Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows: What’s the Difference?

published Nov 21, 2022
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In home design, there are a seemingly endless number of window styles to choose from, but I’d be willing to bet that when you think of a window, you probably picture the single-hung or double-hung style. These two window styles are among the most popular and are found in many different kinds of homes. Let’s take a look at each one and then see how they compare.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

What are single-hung windows?

Single-hung windows have one operable sash — the part that opens and closes. The top sash is fixed in place while the bottom sash can be raised or lowered to the desired position. The sash’s ability to stay in place depends on the balance that is concealed within the jamb liner or window frame.

Credit: Dolores M. Harvey/

What are double-hung windows?

Double-hung windows have two sashes — the top and bottom — that slide independent of one another to allow air flow into the home. Cleaning double-hung windows is easier than single-hung because both sashes can tilt toward the interior of the home, so the panes can be reached from inside the house.

What are the advantages of a single-hung window?

A single-hung window has the advantage of only a few moving parts. The fewer parts, the fewer things that can break or malfunction. Single-hung windows are also more energy efficient because the fixed pane is sealed and there is only one moving part that can let air in. 

Are double-hung windows more expensive than single-hung?

Double-hung windows have more operable parts which makes them more expensive than single-hung. Single-hung windows typically cost between $150 and $400, plus installation, while double-hung windows can cost between $500 and $700 apiece. The actual costs will greatly depend on the window manufacturer, distributor, style, customization, and installation costs in your region.

Customizing a single-hung or double-hung window

Though the style of these windows is very common, there are a number of ways to customize them to fit the look and needs of your home.

  • Customize the grilles: Choosing the number of grilles, or going without them altogether, can give the window a more customized look. You can even choose to include grilles on one pane and go without them on the other.
  • Add a fixed or awning window: For added light, you can add a fixed window or awning window above the primary single or double-hung window. You could even choose to go a traditional route and add a transom window.
  • Choose the frame material and color: Older window frames were typically made of wood, but today you can choose from vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. While many window frames are white, black is growing in popularity, and, really, you can choose any window frame color that matches your home’s aesthetic.