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Top Single-Hung Window Materials

October 10, 2010

Single-hung windows are one of the oldest window types and are still popular. They are similar to double-hung windows except that the top sash of a single-hung window is fixed and only the bottom sash can be opened. The bottom sash slides up and down, so it does not protrude outward from the house like a casement window, making it ideal in areas where walkways or obstacles are close to the house. Single-hung windows are highly energy-efficient, with the degree of thermal performance in part dependent on the frame materials.

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Typical Single-Hung Window Materials

The most popular materials for single-hung windows are aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, and wood. Here are the characteristics of each:

  • Aluminum. Strong, durable material for single-hung window frames, aluminum single-hung windows can be painted or anodized in a variety of colors. Thermal performance is poor unless designed with thermal breaks, but has good sound insulation qualities.
  • Vinyl. Economical, virtually maintenance free, excellent thermal performance makes this material eligible for EnergyStar rating and potential tax credits. Vinyl is probably the most popular choice of material for single-hung windows.
  • Wood. This traditional material for single-hung window frames, in use for hundreds of years. Perhaps the best choice for maintaining the look of an old house restoration. Wood is energy-efficient, but requires maintenance such as painting. Subject to peeling, rot, and swelling if not properly maintained.
  • Fiberglass. Fiberglass is extremely energy-efficient, not only in insulation properties, but also in the manufacturing process. It is also very strong, maintenance-free, paintable, can withstand extreme temperatures, and expands at the same rate as window glass, minimizing leaks.

Select the material for your single-hung windows that best suits your budget and project requirements.


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