Most windows in residential homes can last for two decades or more when properly maintained. In fact, windows that are made using high-quality materials can last up to five decades before requiring replacement. However, windows are more than just functional structures in the home—they play a significant role in determining the home’s aesthetic appeal, value, security, and energy consumption.
Windows that are currently decades old may be too old school to meet any extra needs beyond function. Such windows can make the property vulnerable to break-ins, increase energy losses, reduce the overall visual appeal of the property, and decrease the value of the home. For these reasons, there is a need to replace windows that are merely acting as functional structures.
Before replacing windows, one should understand the factors that come into play when calculating the cost of the project. This guide will look into window replacement costs and the factors that inform these costs.
Window Replacement Cost: Key Factors and Installation
The national average cost vs value of window replacement is $500 per window. However, this is just an estimated average based on standard projections. Factors such as the frame material, types of glass, insulation, energy efficiency considerations, and window style determine the ultimate cost of the project. Other factors such as the size of the window and labor cost also come into play. As a result, there is no fixed window replacement cost. The price can be as low as $250 or as high as $1200 per window depending on these factors.
Impact of Window Type, Material, and Size on Replacement Cost
Window type or style, material, and size play a critical role in determining the overall window replacement cost. This section will look at how each of these factors impacts cost, and the amount a residential homeowner can expect to spend on the project based on these specifications.
1. Window Type
There are three common types or styles of windows:
- Double hang windows
- Classic windows
- Sliding windows
Double hung windows are the most common style in most residential homes. The windows have sashes on the upper and lower sections, and these allow the window to slide up and down. Installing double hang windows costs an average of between $300 and $800 depending on the size and material.
Classic windows are almost similar to double hang ones. However, in this style, only the bottom pane moves—the upper one remains stationary. These windows cost $175 to $350 to replace. Although they seem cheap, classic windows are scarce in the market.
The other used window style is the sliding window which is common in most contemporary homes. The windows slide to the sides, and they are mostly large and visually appealing. Sliding windows can cost around $325 to $1200 depending on the size and materials.
There are other less common window styles such as bay, awning, casement, round, and rectangular windows. The cost of these will depend on the complexity of the design and the materials required.
2. Window Materials
The most common window materials today are wood and vinyl. However, others such as stainless steel, aluminum, and composite are also used. Wood is the most expensive material, but it tends to last longer when properly maintained and protected from the elements.
Composite is quite affordable as it is a mixture of PVC and wood fibers, and it is an excellent option for homeowners working with a tight budget. That said, the material can determine the longevity of the window; therefore, it is essential to consider durability and sturdiness over cost.
3. Window Size
Large windows generally cost more to install than smaller windows. If one is installing many windows, the cost will be even higher. However, the quality of the glass, materials used, style, and complexity of the design will also determine the overall cost. Therefore, size alone cannot be used to conclusively determine the price of the project.
Energy Efficiency and Window Replacement Cost
One important factor to consider when replacing windows is the energy efficiency. Single-pane windows tend to be the least energy efficient. On the other hand, double and triple-pane windows are considered the most efficient. These can reduce energy consumption in the home by at least 25% as the extra glazing provides insulation and prevents heat loss. Double-pane windows are more affordable than their triple-pane counterparts, and they still provide decent energy savings.
Impact of Labor on Overall Cost
Labor is an essential determinant of the overall cost of window replacement. In fact, it can be as much as 40% of the overall cost. Labor comprises of tasks such as removal of old windows and framing, installation, caulking, and cleaning up. If the project is complex, the labor costs will increase, especially if the replacement takes longer than anticipated. On the plus side, quality labor can determine how well the windows will hold up over the decades. Therefore, it is worth hiring a professional instead of DIY’ing and incurring huge repair costs in the future.
Labor and the number of windows to be replaced are by far the greatest determinants of the overall price of a window replacement project. However, whether one is replacing two or ten windows, there is a need to pay attention to factors such as the material quality and energy efficiency. The replacement may set one back several thousand dollars, but it will be worth it in the long run. Repairs are minimal, energy inefficiencies are non-existent, and the windows can hold up to inclement weather without getting damaged.