Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows: Which Style Works Best for Your Residence?

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

Particular window styles work best with the corresponding architectural styles – some are good for Victorian houses, for example, while others are perfect for Colonial home designs. However, no matter what type of residence you live in, single-hung and double-hung units easily complement every style.

Due to their traditional, all-time-favourite look, these windows are two of the most common window styles you are likely to find in Canadian houses. Because of their popularity, homeowners usually buy and install these units when building a new home or shopping for replacement windows. 

But how do you know which exact style – single or double-hung – works best for your house? We have contacted window and door experts from to craft this post for you and elaborate on the differences between both window styles in terms of energy efficiency, sizes, design and more to help you pick the best product for your home.

What Are Single-Hung Windows?

single hung window
Source: Home Depot

Single-hung windows are units with an upper and lower sash. Sashes are the part of your window that operates to open and close the units while holding the glass panes in place. But when we consider single hung windows – only the lower sash is operable while the upper sash is fixed, non-movable.

What Are Double-Hung Windows?

double hung window
Source: Home Depot

With double-hung windows, everything remains the same except that these units feature both operable sashes to open and close, ensuring more ventilation and comfort.

Single vs Double-Hung Windows – What are The Best Locations?

Both window styles have a nearly identical look so that you can find them in many of the similar locations within Canadian houses. Usually, homeowners prefer these units for:

But double-hung windows are more popular to install for second-and third-story rooms, like bedrooms, since the upper sash can glide down and tilt inwards, allowing you to clean both sides of the unit from inside of your home.

Moreover, double-hung windows offer better ventilation, so it is no surprise that most homeowners strive to install these units in many bathrooms and kitchens, areas prone to moisture build-up, to boost air circulation.

If you consider the overall home architectural styles, then single-hung windows are more often found in older or historical houses. At the same time, their counterparts – double-hung units – are more common for traditional or newly built homes.

Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows: Sizes Comparison

Single-hung and double-hung units come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Moreover, these windows are often custom-built to fit your home’s rough openings. So you can not expect the one-fits-all parameter here. But some of the most frequently requested window sizes come as  2 to 3 feet wide and 3 to 5 feet tall.

Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows: Energy Efficiency Comparison

Analyzing the energy efficiency aspect, single-hung and double-hung windows feature almost the same thermal performance standards when installed.

However, it is obvious that seals will wear over time, so you homeowners may gradually encounter more air infiltration from a double-hung unit since it comes with two operable sashes than a single-hung window’s one movable sash.

What really impacts how energy efficient your new units will be are the following aspects:

Window Frame

The window frame material you select will likely have a more significant impact on your window’s energy efficiency than its style. Industry specialists calculate window efficiency by the U-factor—the lower it is, the more energy-efficient the window is.

And when buying new windows, it would be nice to purchase the one with the Energy Star label since it guarantees your window complies with the industry thermal performance standards.

Moreover, to avoid many common pitfalls when choosing the ultimate frame material for your new units, your go-to option should be Vinyl.

Vinyl window frames are made of polyvinyl chloride, with UV stabilizers that tend to be more energy-efficient than other window frames. Vinyl frames are modern, affordable, low maintenance and offer the best insulation properties on the market. 

Type of glazing

Another crucial point to consider if you seek the best energy-efficient windows is glazing. Two main options here – double or triple glazing. And it is not the situation when more layers of glazing bring more value to your house.

You should analyze your house’s overall thermal performance, energy bills, and prices for new windows before opting for double or triple glazing. 

While triple-paned windows for sure offer better insulation and keep up to 50% more heat during cold periods, you might just not need it. Moreover, these units cost usually 15% more than double-pane units, and you might get a low ROI if the wrong units were installed.

Single-Hung vs. Double-Hung Windows: The Final Thoughts

Frankly speaking, choosing the best windows depends on a range of factors and your personal preferences. Make sure to analyze your budget, rough openings, house condition and location before installing any particular window style. But to conclude, here are some of the pros and cons of both single-hung and double-hung units for you to keep in mind.

Single-Hung Windows


  • These units have a fixed sash that is airtight, so they are more resistant to wear and weather in the long-term;
  • They are more affordable in comparison to double-hung windows;
  • Very versatile and match almost every interior;


  • Only one window sash is movable. That does not provide the optimal ventilation;
  • Difficult to clean.

Double-Hung Windows


  • Perfect ventilation thanks to both operable;
  • Easy to clean from the inside since the sashes can tilt inward;


  • Quite expensive;
  • Less energy-efficient.