Cracking, leaking and wasting energy, my aging windows can’t keep up against the elements anymore. They're definitely showing signs that it's time for an upgrade, and I’m beginning to think realistically about how much replacements will cost. Good news: here’s some help for researching your options.
Here's what homeowners should know about the cost of replacing windows:
Reasons for window replacement
Removing old windows and installing new ones is no easy feat, so you should have a solid reason to take on the project. Remodeling Calculator estimated a 20 to 25 year life span for most windows, which means you might consider upgrading older windows that are long past their prime. Damaged windows that are beyond repair or no longer open or close properly are good contenders for replacement. Windows that let chilly drafts sneak inside or add to unnecessary energy waste may also be due for an upgrade.
The national average window replacement cost is about $500 per window, with high-end options easily surpassing $1,000 each. Several factors contribute to cost variations, including:
- Window type: You can choose from various sizes and styles, including double-hung, single-hung, sliding, bay, casement, picture, awning, tansom and stationary windows. NerdWallet suggested considering regional needs and matching the architectural style of your home when choosing window styles and materials.
- Window frames: Some window replacements do not require changing the frames. If your project does require new frames, you can choose from vinyl, wood, aluminum, metal and fiberglass options - all of which vary in price.
- Materials: The type of glass, frame and general window materials you choose will greatly impact your bottom line. Energy efficient options can also influence upfront and operating costs.
- Warranty: Designed to protect your investment, warranty options will vary depending on the manufacturer. Most come standard, but some companies offer warranty upgrades and features at an additional cost.
- Labor: Installation prices will vary depending on the scope of the project as well as the company or contractor you choose to hire.
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You can call contractors and window manufacturers, as well as use online calculators, to get an idea of how much you can expect to spend on window replacement.
Ways to reduce costs
Multiply 500 by the number of windows you plan to replace, and you'll quickly realize that you're in for an expensive home upgrade. If you're looking to complete your window replacement project on a budget, there are ways to achieve the desired results without breaking the bank. Before you start shopping for new windows, consider if you can instead repair your existing ones rather than replace them. For instance, a jump in energy costs may mean you simply need to reseal your doors and windows with fresh caulk or weather-stripping instead of committing to entirely new windows.
When window replacement is the definite solution for your home, consider low-cost materials, such as generic rather than brand-name windows or basic vinyl options over pricey fiberglass, wood and aluminum ones. Pella also suggested completing the project in phases if you have multiple windows to replace. This can minimize cost and disruptions during the installation process.
For homeowners who feel confident in leading the project, do-it-yourself window replacement can significantly reduce the labor costs associated with professional installation. If you'd rather have someone else handle the glass, talk to your contractor about replacement options. Window inserts, which fit inside existing openings and don't require removing and reinstalling trim, are one of the cost-saving options. Money Magazine estimated that they can save $150 to $300 per window in labor costs. However, you may lose the ability to insulate air gaps, so consider energy costs before committing to this method.
Installing energy efficient windows can offer you long-term savings on energy bills. According to ENERGY STAR, they can save homeowners $126 to $465 a year when replacing single-pane windows, and $27 to $111 for double-pane, clear glass windows.