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Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows: Difference and Benefits

Whether you’re planning to sell your home or you just want to boost its value, it’s hard to go wrong with new windows. Replacing these classic features is a tried-and-tested way to ramp up your curb appeal fast, all while enjoying an ROI of up to 69%!

Of course, the details depend on the material, quality, and type of window you choose. That’s why the choice between single-hung vs. double-hung windows can be so crucial: the right window can enhance your home’s comfort, beauty, and functionality.

If you don’t know much about the differences between these options – or even how to tell them apart – we’ve got you covered! Let’s delve into the biggest differences between these common window styles.

Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows

First things first: what are the differences between these window types? Here’s a quick overview.

Single-Hung Windows

Single-hung windows have two sashes. The top sash is fixed in place, and the bottom sash slides up and down. All ventilation comes through the bottom sash.

Depending on how you look at it, that simplicity is a perk, not a drawback! It makes these windows a timeless and affordable choice for any homeowner.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows, on the other hand, have twomovable sashes. (This is why you might hear them called “double- sash windows.”)

These sashes are easy to operate independently of each other, allowing you to slide one or both up along the track. This makes them versatile, giving you full control over your home’s airflow. Ventilation comes through the top and bottom sash.

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Some double-hung windows even allow you to tilt one or both sashes. You’ll do this via a tilt lash or button on the side of the window.

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For many homeowners, one of the most important factors when considering a window is its impact on their home’s ventilation. Let’s dig into the main differences in terms of airflow.

Single-Hung Windows

As we’ve noted, both single-hung and double-hung windows provide great ventilation.

However, the design of a single-hung window limits airflow when compared to double-hung windows. Because only one sash is movable, less fresh air can enter the room.

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In addition, the fixed upper sash of single-hung windows reduces the total possible size of any opening. This further limits the airflow you’ll get.

Double-Hung Windows

It’s no secret that double-hung windows are the superior choice for ventilation. Your ability to move both sashes makes it easier to regulate air circulation, which can enhance your home’s comfort.

This versatility also helps you adapt to changing conditions, whether you want to make the most of a fall breeze or boost your airflow on a warm summer day. This works because double-hung windows make it easy to adjust your home’s temperature.

When you lower the top sash, you allow any heat that has risen toward your home’s ceiling to escape outside. When you raise the bottom sash, cool air from outside can flow indoors.

This cross-ventilation also helps remove stale air from your home, bringing in fresh outdoor air.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Keeping windows well-maintained is crucial for their appearance and functionality. It can even increase their lifespan!

Though the cleaning process ( is similar for both of these options, the techniques you’ll need and the ease of maintenance are not.

Single-Hung Windows

Because only the lower sash of a single-hung window can slide up and down, you may find them more of a challenge to clean.

Cleaning the inside of these windows is straightforward, but exterior cleaning can be tricky for multi-story homes. You may need a ladder to reach the outdoor panes, or you may even prefer to hire a professional window cleaner!

Fortunately, maintenance for single-hung windows is a breeze. Because these options have few moving parts, they need less maintenance. You’ll still want to inspect the frames often and fix issues like air leaks or moisture intrusion as soon as they appear.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows that don’t tilt have the same cleaning considerations as a single-hung window.

However, if you have the convenience of tilting both sashes inward, you’ll be able to clean your windows from inside without setting foot on a ladder! This can make cleaning easier and safer.

Window maintenance can be a little trickier with double-hung options, especially if the sash tilts. These windows have more moving parts, including multiple tracks, tilt pins, sash locks, and other hardware. It’s crucial to maintain these windows by lubricating parts and inspecting all components as often as the manufacturer recommends.

Energy Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heat gain and heat loss through windows is responsible for a whopping 25-30% ( of home heating and cooling use. Upgrading to more energy-efficient windows can help minimize this number, but only if you choose the right option!

The energy efficiency of both single-hung and double-hung windows will vary based on the type and quality of the insulation. Better sealing points, compression seals, weather stripping, and interlocking sashes will always reduce the risk of air leakage, regardless of the type of window you choose. Materials like vinyl may offer even better energy efficiency.

However, single-hung windows can sometimes have a slight edge over double-hung windows. Because these windows have fewer moving parts, the risk of air infiltration will often be lower for a well-maintained single-hung window.

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Proper installation is crucial for any window. No matter which option you choose, working with a reliable and experienced contractor is an absolute must if you want to maintain your windows’ functionality, durability, and energy efficiency!

The installation process is similar for both window types, and you’ll need to prepare your home for each. Your installer will take measurements, align and insert the frame, secure it in place, and insulate the window with flashing, caulking, and weatherstripping.

Double-hung windows will sometimes take a bit longer, as it’s important to align both the upper and lower sashes and install all moving parts. In addition, these windows are often heavier, adding to the labor needed.

The cost will vary from installer to installer. Many installers will charge more to install a double-hung window thanks to the added complexity. As always, we recommend getting multiple quotes to ensure a fair price!


The price tag of any window will depend on its materials, insulation, and overall quality. However, you can also expect a categorical price difference between single-hung and double-hung windows.

Single-Hung Windows

With fewer moving parts, lighter frames, and less complexity, single-hung windows tend to be the more affordable option. These windows are easier to manufacture, and those savings are passed on to you as the customer.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows are often more expensive than single-hung windows. This is thanks to their heavier frames and moving parts.

Window Sizes

Both single-hung and double-hung windows come in a wide range of standard sizes and heights. (

However, you may find it easier to get double-hung windows in larger sizes. Some options even reach up to six feet wide by 12 feet tall! This makes it easier to fit the walls of larger homes, increase natural light, and improve ventilation.

When to Choose Single- vs. Double-Hung Windows

Both of these window styles have a lot in common, and they have a similar timeless aesthetic at a glance. This can make your decision tough, even with the points above!

To sum everything up, if you’re still struggling to decide on the right option for your home, there are a few signs you might want to choose one over the other.

Single-Hung Windows

You should always choose a single-hung window if your budget is your biggest concern. These windows are more affordable and cheaper to install.

If you prefer an option that demands less upkeep, single-hung windows are the way to go.

They’re also ideal if energy-efficient and eco-friendly upgrades are your priority. However, you’ll still need to make sure you’re choosing a design with top-rated insulation to help reduce your energy consumption.

You may also want a single-hung window if you’re hanging a window in an area where you’d struggle to open a top sash. There’s no point in paying more for an upper pane you won’t use!

Double-Hung Windows

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You should choose a double-hung window for areas where you’ll spend a lot of time. These windows can increase your room’s comfort, offering great control over airflow and ventilation. This can improve the temperature inside and make the room feel less stuffy.

If you’re choosing a window for an upper-level room or you’d rather not pull out the ladder every time you clean, go with a double-hung window that tilts. Because it’s easier to clean every surface of these windows from inside, they’re the ideal choice for cleaning safely.

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The choice between single-hung vs. double-hung windows is a nuanced one, and you’ll have to weigh your needs, preferences, and priorities to make the call. As you make the decision, consider the factors above and do your research to find high-quality windows you can enjoy for years to come.

When it’s time for the installation, connect with top-rated contractors via Alpha Living! We’ll match you with experienced and top-rated window installers in your area to get you quotes fast. For free estimates, enter your zip code here

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