows. The initial extra cost is more than made up for when thinking about the years of hassle of having to clean those windows inside and then go outside and do the same thing.
Is one style of window better than the other? No. The best window for a home depends on a number of factors. As a company that specializes in energy-efficient windows for Twin Cities homeowners, we can help you choose the window style or styles that’s right for you and your home. We offer free, no-obligation consultations in your home as well as our Savage showroom. Why not contact us today to get the conversation going?