If you’re a homeowner, you’ll likely need to replace a window or two at some point in time. Whether an existing window has loosened in the frame, or a wild baseball throw has shattered the glass, you’ll be on the hook for the repairs.
But with dozens of different styles on the market, the cost of a window replacement project can vary greatly. Here is a guide to making the decision.
When Do You Need New Windows?
Obviously, if a pane breaks or your window is visibly malfunctioning, it’s time to for a replacement. But these aren’t the only times you might want to replace the windows on your home.
You may also want to consider replacing your windows if:
- You want to cut down on energy costs. Heat gained and lost through windows accounts for 25% to 30% of all HVAC energy use. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save $126-$465 a year by replacing single-pane windows.
- You’ve noticed water penetration. Consider replacing any window that has leaks, or if the frame appears moldy or rotted, or there is condensation between the layers of glass.
- Your home was built before 1960. Homes built before this time may have windows with lead-based paint on them. You should remove this hazardous material ASAP.
Most window manufacturers offer warranties between 10 and 40 years, which is the average lifespan of a window. Once the warranty period is up on your current windows, you might want to consider replacing them—or at least having them evaluated by a professional.
The Cost of New Windows
The cost of new windows depends largely on the type of window you’re choosing, as well as the material it’s made of. Energy-efficient materials also tend to be more expensive.
Here are the costs of different window frame materials. Keep in mind that larger and more ornate windows will cost more to replace.
- Vinyl: $100 to $900
- Aluminum: $75 to $400
- Wood: $150 to $1,300
- Composite: $300 to $1,200
- Fiberglass: $500 to $1,500.
Here is how the cost of window panes breaks down by style:
- Storm: $50 to $300
- Single-hung: $100 to $400
- Double-hung: $150 to $650
- Sliding/folding: $150 to $800
- Casement: $200 to $1,400
- Picture: $300 to $1,200
- Bay: $1,000 to $4,500
The most common type of window, single-hung, has a classic look and opens only on the bottom pane.
If you want something more energy efficient, consider “triple glazed windows” which have a special coating between its layers that adds insulation and security. These typically come with a 10%-to-15% price premium.
Don’t forget to factor in labor costs, which are typically priced per window. According to Home Advisor, each new window will cost anywhere between $150 to $800 to install. Higher-difficulty and more detailed projects typically cost more.
Finding the Right Window Installer
Start by getting quotes from several contractors. Make sure each quote breaks down the costs for labor, materials and other expenses. This will allow you to choose the most cost-effective option.
When vetting potential contractors, make sure to take into account:
- Licensing and certification: Certifications from groups like the American Window and Door Institute or InstallationMasters can indicate a more experienced contractor.
- Ratings and reviews: In addition to reading local reviews, check for complaints on the Better Business Bureau website. You can also ask contractors to provide references from previous customers.
- Product lines: Some contractors are only trained on specific products and manufacturers. Be sure to choose one who has experience in the exact windows you’re looking to purchase—or sells those windows themselves.