How to Tell a Single-Hung Window From a Double-Hung

Single-hung and double-hung windows have pros and cons. Here’s how to know which is right for your home.

Related To:
Marvin windows and bath

Marvin windows and bath

Bathroom with built in tub surrounded by marble, open windows with window treatments.

One of the questions many homeowners ask is, what’s a single-hung window vs double-hung? We’ll not only answer that question, we’ll review the pros and cons of both types, as well as giving you tips on how to save money if you’re thinking of buying replacement windows.

Single-Hung Windows

In new homes, apartment buildings and office spaces, single-hung windows are often the standard. Single-hung windows get their name because the bottom sash, or panel, moves vertically, while the upper sash is fixed. When the window is open, the bottom sash partially obstructs the upper sash.  

Why do builders and homeowners like single-hung windows? One word: cost. They can be up to 20 percent less than double-hung competitors. This probably isn’t a big deal if you’re replacing one window. But a whole house adds up.

However, because single-hung windows have limitations, in the long run a double-hung window could cost less. Single-hung windows can’t be tilted to offer better ventilation and ease of cleaning, and you can’t increase airflow by opening the upper sash. In bathrooms, and other rooms that require good ventilation, this can increase moisture levels, potentially contributing to mildew growth and odor.

Single-hung windows are also more difficult to clean, especially for rooms on upper floors of a building. Many homeowners choose to hire a window cleaning company for those difficult-to-reach places.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows are the most popular replacement windows in the country. In double-hung windows both sashes open and tilt, giving easy access to both panels. Not only does this increase circulation, it also makes them easier to clean and maintain.

Double-hung windows can also be more secure, offering homeowners two locks instead of one. And the frames are stronger because both sashes have to operate.

Between the two window types, double-hung windows offer more colors and styles than single-hung, widening your range of possibilities architecturally.

Ways to Save on Window Installation

If you’re upgrading to more energy-efficient windows, your purchase may qualify for incentives and rebates. Some states and local municipalities offer incentives in addition to federal rebates. You can find information on policies and incentives by state at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Window experts say it’s better to buy the best window you can afford, even if that means replacing the windows in stages. So even though double-hung windows cost more up front than single-hung, in the long run they may save you money.

Double-Hung Window Update 04:45

Host Paul Ryan installs a new double hung window.

Next Up

How Window Insulation Can Save You Money

Weatherproofing windows yourself can be done quickly and cheaply, but it pays off in cost savings and home comfort.

Home Window Repair Is Easy When You Know How

Take the mystery out of home window repair with these expert tips.

How to Know Whether You Should DIY Broken Window Glass

Here are the pros and cons of replacing a broken or fogged windowpane.

How to Choose the Best Exterior Window Trim for Your Home

Exterior window trim isn’t just a pretty face. It’s made to cover gaps keep your home sound and free from water, heat and humidity. 

Find Out What a Picture Window is and How to Decorate It

Picture windows increase the light in the room, but their large size can make them difficult to decorate. Get window treatment tips and more.

Repairing Your Window Screens is Easy and Inexpensive

Get tips and advice for repairing and replacing window screens.

All About the Different Kinds of Windows

From casement to clerestory, windows come in a variety of designs and styles. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right one for your home.

Here's What You Need to Know About Stained Glass Windows

Stained-glass windows come in a variety of styles, designs and colors. Get expert tips on designs, patterns and even panels.

Everything You Need to Know About Window Sills and Trim

Get tips for choosing the right window casing, installing it and maintaining it properly.

Choosing the Best Type of Window Replacement for Your Home

Determine whether a full or partial window replacement will give you the best return on your investment.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.