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Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows: Let’s Compare

Single-hung and double-hung windows are two of the most common and timeless window frame types installed. Both have an upper and lower sash which separates the window both physically and visually.

But while they may look identical at a glance, there are a few key differences between single-hung and double-hung windows that impact the functionality and performance of each style.

Read on to explore the 6 essential factors you should consider when choosing between single- and double-hung windows for your Muscle Shoals home.

Living room features double hung windows.

Sash Operation

The most obvious difference between single- and double-hung windows is the number of operable sashes. A single-hung window has one operational sash—the top sash is fixed while the bottom sash can move and tilt inward. Meanwhile, a double-hung window allows both the top and bottom sashes to open and close while also tilting inward. As you will read, this one difference has a ripple-effect on the other factors.

Cost

Single-hung windows are typically the more affordable option of the two styles. This is because single-hung windows have less moving parts so they are easier to manufacture, and consequently, cheaper to install. That percentage difference may seem insignificant now, but the costs can quickly add up if you plan to purchase multiple windows.

However, cost alone isn’t the only factor to base your decision. Double-hung windows may be more expensive at face-value, but you should also consider other factors like performance and convenience. Differences there could help offset the initial higher cost.

Ventilation

Double-hung windows provide better ventilation than single-hung windows because both sashes are able to open. You have the ability to open either the top or bottom, as well as open both panels halfway at the same time to maximize circulation. When you do this, warm air from inside can escape via the top sash while fresh air can enter from outside via the bottom sash. In other words, the versatility of double-hung windows can help you cool down a room faster, giving it a slight advantage over a single-hung.

Energy Efficiency

Single-hung windows are typically more energy-efficient than their two-hung counterpart because they have less moving parts to allow air infiltration—but double-hung windows from Window World of Muscle Shoals are designed to be just as energy efficient. Along with being ENERGY STAR-certified and manufactured with insulated glass and frames, our double-hung windows use weatherstripping to seal air leaks around the top and bottom sashes and prevent exterior drafts and moisture from entering your home.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Double-hung windows are easier to clean than their one-hung rival, leading to their rise in popularity. Both the upper and lower sashes tilt in so you can clean both the interior and exterior from inside your home.

On the other hand, single-hung windows require you to be inside to clean the interior of the window and outside to clean the exterior. The extra effort can turn cleaning day into a time-consuming and bothersome chore.

Common Uses

Since single-hung windows predate double-hung windows, they are more the more common style and often used on historic homes to retain an authentic look. They also are found on first floors or low-to-the-ground homes due to the difficulty it takes to clean both sashes.

Contrastingly, Double-hung windows are most often seen on modern or new homes because they are easier to clean and more versatile in design.

Single-HungDouble-Hung
# of Operable Sashes12
CostTypically less expensiveMore expensive in upfront costs
VentilationMinimal ventilation since only bottom sash can openImproved ventilation since both sashes can open
Energy EfficiencyEnergy-efficient since there are fewer moving partsJust as energy-efficient with weatherstripping and other efficiency features
Maintenance/CleaningDifficult to clean the exterior of the top sash since it does not tilt inEasy to clean with tilt-in upper and lower sashes
Sash FeaturesTop sash is fixed; only bottom sash movesBoth top and bottom sashes move and tilt in
Common UsesPreferred on historic homes, first-floors or low-to-the-ground homesPreferred on modern or newer homes; good way to update older homes

Which Is Better: Double-Hung or Single-Hung Windows?

When it’s time to replace your windows, both single and double-hung windows are good choices for your Alabama home. However, we recommend double-hung windows because they’re energy efficient, more convenient and provide additional fresh air. For these reasons, the double-hung window is our most popular choice!

If you are interested in double-hung windows, consider installing them with Window World of Muscle Shoals. We offer a 2000, 4000 and 6000 series of double-hung windows. This classic style is our most popular window style, likely for its traditional design, energy-efficient features and easy operation and maintenance. Contact us today to request a free estimate or to learn more about any of our double-hung window options.

Written by experts. Inspired by homeowners.

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