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
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 sashes 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.
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
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
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.