Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows

Here’s a little bit of terminology that is often misunderstood.  What are the differences between single hung vs double hung windows?  Here we’ll take a look at the basic definition and we’ll look at some of the other advantages and disadvantages including the cost, the operation, the screens, how they function and the typical price.

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First things first!  The basic definition:

Both single hung and double hung windows open up and down.  The difference is that in a single hung window the bottom sash opens up and down, but the top does not move.

In a double hung window the bottom sash slides up and down AND the top sash also opens and closes.

Perhaps this picture will help:

single hung vs double hung windows
Here is the difference between a single hung and a double hung window.

So there it is, the difference is in how the window operates.  People often confuse double hung with double pane.  For the difference between double pane and triple pane windows check this out.

Ok, so how important is this difference?

Well, that’s really up to you.  One important thing to keep in mind is that a single hung window does not allow the top sash to tilt in for easy cleaning.  That means the bottom will tilt in, but the top will not.  Is that a big deal?  Only you can decide.

Beyond that many people don’t open the top very often so the difference is not important to them.  We open the top quite a bit in my house as the window dog is a redbone coonhound from the hills of West Virginia and he would go straight through a screen if he saw a varmint in the yard.  For us it is very important that the top opens, but you may have different priorities.

What is the price difference between single hung vs double hung windows?

This is a question we get asked a lot.  The difference typically isn’t huge, but it can add up.  The two windows are essentially the same with the single hung having less hardware.  The cost difference between the two will depend on the manufacturer, but it wouldn’t be uncommon to see a price difference of $20-$40 per window.

If you have 20 windows in your house that amount can add up.  We’ll often suggest switching to single hung windows as a way to save a few bucks, but it really just depends on how you plan on using them.

We hope that helps, for more detailed info on the greatest replacement windows check out these reviews.  If there is anything you’re looking for that you can’t find just post a comment or send us an email.  We read every single one and we do our best to respond!

 

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5 thoughts on “Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows”

  1. We had replacement windows installed by Window World.
    They were expensive, so we expected them to be very
    good quality. The install went ok…….we paid the over $4,000.
    price, …..and then, found the windows to be sub-standard
    quality. Had to call several times to get them repaired. they are double-hung windows, and the top sash would drop just a little, and that prevented the windows from locking because the latches did not meet up right. Had the repairmen out a couple of times. Was assured they were fixed, but still would have problems with them. Spring latches on the screens missing, and problems with the latches preventing locking. With spring coming on, we’ll have to call them back again. My estimation of the windows from Window World is that they are too expensive for the quality .

    1. Having the same problem with top sash (different manufacturer). Were you able to tighten or firm up the top sash somehow to prevent the slipping, yet maintain the “benefit” of having double hung windows?

  2. Thank you for explaining how double windows work and how they can open up or down. I can see that making sure you understand this and plan ahead can help you make sure you get the best system for your structure. It is important to remember to do your homework and consult with several professionals and stopped in order to get the best quality for the best prices.

  3. The salesman from American Windows is discouraging us from buying double hung windows due to the probability they will be hard to close when the top “slips” a big, requiring holding up the top half while locking them. Your opinion about this is….?

    1. That may say something about the windows he’s offering, but it doesn’t say anything about double hung windows in general. For remodeling projects double hung windows are significantly more popular than single hung. I have seen a balance mechanism fail and allow the top sash to slip down, but I’ve been around for a while now and I’ve seen lots of things fail. I wouldn’t hesitate to order double hung windows in general. If he thinks the model he’s offering won’t stay shut I’d probably look for another model.

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