Single Vs. Double Hung Windows

If you’re looking and shopping around for the best window for your home, you must know that there is one difference between single and double-hung windows, and this is how they operate.

A single-hung window has an operable bottom sash that moves vertically while its top sash is fixed. A double-hung window, on the other hand, has both sashes operable, where you can move both the bottom and top sash on their own—providing better airflow to your home.

What is the Difference Between Single and Double Hung Windows?

There are six secondary differences between single-hung and double-hung windows, these are:


As mentioned above, having two operable window panes, the double-hung window provides better airflow, where the air goes at the bottom and out the top. Single-hung windows have one operable window pane, allowing plenty of fresh air in, but it doesn’t complete the cycle.

While both provide ventilation, the double-hung windows do a better job.


Double-hung windows are easy to clean from the inside because both panes tilt inwards, so it’s easy to clean from inside your home. This is one of the reasons double sashes are a good option for homes with a second story.

While only the bottom pane of the single-sash windows opens, it also tilts, so the interior-facing side is easy to clean from inside your home. However, you can only clean half of the exterior side, and you have to go outside to finish cleaning it, including the stationary upper half of the window. This is one of the reasons single-hung windows are good for the ground floor of your home.
Both types break even when it comes to maintenance.

Energy Efficiency

Single-sashes have fewer moving parts, so there is less area for air to seep out or cause a draft, and this means you don’t have to run your HVAC system more than usual. Double-sashes, on the other hand, have more moving parts for air to go in and out, which lowers their energy efficiency.

However, this needn’t always be the case. Window frames also play a role in energy efficiency, as different materials have different levels of insulation.

Energy Efficiency By Window Frame

There are six different window frames available.

Aluminum – This is not energy efficient because it transfers heat. However, it’s light, durable—and requires little maintenance, and can be customized. It’s on the higher end of the cost spectrum.

Composite – These window frames are made from resin, metal, and wood fibers. Its energy efficiency is about average and is usually more durable than some of the other materials, including vinyl and wood. However, they are not as affordable as aluminum and vinyl.

Fiberglass – This is extremely energy efficient but expensive too, which is why it’s not used as much as the other types.

Vinyl – This is very energy efficient and also affordable, and easy to customize. They don’t last as long as some other framework materials.

Wood – Its energy efficiency is above average. However, it’s the material that requires the most maintenance.

Wood-clad – It consists of a wooden core and fiberglass or aluminum coating. They have the same energy efficiency as pure wood but with far less maintenance.

Single and double-sash windows almost break even when it comes to energy efficiency, but single-sashes are ahead by a nose.


Both types are suitable for new homes and replacement or remodeling. Single-pane windows tend to be easier to install because they have fewer moving parts. There are, however, other considerations, like the ease of access. As single sashes are most common on the ground floor, they are very easy to access.

Double sashes are usually on the second story, so they need at least a ladder or scaffolding to get to the window openings. They might also have to compete with tree branches and creepers for space.

Size is also a factor. Smaller windows tend to be easier and cheaper to install than larger windows. Single-hung windows are usually quite small, up to 3 ft x 5 ft. A double-hung window can be up to 6 ft x 12 ft. Therefore, smaller single windows come out ahead of double sashes when it comes to installation.


Single-hung windows are much older than double-hung. As a result, they are usually found in older homes, traditional houses, and some remodeling projects by homeowners who want to mimic older window-style homes.

Double-hung windows are more modern for contemporary window styles. The developments in materials and manufacturing processes have also given double-sash windows more options when it comes to size, style, and color.

Double-hung styles:

  • Cottage – Their lower sash is bigger than the upper sash, so the crossbar is higher than standard windows. It’s great if you’ve got a view you want to admire.
  • Oriel – They’re completely the opposite of cottage-style windows. The upper sash is bigger than the lower sash.
  • Sliding – Instead of going up and down, both sashes can go side to side.
  • Tilt-in – This just means that it’s like the standard single and double sash windows in that it tilts inwards, which is handy to clean.

Modern manufacturing techniques mean that both window types can be customized, including grille patterns and colors. Double-hung windows are the clear winner when it comes to style.


Single-hung windows are usually more affordable than double-hung windows because they don’t have as many moving parts. Like energy efficiency, the cost depends on the versatility of the size, type of glass, and frame material. Wood is expensive, and vinyl is much less so.

The major factor in determining the cost is the number of windows that need to be installed. The more windows, the higher the expense. According to professionals, a rough estimate is $140 to $400 per single-hung window and $350 to $600 per double-hung window. Add approximately $40 per hour for labor.

If the budget is of no consequence, then you can have double-hung windows all around, but the budget-conscious would fare better with single-hung windows. The nice thing about both types of windows is that they look almost identical, so it doesn’t make much difference if you want the style at a more affordable cost.

Single-hung windows came out ahead again. In the comparison between the two, they are just about level pegging, but the single-sash remains ahead.

One More Difference Between Single-Hung and Double-Hung Windows Before You Contact a Window Contractor

Safety is a big concern. When it comes to stopping people from coming in, single-sash windows offer more protection as the top can’t be pried open, and the bottom can be securely locked.

Double-hung sash windows are best when it comes to stopping people from getting out without sacrificing ventilation. The bottom can be locked so that children and pets can’t escape, and the top can stay open to keep the airflow.

To get more information about single-hung vs. double-hung windows, contact our specialists with installation at 877-590-2741 at Euroline Steel Windows and Doors today!

Author: Elyas Balta

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history in innovation and scalability in the luxury building materials industry. Passionate about inspiring and empowering others to grow in character and success. Determined in bringing art and engineering together to create and manufacture an exotic product line of steel windows and doors.