When shopping for windows for your home, casement windows and double-hung windows are both excellent choices. Whether in replacement window or new-construction format, either type of window works well—but for vastly different reasons.
In fact, once you understand casement and double-hung windows—energy savings, opening mechanisms, costs, durability—the contrast will be evident and your choice should be much easier.
What Are Casement and Double-Hung Windows?
Casement windows are hinged on one side to swing horizontally like a door. A crank on the house interior turns a gearbox that pushes the window open and which shuts it. An interior latch must be engaged to fully secure the window shut. The casement window sash swings outward, toward the home’s exterior.
Double-hung windows slide vertically up and down. Double-hung windows have both an upper and a lower sash (the glass windowpane unit).
With double-hung windows, both sashes are operable. Most of the time, the upper sash remains in place while the lower sash slides up and down. However, the upper sash can be slid up and down, too. It is this double function that lends the name to these windows since you can also buy single-hung windows: windows with upper sashes that are permanently fixed in place.
|Casement Windows vs. Double-Hung Windows|
|Casement Windows||Double-Hung Windows|
|Type||Swings sideways like a door||Slides upward vertically|
|Cost||More expensive than double-hung windows||Often reasonably priced|
|Use||Crank operates opening mechanism||Must be lifted and lowered by hand|
|Style||Contemporary, clean||Often traditional though contemporary is also available|
|Energy||Seals tight since sash presses against weatherstripping and is held in place with a latch||Nearly as good, though seal operation works differently|
|Screen||Inside of window||Outside of window|
|Pros||Easy to operate; directs breezes into home; weathertight||Closed lower sash keeps children safe; sash easy to clean|
|Cons||Adjacent windows can conflict; wind can catch casement sashes and tear them away; difficult to clean outside of glass||Difficult to raise and lower|
Casement windows are usually more expensive than double-hung windows, often twice as much. This can be attributed to the more complex mechanical operations of casement windows, combined with the lower consumer demand.
Double-hung windows are usually less expensive than casement windows. Higher competition among window manufacturers helps to control the costs for this popular window.
Casement windows impart a contemporary style. With their simple geometry and clean lines, casement windows work well with modern style homes.
Double-hung windows indicate a traditional, classic style. They work well with vintage cottage-style houses or with new houses that emulate an older look.
Casement windows’ crank unit is usually the first mechanical part to fail. Even if casement windows do not suddenly fail, they can slowly loosen over time so that you get more air seepage into your house.
Double-hung windows have a lower failure rate than casement windows because there are fewer mechanical parts that can go wrong. Dropped windows are a problem that is common with double-hung windows, a condition where the lower sash refuses to stay up.
Casements do a superior job of limiting air intrusion in your home. The window sash presses straight onto all four sides of the window frame and its seals, just like an exterior door fitting into its door frame. Latching the window further pulls the casement sash into the seals.
The bottom and two sides of the double-hung window fit snugly in the side tracks. The only part that will allow for air seepage is along the top, but good seals can limit this.
Casement Windows Pros and Cons
Casement windows are easy to open and close. Turning the crank and operating the lock (a lever) is easier than pushing a sash up and down. If for this reason alone, casement windows are a better choice than double-hung windows for disabled persons or anyone with limited mobility. In fact, casement windows can even be opened and closed while seated in a wheelchair, though assistance may be needed to operate the latch.
Well-designed casement window positioning means that open sashes can act as conduits, amplifying outside breezes and sending the air into the home.
Normal window unit air conditioners do not fit in casement (and slider) windows. More expensive specialty A/C units are required. Gusts of wind can catch a casement sash and rip it away.
Poorly designed casement window placement can result in conflicting windows. For example, two casement windows’ sashes on an inside corner may collide with each other. Another example of poor casement design is when two nearby casement windows open opposite of each other and create an enclosure that hinders airflow.
Another downside of the cranking operation is that it can be time-consuming to open and close a large number of casements at once.
Because casement sashes open outward, they can be difficult to clean unless they are located on the ground level.
Double-Hung Windows Pros and Cons
Double-hung windows have a built-in safety feature for children and pets: closing the lower sash while leaving the upper sash open. Double-hung windows are reliable and have a low failure rate.
Even though most double-hung windows today have swing-in style sashes, they are still more difficult to clean (the outside) than casement windows. As long as you have close access, the double-hung window is fairly easy to operate. A spring-loaded balance aids in lifting the window and gravity helps you close it. But if you have to stretch to reach the window, it can be exceedingly difficult to operate.