Double Hung or Single Hung, Casements or Sliders
Do Different Home Window Styles Make any Difference?
Many people mistakenly think that the style of your home replacement window is merely a superficial choice. But window styles go well beyond their look–window styles provide a functional difference, too.
Selecting the right window style can dramatically enhance the overall look of your home, both inside and out. Like your home to be cozy on chilly winter evenings? Want your windows to open and close easily? Prefer easy cleaning and maintenance? Want a window that matches your home’s architecture? You guessed it – window styles have everything to do with those, too.
Before we delve deeper, let’s start with Window Style 101. Understanding differences between the basic styles is actually much simpler than you may realize.
Choosing Between Double Hung and Single Hung Windows
Double hung and single hung windows are very similar to each other, except for one major difference. On double hung windows both sash in the window frame are operable, meaning they move up and down. The sashes on a double hung window also tilt in for easy cleaning.
On single hung windows, the top sash is fixed in place and does not move or tilt in, but the bottom is operable.
If you live in a dusty area, the double hung window is easier to clean. Though if the windows are going to be on the first floor, cleaning a single hung from the outside may not be an issue.
What are Slider Windows?
A slider window is a window that opens by sliding the windows panes side to side on a track in the window frame. It’s a good window style choice when the size of the window is much wider than it is high. These windows are available in single sliders with one moveable sash, 2-lite sliders where both sash move and a 3-lite slider for large openings that has a fixed picture window in the center with operable window sliders on each end.
What are Casement, Awning, and Hopper Windows?
Casement windows open with a crank handle, where the window sash swings out from your home toward the outside. The window pane is hinged on one side and swings open. Casement windows provide maximum ventilation.
Other windows in the casement family are awning and hopper windows. Awning windows open from the bottom and swing upward via a crank. Hopper windows open from the top and swing inward and are used primarily in basement applications.
To help you further integrate your chosen window style with the look of your home, these styles discussed can be customized with your choice of color for both the interior and exterior of the windows as well as the hardware
Air Circulation & Infiltration: Which Windows Style Provides the Most and Least Air Flow?
Depending on the application, you may want a window that provides lots of fresh air, or a window that provides very little air infiltration. Common sense will tell you that windows with the most operational panes (or sashes) will allow for the most air flow. Casement windows, for example, are great at letting in large amounts of air, as nearly the full window can be opened.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may want windows that are very air tight and allow little to no air exchange. Most high quality windows offer fantastic window seals, so when the window is closed, air and temperature do not travel through the window
But when it comes to resisting air infiltration, windows that do not open–like a picture window–are the most airtight. If you want a window the offers the best of both, a single hung window is for you. Since half the window is permanently fixed, you can open the other half to allow air in, but feel confident it’s tightly sealed when closed.
When you’re considering the energy-efficient qualities of various home window styles, be sure to:
- Look for the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label on a window, which provides information on how a window performs. [www.energystar.gov]
- Compare product performance – the two most referenced energy ratings on an NFRC label are U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR® label – the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have developed this designation, which varies by climate, for products meeting certain energy performance criteria.
Which Window is Easiest to Clean?
Some window styles, by nature of how they operate, are a bit easier to clean than other styles. For example, double hung windows are easier to clean than single hung windows, because both sash of the double hung window tilt inward. On single hung windows, only the bottom sash tilts in for cleaning outside surfaces. Slider windows only feature a lift out sash that can help with cleaning.
For casement windows, ditto the easy cleaning. Just crank the window all the way to its fully extended position, then reach through the opening to clean the exterior of the window.
Some slider windows allow the moveable sash to be lifted out from the inside for easy cleaning. Picture windows have no moveable sashes, so they must be cleaned from the outside.