Single vs. Double Hung Windows: Mastering the Crucial Differences

  • Single and double-hung windows are different. Single-hung windows only allow one sash of the window to open and close; the top sash remains fixed. 
  • Double-hung windows allow the top and the bottom sash to open and close. Each type of window has its benefits.
main differences between single and double hung windows

Single-hung and double-hung windows may look similar, but they operate in different ways. They also both serve different functions in a home. You will need to know these differences when you install windows in a new project. You will also need to know the difference if your home has existing single or double-hung windows.

There are several differences between single and double-hung windows. Keep reading to open the window on the differences and let a gust of fresh air in!

How Do Single And Double Hung Windows Operate?

single-hung vs. double-hung windows

It may look like single and double-hung windows are the same, but they operate in different ways. Both types are vertical-hung windows with a lower sash and an upper sash. But this is where the similarities end.

Single-hung windows have one vertical-sliding sash and one fixed sash. The bottom and top sash slides up and down in order to open the window.

Double-hung windows consist of two vertical-sliding sashes. Both the bottom and top sash slide up and down.

Double Hung Windows Offer Better Ventilation

double hung window example

Double-hung windows offer better ventilation than single-hung windows. This is one of the benefits they offer over single-hung windows.

A double-hung window allows air to flow in one opening and out the other simultaneously. On a single hung window, air will only flow into or out of the room, depending on the airflow. This is because only one sash opens. 

These two openings allow a current of air to form. Warm air flows out the top of the window, pulling cool air in through the bottom window.

Are Single Or Double Hung Windows Better?

 single hung window example

Whether single-hung or double-hung windows both have positive features. Which you choose will depend on where and how you install each window.

Single-hung sash windows work well in hard-to-reach areas. This is great for windows placed high on a wall or over a kitchen sink, for example. In hard-to-reach areas, a single window makes them easier to operate. 

Single-hung windows also work well in rooms that do not need constant ventilation. Rooms like first-floor rooms or bathrooms are well suited to single-hung windows.

differences between single and double-hung windows

Double-hung sash windows work best in rooms that need extra or constant airflow. In two-story homes, extra ventilation on the top floor provides cooler air on the bottom floor. 

Double-hung windows can be an added safety feature in second-story children’s bedrooms. A closed and bolted bottom sash provides extra safety for children. But open the top sash to allow ventilation in the room.

Other Benefits Of Single And Double-Hung Windows

double hung vs. single hung window ideas

Single and double-hung windows do operate in different ways. That said, they also have unique benefits.

Single-hung windows are simpler in design and need less hardware to operate. Fewer moving parts than double-hung windows mean they are more likely to work for longer. 

Single-hung windows are also cheaper than double-hung windows. This is a big benefit for those who are building or renovating on a budget.

Double-hung windows also have their benefits. Most double-hung windows can tilt inwards on a hinge. This means you can clean the outside glass inside the house. This ease of cleaning is helpful for second-floor windows. 

double hung vs. single hung windows


There is only one big difference between single and double-hung windows. Single-hung windows only allow one sash to open and close with the other remaining fixed. In contrast, double-hung windows allow both the top and the bottom sash to open and close.

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