Sliding or Double-Hung Windows? The Best Option for Your Home

Unless you were involved in the design and construction of your home, you probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about why some windows open from side-to-side while others slide up and down. With summer in the air and many homeowners thinking about replacements, we thought it might be time to explain the difference so that you can select the best option for your home.

Double-Hung Windows

These are the ones that slide up and down and are by far the most common in newer homes around the country. They are “double-hung” because the two panes of the window are each encased in their own sash and move within a single frame. Single-hung windows have a fixed piece of glass at the top and a moveable lower sash, the kind you will find in most older homes and apartments.  Modern double-hung windows tilt away from the frame for easy cleaning and have near-invisible screens that provide unobstructed views of the great outdoors.


Double-hung windows work best in openings where the height is more than the width. They are low profile and easy to clean, making them an excellent choice for high traffic areas near doors or along hallways. Most bedrooms also use double-hung windows because the openings tend to be high rather than broad and moving the sash up and down is easier than sliding a tall window from side-to-side.  Double-hung windows can also be lined up side-by-side to increase ventilation or make the most of a spectacular view. They are also air-conditioner friendly whereas sliding windows require you to block the opening above the unit with plexiglass.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows provide excellent ventilation and let in lots of natural light. They have two sashes that slide horizontally so that both can usually be open at the same time. This arrangement increases the amount of air entering your home and makes the most of a cool summer breeze. They are also usually much bigger than double-hung windows, making them an excellent choice for a picture window in your living or dining room.


These are windows you want to install in openings that are long but don’t have much height. It’s easier to move the sash sideways than lift a window that’s really wide. They are also perfect for hard to reach areas where you have to stretch to open a window and have difficulty sliding it up or pulling the top sash down. Windows above the kitchen sink or bathtub generally slide if they were installed in the last decade. Regarding efficiency, sliding windows have a slight edge because they have a tighter seal and fewer moving parts.

Which is Right for Me?

If you have a wide opening, want a larger window or are replacing one that’s in an awkward spot, consider installing a sliding window. If you are going to put several windows side-by-side, to have a high opening or plan to install an air conditioner, a double-hung window is probably the better choice for you. Either way, replacing your old windows will lower your energy costs, add value to your home, and maximize both ventilation and sunlight with new models that are both durable and easy to clean.