Glass West


difference between single and double hung windows

What’s the Difference Between Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows?

When choosing windows for your home, single and double hung options are popular for many reasons. What’s the difference between single hung vs double hung windows? Single hung windows only open from the bottom, while double hung designs also open from the top. Here’s how to compare these two different windows to determine which is best for your home.

Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows: What You Need to Know

While these window styles can appear very similar, there are several key factors that distinguish them. We’ll review the differences between single hung vs double hung windows but, first, here are the essential characteristics of each design.

What Are Single Hung Windows?

Single hung, or single sash, windows have one lower sash that lifts up and down and one upper sash that remains in place. This means that the only source of ventilation is through the bottom sash. Given that single hung windows only open vertically from the bottom, they are particularly useful in specific situations and home designs.

Single hung windows are commonly used in the following scenarios:

  • Rooms where less ventilation is necessary: Bathrooms and first-floor rooms are ideal locations for single hung windows.
  • Hard-to-reach areas: Single hung windows are easier to open in difficult spots, like over a kitchen sink.
  • Craftsman home designs: Single hung windows are more in keeping with this classic aesthetic.
Photo Credit: Milgard

What Are Double Hung Windows?

The main advantage of double hung windows is that both the top and bottom sashes open, allowing for two sources of ventilation. The top sash slides up and down, allowing warm air that rises to escape. Meanwhile, when the bottom sash is open, cool air from outside can freely enter. This increased ventilation gives double hung windows an advantage in certain situations and layouts.

Here’s where double hung windows are most useful:

  • Rooms that require increased ventilation: Since warm air rises, two story homes can benefit from the top and bottom openings of double hung windows. Single story family rooms and entertaining spaces can also benefit from the increased ventilation.
  • Upper floor children’s bedrooms: Opening the top sash of double hung windows allows for ventilation if the bottom remains closed, maximizing safety in top floor children’s bedrooms.
  • Areas where cleaning is difficult: Since double hung windows can tilt in to be cleaned from inside, they’re ideal for second story rooms.
  • Specific home designs: Double hung windows are more suited to Victorian, colonial and traditional aesthetics.


advantage of double hung windows
Photo Credit: Milgard

Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows

A big difference between single and double hung windows is the ease of their cleaning and maintenance. Double hung windows tilt in so that both the inside and outside glass panels can be cleaned from the inside. This makes for easier and safer maintenance, specifically for second story windows. 

In contrast, most single hung window designs don’t tilt in for cleaning. This means that you must go outside to clean the exterior side of the glass.  For upper windows this requires the careful use of a ladder or the increased cost of a window cleaning company. However, regardless of their design, knowing how to clean windows with hot water and vinegar is an easy way to make them shine.


One of the undeniable benefits of single hung windows is that they cost less than double hung options. Since double hung windows have the added feature and function of a second operating sash, they can cost significantly more to produce and install. When you need to install many windows, single hung options offer a more cost effective solution and are more popular for that reason.

Energy Efficiency

Are double hung windows better than single hung windows when it comes to efficiency? While they offer increased ventilation, the moving parts on double hung windows make them less efficient than single hung designs. Specifically, the top sash may not always provide a proper seal when closed, allowing air to pass through. A single hung window’s single locking sash is easier to close and provides a tighter seal for greater efficiency.

However, factors like frame material and whether you have single pane vs double pane windows can also affect a design’s efficiency. While single hung vs double hung windows may be more efficient, vinyl and fiberglass frames increase the efficiency of a double hung window. A double paned, double window can also be more efficient than a single pane, single hung style.

Still deciding between single hung vs double hung windows? The technicians at Glass West can provide expert advice and window installation for any design. Schedule your consultation today!

Browse posts

Broken Glass?
Need new windows?
Call or click to
request your custom quote today!

just for laughs

Follow us on Facebook for more glassy humor!

Glass West Inc
what do our
customers have to say?
Read verified customer reviews here.