Do you need to replace some or all of your home’s windows? Are you concerned about the costs of home window replacement? You’re not alone. The short, and admittedly imprecise, answer to “How much does window replacement cost?” is “between $450 and $2,250.” The longer answer is that window replacement project costs depend upon multiple factors. Understanding what drives the cost of replacement windows puts you in a position to make the best, most informed buying decision.
Your per-window replacement cost will be impacted mainly by five key factors. Some, such as window styles and glass type, you have a great deal of control over. Others, such as the structural condition of your home, you can do little about.
1. Window quality
As windows get older, they get leaky and drafty. They are no longer keeping your home buttoned up tight the way it should be. You may end up paying a higher energy bill each month as a portion of your heating and air conditioning budget literally disappears out the window. Replacement windows will seal those gaps and minimize heat transfer.
“Efficiency” is the word most commonly linked to window quality regardless of whether we’re talking about single-hung windows or double-hung windows. Efficiency is a measure of how well a window maintains the thermal separation between the interior and exterior environments. How much you will save by installing new types of windows can vary quite a bit. It depends on the state of your current windows.
Windows come in single, double, and (more rarely) triple-pane construction. Adding extra panes of glass creates an insulative argon gas pocket which improves efficiency. Do you have old single-pane windows with lots of condensation? In older homes with notoriously inefficient single-pane windows, an upgrade to dual-pane windows is highly recommended. The switch from a single to a dual-pane window will result in a great level of energy savings. If you already have double-pane windows, you won’t see as big of a drop. Your contractor can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.
However, new technology is always coming out. That means that windows are getting better and better at insulating your home.
2. Window type
The window frames you choose for your windows have a great impact on your per window cost. There are many window material choices, the two most common materials being wooden frames and vinyl frames. Wood windows are aesthetically pleasing and an excellent insulator, however, they also are the most expensive option. Vinyl windows come in fewer color choices and don’t insulate as well, but are less expensive.
Curb appeal has a huge effect when it comes time to sell your home. Beauty, or the lack thereof, affects people no matter how much we want to think that it doesn’t. Old, single-pane windows with condensation streaks and mold stains are not attractive. These are the types of things that will turn buyers off in a heartbeat.
Shiny new Energy Star windows with new frames have the opposite effect. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they also are energy efficient. Buyers want to enjoy those monthly savings on their energy bills just like you do. How much resale value can you expect to get out of your new windows? According to the Chicago Tribune 10 windows replaced can equal a boost to your sale price of over $10,000!
3. Window size and shape
If your home’s windows are within the industry standard size and find themselves among the most common types, you are in luck! Your costs may be lower since manufacturers produce your windows in bulk, and retailers can offer more competitive pricing on readily available standard windows and common styles.
Have uniquely shaped or larger windows in need of replacement? Expect to pay more for custom window types. However, since home buyers are showing an increased interest in contemporary windows with unique shapes and energy-saving features, they might not be a bad idea. New energy-efficient windows, especially those with an Energy Star rating, are an attractive upgrade.
In fact, the Chicago Tribune reported that several studies have been done to quantify exactly how large a resale value increase homeowners with upgraded windows can anticipate. A 2014 study by Build It Green found that homes in Los Angeles County increased in value by 6% when the windows were upgraded. A similar Adomatis Appraisal Services study in 2015 found that Washington D.C. homes gained a 2-5% increase in value with similar upgrades. To put that in perspective, a $400,000 home would be worth $20,000 more after the expected 5% increase in value following the new window installation.
4. Home condition and number of windows
In older homes with many windows in need of replacement, an inspection should be conducted to determine whether any structural damage has occurred from moisture infiltrating around the frame and to identify the windows in need of replacement. If structural damage is found, the subsequent repairs will increase the overall cost.
Imagine you have several drafty windows in an old home. You also have a couple of windows that are borderline, and you firmly believe their replacement can be postponed for a while. In this case, your best option is to request quotes for both categories. Often the cost per window goes down as the number of windows purchased increases. How do you know if new windows will benefit you? Check out this FAQ to self-diagnose your window situation.
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5. Window company
Finally, ensure that you get what you pay for in a contractor by researching, obtaining quotes, and choosing a window company with a stellar reputation. A knowledgeable contractor will give you honest answers to your questions and explain every step of the window replacement process. If you decide to cut corners when you choose your contractor, you can expect to pay less money, but without the guarantee of a long-lasting result.
Make sure your contractor visits the site for a thorough inspection of your windows and explains every aspect of the replacement project. Ask for an estimate and take your time before accepting their offer. If we are talking about a large window replacement project, it is best to discuss the matter with various window companies and choose the best one for the project considering more factors than just their cost for labor.
Is a window replacement project a good investment?
Always! Energy Star estimates that homeowners who replace their old windows with Energy Star certified windows can expect to see an average 15% decrease in their energy costs. In general, the more efficient the window, the higher your upfront cost, and the lower your monthly utility bill.
The Federal government offers tax credits for certain types of window replacements. The credit may not be huge, but everything adds up to offset the cost of your new windows. Once you pay off that initial investment, your energy savings is monthly savings. Check it out here to see if you qualify.
While resale value alone may not quite pay off your investment, if you combine it with tax credits and energy savings, you’re well on your way. Plus, you get to enjoy beautiful new windows in the meantime. In addition to local and state credits, there is also a federal Residential Energy Efficiency Property Credit available for homeowners who upgrade their windows that is worth checking out.
If you have decided that new windows are right for you, contact us today! We’ll give you a free, fair quote. Plus, with our experience, you can expect us to do the job right the first time. That is the biggest saving of all when it comes to window installation.
This article was originally published on October 3, 2018, it has since been updated for accuracy and with new information to reflect current conditions.