Window Replacement:
A Guide to the Different Types of Windows


When it comes to home improvements, kitchens and bathrooms get most of the attention. Yet, there are plenty of other parts of the home that can wear out or need attention. Case in point: replacing old windows is one of the top ten home improvements.

Some of that stems from the sheer number of older homes out there that still have painfully heat inefficient single pane windows. Some of it stems from renovations to update the look of a home.

When it comes to window replacement, though, there are several types of windows from which you can choose. Keep reading for a quick breakdown of the kinds of new windows.

windows, snow outside


Single Hung

The odds are good that if you're doing a window replacement project, you're replacing single hung windows. While the balance has shifted in recent years, single hung windows still remain the most common window type.

With single hung windows, you get a fixed upper portion of the window. The bottom half of the window is the part that you can move up and down. While it's less common on older windows, many modern single hung windows let you tilt the window inside to clean the outer surface of the window glass.


Double Hung

Double hung windows closely resemble single hung windows in appearance. These windows have also become the window type of choice in new homes and residential construction.

With these windows, you can move both the upper part of the window and the lower part of the window. Many double hung windows will also let you tilt the window inside to let you clean the outside surface of the glass.



Another popular option for residential windows is the sliding window. Rather than moving up and down in the window frame, sliding windows move left to right or right to left.

These windows move along dedicated tracks that are either built into the window frame or attached to the window frame.


Additional Factors

While the window options noted above give you plenty of versatility, there are other factors to consider. For example, most new windows come standard as double pane windows, but you can also find triple pane windows.

Double pane and triple pane window dramatically reduce thermal transfer, which improves your HVAC efficiency.

There are also window frame material considerations. Some common materials include:

  • Vinyl
  • Fiberglass
  • Metal
  • Wood

While vinyl is the most common, some people prefer other materials for aesthetic reasons. Options like triple pane windows and wood frames can drive up the overall costs.


Picking Between Types of Windows

Picking between types of windows and materials can range from very simple to very difficult. In many cases, people elect to replace their old windows with new windows of the same type or a similar type, such as moving from single hung to double hung windows.

The material choice is often a matter of either matching existing materials or updating to match with new materials.


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