“How much do replacement windows cost?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions in the industry, yet one of the most difficult to answer. The truth is that there isn’t a straightforward answer in most cases for window replacement cost, and the price tag varies between each company.
Before you contact a window company for your quote, it helps to understand the variables that influence price. A quote is not your final bill, and the overall cost can change if complications or unforeseen events arise.
1. Replacement Window Quality: High End vs. Low End
Perhaps one of the biggest influences on the price of a replacement window is quality. All replacement windows are not created equal, and quality ultimately reflects on the price.
In fact, quality is one of the biggest reasons you’ll find such large price variations between replacement windows. Frame material is one of the primary indicators for window pricing. The two most popular frame material options for residential windows are vinyl and wood. Even though wood and vinyl can offer the same benefits in terms of quality, there is a big difference when it comes to price.
Vinyl is the most cost-effective option for replacement windows. As long as you select a high-grade vinyl window, you’ll see energy savings down the road and more money in your wallet. They require very little natural resources and they are easy to install for a skilled contractor. Best of all, it costs $0 to maintain vinyl windows.
Real wood windows are beautiful, but it’s no secret that they are significantly more expensive than vinyl replacement windows. You can expect to pay anywhere from 30% to 50% more per window when you choose wood over vinyl. This is because they use limited natural resources that must be harvested and transported. It’s real wood and must be transported from places like Canada to manufacture the window frames.
Sure, wood is an excellent insulator, but energy efficient, vinyl window frames are filled with foam to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It’s the same insulation effect as wood but at nearly half the cost.
A Quick Note on Fiberglass Windows
Fiberglass windows are an alternative to both wood and vinyl windows. These are high-quality windows but are usually priced about 30% higher than vinyl.
2. Energy Efficient Glass Packages
When you hear about windows that cost $189, energy efficient gases are NOT included within the panes. Otherwise known as inert gases, argon and krypton, these gases serve as insulators to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
These cheap windows typically do not include any application of low-e. This is an invisible coating that works to prevent your home from overheating during the summer. It also prevents floors and furniture from fading.
So, what can you expect to pay when you opt for windows that include an inert gas and low-e?
In terms of gas, argon is less dense than krypton, making it the cheaper option between the two. Adding either of these gases and low-e to your window can increase the cost by roughly 15%.
While it’s pricier to invest in energy efficient windows, remember that they can help you lower your energy bills by hundreds of dollars each year. Not to mention, you can get a return on investment of up to 75%.
3. Your Window’s Installation Process
There are two types of window installation: full-frame installation and pocket installation.
This is a quick snapshot of the difference between the two:
Full-Frame Window Installation:
This is the process of replacing the entire window. Everything comes out during a full-frame window installation, including the window, the sill, and trim work. This process is a bit slower than pocket installation and there is often touchup work required after the job is finished.
Pocket installation is the quicker method of replacing your old windows. It is the process of sliding a new window inside an existing frame. This is also known as a “retrofit” or “insert window.” You’d choose pocket installation when you want the best return on investment for your new upgrade.
Regardless of the window installation type you choose, labor is involved either way. This is another factor that must be calculated when it comes to the cost of your windows.
Most window contractors charge per hour or per project for window installation. Installation is often completed on the same day, but sometimes it can take 2-3 days depending on the number of windows installed and the weather.
4.Warranty and Certifications
Just like the price of windows, warranties vary from company to company. Depending on what your warranty covers on your windows, it will reflect in your overall price.
When a window company includes a warranty with its product, you’re getting a better-quality window with the manufacturer standing behind it. You’re essentially paying for a strong warranty and a great product.
Windows without a warranty will often cost less. The bad news is if anything goes wrong with the window, whether it’s aesthetic or performance-based, you’re left footing the bill. You might even have to replace the entire window out of your own pocket.
On the other hand, if the window has a warranty, it’s built into the cost. If anything goes wrong, it’s most likely covered by your warranty. You never want to invest in windows without a warranty—this is just asking for trouble and you will likely always pay more one way or another.
5. Replacement Window Styles and Sizes
Another determining factor of window replacement is the style. Windows that contain numerous pieces and parts, such as bow and bay windows, will cost more than a double hung window. The size of the window can also make a difference in window replacement cost. Larger windows will cost more since additional materials are needed for construction.
Vinyl replacement windows are a wonderful return on investment, yielding an ROI of 72.3%! This is one of the top 5 best ROIs for home remodeling in the country.
Beyond that, the price of great quality windows will continuously prove its value through a lifetime of performance. They also bring benefits that improve the quality of your life.
Investing in new vinyl windows is one of the best choices to make for your home because they can save you up to $500 each year on energy bills, depending on your region and the state of your new windows. They also boost curb appeal, providing a priceless feeling of pride in your home. Sign up for your free estimate today!
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