Replacing windows is something that most homeowners come across at one point or another. While many people go for a window replacement as part of a home remodeling project, other instances involve switching a damaged or faulty one for a fresh install. One type of window that is pretty common among replacements is the double-hung variety, whatever the reason.
The advantages of this popular option tends to draw the attention of many homeowners, including those who are looking to upgrade other types such as single-hung windows, and those who are going for double-hung again for the replacement. Should you be looking into double-hung windows as an upgrade, it can be a good idea to get familiar with the type and why it’s a great option for your home. And in the case of replacing a double-hung window, it can be a good idea to know why you should consider sticking with the same type.
What Are Double-Hung Windows?
Double-hung windows essentially feature two movable sashes, allowing you to open them either from the top or from the bottom — as opposed to single-hung windows which only have one movable sash. In certain cases, each sash consists of one pane whereas other varieties are divided into several panes. The dividers are referred to as “muntins”, or more commonly “grids”.
Besides the option of sliding either sash upward or downward, a lot of double-hung windows also allow you to open them inward. This feature especially comes in handy when you need to clean the exterior side of the panes.
As for the casing on double-hung windows, it’s normally thicker than that of the single-hung variety. This is due to the fact that each of the two sashes need to have their own track in order to move independently of each other. Nevertheless, single and double-hung windows are pretty much similar in how they look — especially to the untrained eye.
Opening the sashes on double-hung windows is fairly simple. To slide the top sash down, grab hold of the muntins or rails and apply downward pressure. As for lifting the bottom sash up, simply push the rails upwards from under. Many new double-hung window designs also feature a latch that you can use to tilt the sashes inwards.
Advantages of Having Double-Hung Windows
With all the types of windows to choose from, not many are as advantageous as the double-hung variety. The very design of this popular option allows for better ventilation, more efficiency, enhanced safety, and easier maintenance. These benefits collectively result in the added value of double-hung windows, making them an excellent choice for a replacement.
Perhaps one of the main advantages of double-hung windows is the amount of ventilation they offer. To get the most out of this benefit, simply open both upper and lower sashes. While the lower opening will draw in fresh air from outside, the upper section will expel indoor air. This helps in enhancing the atmosphere in your living spaces and naturally cooling down your home. And if minimal ventilation is what you need, opening just one sash should be enough.
Besides allowing for a good deal of ventilation, double-hung windows tend to invite adequate amounts of natural light. This keeps you from having to turn on the indoor lighting during much of the day. In addition, double-hung windows are sealed in order to minimize energy consumption from HVAC units. That being said, you can also reduce energy loss by opening the sashes in the summer to create natural ventilation. The amount of energy you can end up saving results in smaller utility costs at the end of each month.
Another major benefit of double-hung windows is safety. The design of these windows make them impossible to open outwards, which means they’re completely safe if you have decks, patios, or walkways just outside of them. They are fully lockable as well, preventing intruders from making their way into your home.
Ease of Maintenance
Double-hung windows are meant to make cleaning easier. They come with tilting sashes that make it easier for you to reach and wipe the outer side of the pane. Certain models even come with fully-removable sashes so you can give them a good wash-down every now and then. Besides the occasional cleaning, all you’d need to do is check that the movable parts are in good condition and lubricate them if necessary.
The functional features of double-hung windows make them more desirable than a lot of other options. This ultimately results in a greater return on your investment regarding the value it adds to your house, which can prove beneficial should you decide to sell it in the future.
One characteristic that double-hung windows are known for is their classic look, which allows them to adapt into just about any home. These windows are also available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and finishes, allowing them to correspond with various design styles, be it traditional or contemporary.
The design of double-hung windows makes them suitable for additions. Since the sashes are meant to slide upwards and downwards instead of outwards or sideways, the windows should have no problem accommodating an AC unit, a screen, or a hanging garden.
What to Consider When Replacing Double-Hung Windows
While the benefits of replacing double-hung windows are clear, you may also want to account for the costs involved, the duration of the process, as well as the materials and sizes that are available on the market. It can be a good idea to discuss these details with a contractor before going ahead with the replacement.
Average Price of Double-Hung Window Replacement
Double-hung installations are often the go-to option when it comes to replacing windows. On average, you can expect double-hung window prices to range between $450 to $585 for standard sizes. That price will naturally be higher when you factor in the labor cost of installation ($40 an hour on average) and of course, if you go for a high-quality brand. Double-hung windows on the upper end of the price spectrum tend to carry a price tag of $800 up to $1000.
Among the top rated window brands are Andersen, Milgard, and Simonton. The Andersen 200 Double-Hung, for instance, goes for $280 excluding installation. Milgard windows, on the other hand, range between $245 to $375 whereas the Simonton 6100 Double-Hung window costs $320.
How Long Does It Take to Replace Double-Hung Windows
The amount of time it takes for double-hung window replacement essentially depends on several factors. Whether you’re going for standard or custom double-hung windows is one of them, the latter being more time-consuming. Another factor is how skilled the installer is; an experienced one will naturally be able to complete the double-hung window replacement process in a smaller amount of time.
The material of the window also has to do with how long the replacement will take. In the case of windows with wooden frames, for instance, you need to account for the priming, sanding, and painting. Other factors include the size of the windows, the damage level around the existing window (if any), and of course, the number of windows you plan on replacing.
An experienced window installer can typically install up to 15 windows a day. However, the average time it takes to replace a window is 40 minutes. For instance, one worker will often be in charge of removing the double-hung window while another brings in the new one from the truck. The next step involves cutting the weight ropes, positioning the window into place, leveling it with the shims, and nailing it in.
After replacing the window, the workers will finalize the process by installing the exterior trim. This forms a tight seal around the window and serves as a weather-proofing material.
There are also a number of measures you can take in advance to speed up the replacement process.
- Remove any window treatments; the process will take more time if the installers have to do this.
- Clear the path around the window so the installers have more room to move around.
- Take down any wall decorations near the window to prevent them from being knocked over by accident.
- Remove and deactivate security sensors if you have any as they can be an inconvenience for the installer.
- The installers will usually place drop cloths on the floor to prevent leaving behind a mess. You can take this step off their shoulders if it means speeding up the process.
Double-Hung Window Replacement Types and Sizes
Another thing to consider when replacing double-hung windows is the frame material. You can find the frames in vinyl, wood, fiberglass, and aluminum. Double-hung vinyl replacement windows, for instance, are the least expensive. However, they’re not the best option in terms of durability. Fiberglass is higher on the price spectrum but offers a decent combination of strength, insulation, and weather resistance. While aluminum window frames are also quite durable and weatherproof, they tend to fall behind in the insulation department.
Wooden double-hung window frames are one of the most durable options (and the most expensive). Despite their durability, however, they are prone to expanding and contracting but with good maintenance, this shouldn’t be an issue.
As for size, double-hung windows are available in a wide variety of dimensions. The width typically ranges from 24 inches to 48 inches and the height from 36 inches to 72 inches.