Casement vs. Double-Hung Windows: What to Know Before You Buy

Double-Hung Windows

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Casement windows and double-hung windows are both excellent choices for replacement and new-construction installations, but usually for vastly different reasons. In fact, once you understand the differences between these two types of windows, from their opening mechanisms to their costs, your decision should be an easy one.

What Are Casement and Double-Hung Windows?

Casement Windows

Casement windows 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.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows slide vertically up and down. Double-hung windows have both an upper and a lower sash (window pane unit); both 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 there are also single-hung windows whose upper sash is permanently fixed in place.

Casement Windows vs. Double-Hung Windows
  Casement Double-Hung
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 Often traditional though contemporary is also available
Energy Seals tight since sash presses against weatherstripping Equally good, though seal operation works differently
Screen Inside of window Outside of window
Pros Easy to operate Closed lower sash keeps children safe
Cons Windows can conflict; wind can catch casement sashes Difficult to raise, lower

Cost

Casement Windows

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

Double-hung windows are usually less expensive than casement windows. Higher competition among window manufacturers helps to control the costs for this popular window.

Styles

Casement Windows

Casement windows tend to impart a contemporary style. With their simple geometry and clean lines, casement windows work well with modern style homes.

Double-Hung Windows

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.

Mechanical Issues

Casement Windows

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

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. 

Energy Savings

Casement Windows

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.

Double-Hung Windows

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.

Pros and Cons

Casement Windows

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).

Normal window unit air conditioners do not fit in casement (and slider) windows. More expensive specialty 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. One downside of the cranking operation is that it can be time-consuming to open and close a large number of casements at once.

Double-Hung Windows

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.