Casement vs Double Hung Windows… Which One to Use?
Whether you’re building a home from the ground up, or replacing older windows with brand new insulating glass units, you’ll need to consider and weigh the options regarding what type of window style is best for your home: casement vs double hung windows.
Some of the things you’ll want to consider are maintenance (ease of cleaning), ventilation, style, and energy efficiency—but before thinking about all that, let’s define what these different windows are.
Casement windows hang on the window frame like a door, and their opening and closing is often manually operated by turning a handle which is called (drumroll please) an operator.
When the window is open, you may be able to reach around the sash and clean the outside of the glass, if your arms are long enough.
Otherwise, the casement window may open inward, which will certainly allow you to clean both sides of the glass from the comfort of your home’s interior.
FCL designates a casement window with the hinges on the left, and FCR designates a casement window with the hinges on the right. Hinges can also be on the top of the window (this is called an awning window) or the bottom of the window (a hopper window).
Double Hung Windows
Double hung windows have two vertically sliding sashes (essentially the glass pane or panes and the four surrounding stiles that make the border). The bottom panel can be opened by sliding the sash up, while the top panel can be opened by sliding the sash down.
In more recent models, the windows are able to be spun on a hinge in the middle of the window, allowing you to stand inside your home and clean the outside of the glass.
A Brief History
Understanding where double hung and casement windows come from, and how they’ve been traditionally incorporated into building design, will help you assess which option may be right for the rooms of your home.
Casement windows were common in the United Kingdom before double hung windows were introduced. They usually consisted of small glass panes held in place with metal strips, and the windows typically opened inward (these leaded windows may remind you of the type of windows you would see on a Medieval building like castle).
Varieties of casement windows are still typically found throughout many European countries, especially because when open, they allow for increased natural ventilation.
A wild and exciting debate still rages between architectural historians about the location and time period of the double hung window’s origin—but without getting caught up in the drama, it’s safe to say that they developed in England or the Netherlands.
The oldest extant examples of a double hung window are to be found at the Ham House, which is not a 24/7 diner that serves up pork related foodstuffs, but rather a historic mansion in London, England.
The Style of Your Home
When you think about where each window type has been traditionally used, that may help you determine if it fits in with the style of the facade of your home.
Casement windows seem to be particularly well suited to warmer climates. They allow the entire vertical range of the window space to be entirely opened up for hanging laundry, watering plants, or leaning out the window.
If your house has a Mediterranean, Caribbean, or Spanish Colonial look, then casement windows may seem especially appealing. If it’s within your budget, you may even be able to paint the frames a nice color that can compliment, accent, or be juxtaposed with the sun-washed stucco of your home.
If your house has a more classical look, like a brick colonial, French country home, or clapboard farmhouse, the double hung window might be a better option for you, and fit in more with the conservative look of your stately dwelling.
There may be other factors to consider, such as what the interior of your home looks like, but chances are you’ll want it to have thematic continuity with the outside of your home.
We’re not talking about the daytime talk show—we’re talking about what you see on the outside of your home, through the glass, when you’re sitting on the couch enjoying a nice glass of pinot noir (or whatever you like to sip).
Casement windows are usually totally open, unless they specifically come with a grill of muntins for stylistic purposes (recall earlier in the article, we mentioned that older windows had a grill of metal strips holding together small panes of glass, but this was mainly because of technological inability to manufacture one large piece of glass).
Double hung windows, on the other hand, come in two sashes (one on the top, and one on the bottom) so there will always be at least one potential visual obstruction (the sash) running across the middle of the window.
You may not be bothered by this, but if you want to be able to open your windows, and you want a view that is as clear and unobstructed as possible, you may want to opt for casement windows.
Because double hung windows slide up and down on track, they run the risk of allowing unwanted energy transfer in or out of your home. Casement windows, on the other hand, can more tightly seal to the frame when they are closed and locked.
As you may be well aware, the doors and windows of your home are the place where energy transfer happens. You don’t want to lose heat in the winter, or let heat in during the summer, because that will drive up your utility bills, so if you’re looking for a more energy efficient option, casement windows may be for you.
Talk to your certified contractor about the orientation of your home and the local climate to determine if these environmental factors should guide your choice of window.
Both double hung and casement windows are excellent for ventilation, since they allow the sash to be opened, and air to enter (or exit) the room.
However, because double hung windows can be opened at the top or the bottom, you have a little more flexibility with fostering ventilation without the risk of unwanted wind blowing things around the room, which may not be something to consider everywhere, but may be something to consider in an especially breezy place.
Casement windows, on the other hand, catch the wind like a sail and redirect it into the room. Additionally, they allow the entire vertical space of the window to become open to the elements, which maximizes ventilation.
However, casement windows can get bent out of shape by the elements over time, especially because they’re hinged on one side, and catch the wind like a sail. Double hung windows are a little sturdier in this regard, because they’re set into grooves and held on both sides.
You might find it helpful to assess these factors (durability in the face of wind and amount of ventilation) with a professional.
Casement vs Double Hung Windows: The Results Vary
Double hung and casement windows each offer advantages. However, in order to really assess which window is best for each room, you will have to factor in energy efficiency, the view, ventilation, and the style of your home when making your decision.
You will also have to decide if you want to mix and match based on the room and its location within your house, or if you want to keep the window choice consistent throughout the facade.
When you decide which window to go with, the next step is choosing the right window replacement company. The easy answer is Feldco. We’ve been serving homeowners in the Midwest for over 40 years with the best window replacement. Get a free quote online to start your project with the Midwest’s best.