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Are Double Hung Windows Better Than Single Hung?

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If you find yourself stumped by that question, you’re not alone. Given that the most common window types are single-hung and double-hung we’re all familiar with the look but may not have even known there were two types. From a distance the two styles can look the same.

Both single and double hung windows have two sashes – an upper and lower sash. The term “hung” refers to the number of operable sashes. A single hung therefore has one operable sash and a double hung has two.

The advantage of two operable sashes are many.

Essential DH Tilt StoneWhiteInt. EbonyExt Grillsbtwglass

Cleaning – both windows can be tilted to wash the inside and outside surfaces making it easier to clean. Imagine the benefits of cleaning both sides of your windows from inside the house.

Ventilation – both sashes open to let cool, fresh air in through the bottom and release warm air through the top. This can be especially helpful in bathrooms or other rooms requiring extra ventilation.

Child Safety – the ability to open the upper sash for ventilation gives added safety, particularly on the 2nd floor of your home.

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The benefit of selecting a standard single hung window is predominately cost.

A Standard Choice - Single hung windows have endured as a standard window in new home builds, apartments and business spaces because they’re more cost effective than double-hung.

Cost Savings - If you’re only replacing a single window the cost benefit versus added features is a wash, but it can add up to significant savings when purchasing multiple windows at once. A rule of thumb is that double-hung windows will cost about 20% more than a single-hung window.

Economical Choice – For areas where a top sash would be hard to open. They’re also often selected for replicate historical projects or commercial projects when non-operating windows are preferred.

Limited Cleaning Options – Most single hung windows do not have a tilt feature for cleaning. However, some brands like Marvin Signature (aluminum clad / wood), Essential (Fiberglass) and INFINITY Single Hung windows do have a wash mode feature for easy cleaning. Additionally, Quaker wood windows the Brighten and Classic Fit series single hung sash tilts in for easy cleaning. Obviously, you’ll still need to clean the exterior of the upper inoperable sash, but the convenience of the lower sash wash mode is significant.

The choice is yours - double-hung or single-hung?

The decision to purchase single-hung or double-hung windows depends on your home and budget. If your home and lifestyle are conducive to realize the benefits of double-hung windows – easy cleaning and versatile ventilation options, then they are well worth the extra cost. If on the other hand, the windows don’t need to be opened often, or can’t be easily reached, then single hung windows may be a more economical choice. Remember, if you’re replacing multiple windows you can also split the difference with a combination of both that maximizes their utility, while saving you money. 

See how to operate the Marvin double-hung windows wash mode.

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