How the cost of the replacement window adds up

The cost of replacing home windows could use some transparency. Budget estimates can be sweeping, and the case for energy efficient windows may not open and close.

The national average cost of replacing windows is around $ 500 per window, according to HomeAdvisor, a website for service professionals. Count the number of windows in your house and you will quickly calculate that this is no small upgrade. And that estimate doesn’t include extras like replacing frames or choosing modern designer look treatments

Window replacement considerations

First of all, you want to choose the correct windows. It starts with size and style. Here are the most common types of windows:

  • Double hung: slide open from above and below.

  • Single-hung: One half stays in place while the other half slides to open.

  • Slide: Move horizontally along a track.

  • Bay: protrude from a room.

  • Wing: placed on side hinges and open outwards.

  • Picture: large panes of glass that cannot be opened; Suitable for letting in light and views.

  • Awning: Open the hinges mounted from above outwards.

  • Transom: over a door or other window.

  • Stationary: Fixed windows that cannot be opened.

When frames need to be replaced, you can choose between wooden, vinyl, aluminum, or metal frames, as well as frames made of composite and fiberglass.

Vinyl is a popular choice because of its affordability and durability. However, all the materials available have advantages and disadvantages, and it is important that they match the architectural style of your home. There are good reasons to seek help from a professional contractor.

Glass choices can be a bit dazzling too. From laminated panes for added strength to tinted and tempered glass, your decision will be based on priorities for safety, durability, privacy and cost.

You should also consider the energy efficiency of the windows you are installing. Glass enhancements can include glazing and coatings that reflect heat, as well as gas fills and spacers that create a heat transfer barrier between panes.

How to reduce the installation costs for windows

The cost of replacing windows can vary widely due to the choice of materials, window styles, and improvements – and of course labor costs. If new frames are required for your replacement, your costs can double as the window installation is then considered a “new build”.

To cut your budget, you need to choose cheaper materials and limit the extras. Regarding the work, several estimates from qualified contractors can help you determine whether you are paying a fair price for the work to be done.

Is DIY an option?

The decision whether replacing the windows of your house is a home improvement may depend on how ambitious you are and whether you need to swap out the frames or use window inserts.

To cut your budget, you need to choose cheaper materials.

The Department of Energy’s Building America Solution Center describes the process of replacing windows and frames and says that such a project is usually part of a larger renovation project. That’s probably more than most home improvement enthusiasts are willing to assume.

HomeAdvisor also says that the tools and expertise required to replace windows “belong to the professionals”.

“By the time the average homeowner determines the size of the window they need and has a basic list of the tools and supplies they need, a professional can do half the job,” HomeAdvisor adds, perhaps a little cheeky.

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Do window upgrades increase the house value?

Window changes are likely to contribute less to yours House value than you might think, especially given the cost. But all of the major home improvement jobs won’t completely get back your investment. Remodeling magazine states that on a typical vinyl window replacement project, you get back about 74% of the average national spend of nearly $ 16,000.

What about savings from energy efficient windows?

Let’s calculate the possible energy savings.

  • According to the energy ministry, energy-efficient windows save 7% to 15% of your heating and cooling costs.

  • According to the DOE, the average household spends about $ 2,000 annually on energy bills.

  • And heating and cooling a home accounts for nearly half (48%) of that expense, or $ 960.

At an average cost of $ 500 per window according to HomeAdvisor (very highly efficient windows probably cost more), the numbers add up as follows:

Installation cost: 10 windows x $ 500 = $ 5,000

Annual heating / cooling savings: 15% of $ 960 = $ 144

Years to Recover Costs with Annual Efficiency Savings: $ 5,000 / $ 144 = over 34 years

Vinyl windows have an average lifespan of 20 to 40 years – and most manufacturers only offer a 10 to 20 year warranty – so the energy savings are unlikely to be realized over the effective life of energy efficient windows.

Energy savings estimates vary, however, and window upgrade options and the climate you live in can lead to an entirely different conclusion. Talk to a professional before deciding on energy efficient windows one way or another.

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