Have your utility bills seemed higher than normal lately? Do you notice that it’s increasingly difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature inside of your home, even with the thermostat set the way you like it?
In either case, it might be time to replace some or all of your windows. Research shows that when heat escapes or enters a building, it accounts for 30% of that property’s total energy use.
Learning more about window replacement cost factors can help you make an informed decision moving forward. Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know.
Why Should You Replace Your Windows?
There are many benefits to upgrading and replacing the windows in your home. Let’s take a look at a few of the top ones.
Reduce Your Energy Costs
As mentioned, windows play a huge role in your home’s overall energy use. If you’re essentially wasting 30% of the air that enters and exits your home, then it’s smart to look into replacement windows as soon as possible.
Modern windows not only look great and last for years but they’re also designed to incorporate new, energy-efficient features that deliver operational benefits and cost savings. Specifically, they’re better-insulated to prevent pesky air loss, keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Not sure if the windows you’re eyeing will have these features? Look for Energy Star rated windows as you shop! Windows that meet Energy Star standards have been rigorously tested to meet industry-leading efficiency metrics.
Keep Your Home Secure
Old, outdated windows are less secure than their newer counterparts. For instance, the seals might be compromised, or the panes of glass might be thinner or more easily broken.
This can expose your home to a range of risks, from accidental impacts to intentional theft. Today’s windows feature new film technology that makes them sturdier and more durable. This means they’re not only harder to break, but they can also prevent injury in the event of a collision.
How does it work? While older windows would simply shatter into large pieces of glass upon impact, updated panes are designed to stay put and splinter into small sections. This can prevent someone from experiencing a significant cut.
Improve Your Home’s Comfort Level
It’s usually easy to tell when an older home still has its original windows. The rooms might appear dark, and you can often hear street noise from inside. Windows were formerly designed to be smaller in size, and their thin composition does little to block outside noise.
By investing in a whole-house window replacement, you can improve the quality of life inside of your home. Not only will they help tremendously with temperature regulation, but you can also widen your existing windows to bring in more natural light. Plus, they’re thicker and sturdier, which also aids in noise reduction.
Another built-in benefit? New windows incorporate UV protection technology. This keeps your loved ones safe from the sun’s harmful rays and can even prevent your furniture and rugs from fading before their time.
Factors That Affect Window Replacement Cost
Now that you’ve decided to replace your windows, you naturally want to make sure that the cost of this project is comfortably within your budget. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all price that applies to every window, for every property.
Rather, there are a few different factors that will influence your bottom line. Let’s review some of the most important ones to consider.
The Material of the Window Frame
There are five common types of window frame materials that most manufacturers will offer. They range in price as well as appearance, and include:
Each material offers its own benefits and drawbacks. For instance, wooden window frames are paintable but are more prone to cracking than fiberglass or aluminum. However, while aluminum frames are studied, they can’t usually offer the traditional, wooden window profile that many homeowners prefer.
In terms of price, vinyl and composite windows tend to be the less expensive of the five. Real wooden window frames can be costly, and the same applies to aluminum and fiberglass.
You can also expect to pay more for specialty frames. If your windows need additional material for insulation or weatherproofing, then those added features can increase your overall price.
The Location of the Window
When you research the cost to replace windows, you might be surprised to find that the same window costs more to install on your upper level than your lower level.
What’s going on? The difference has to do with labor. It’s easier to install windows on a home’s ground level. If you need a crew to install replacement windows in your upper level or your basement, then there will likely be an additional charge, as these areas are a little more challenging to navigate.
The Age of Your Home
The age of your home can impact the average cost to replace windows within it. Homes that are very old will usually include windows in varying, non-standard dimensions. This is because manufacturers decades ago created windows to fit different tastes and trends.
In some cases, it will be impossible to replace the window with a newer model of the exact same size. Usually, installers will have to adjust the opening to be a little larger or smaller, which increases labor costs. There could also be unforeseen structural issues to contend with before window replacement is possible.
The Type of Window You Replace
That big bay window in your breakfast nook will likely cost more to replace than the small window on your ground-floor half bath. The exact type of window you need will affect the cost you can expect to pay.
A few of the most common types of windows include:
- Picture windows (one sheet of glass, fixed frame)
- Single-hung windows (fixed upper sash, a lower sash that slides or swings)
- Double-hung windows (top and bottom sashes can slide or swing)
- Casement windows (open via a hand crank)
- Bay windows (multiple large panes of glass with an angled frame)
- Bow windows (at least five panes of curved glass)
- Glass block windows (let in light but offer privacy, common in bathrooms)
- Skylights (built into the ceiling)
- Sliding windows (single-hung or double-hung windows that open horizontally)
Simple picture windows are usually the least expensive of this group. Specialty windows that require more labor to install, such as skylights, bay/bow windows, and glass block windows, will usually come with a higher price tag.
The Type of Glass You Select
While the frame of your windows will play an important role in their price, the type of glass is also a key factor to consider. While you can purchase single-frame windows, most homeowners choose to go the double-pane route. These windows contain two layers of glass, instead of just one.
Not sure which to choose? Double-pane windows offer several significant benefits over their single-pane counterparts. These include:
- Block sound
- Block heat and cold
- More durable and longer-lasting
The only caveat? While they look great and perform well, double-pane windows will be more expensive than single-pane ones. The same applies to any type of specialty glass that you might choose, such as:
- Tinted glass
- Tempered glass
- Etched glass
- Safety glass
The Time of Installation
While you might be surprised at the different cost variables associated with replacement windows, keep in mind that these windows are usually much less expensive than investing in a full set of windows for a brand-new home.
This is because most replacement windows are designed to work seamlessly with the nail fins inside of your existing window frames. This saves you money in both labor and materials.
Why Hire a Professional Window Company?
It’s always best to team with a professional window replacement company once you decide it’s time to replace your windows. While you might be able to order them from the manufacturer and install them yourself, this isn’t a DIY project. It’s safer, quicker, and more efficient to leave this work in the hands of competent, experienced installers.
A team of experts can help you understand the specific costs associated with each type of window you consider, as well as what they would charge to install them and haul your old windows away.
Revamp Your Windows, Renew Your Home
Your home’s windows play a major role in its curb appeal, energy efficiency, and comfort level. If yours are old or just aren’t working as they should, then it’s time to consider replacing them.
While there isn’t a universal window replacement cost to know, it does help to understand the different factors that your installation company will consider before giving you a quote. If you can’t afford to replace all of yours at once, then start with any that need immediate repair, and work outward from there.
Looking for more lifestyle advice? Check out our “Household” section for additional guides!