Have you noticed a pesky draft in the winter months? Or perhaps the blazing sun heats up your living space in the summertime? It might be time to replace your windows.
The price tag on this type of project will depend on a range of factors, including materials, style, size, number needed, and the cost of installation.
How Much Do Windows Cost?
Count on a bill of thousands.
A standard new window, installed, can cost anywhere from $450 to $1,500, according to HomeGuide. HomeAdvisor puts the costs at $300 to $2,100 per window and $100 to $300 each for labor.
Window frames are commonly made of wood, vinyl, metal, or fiberglass. Of those, vinyl windows are the most popular choice. The average cost of a double-hung, double-pane vinyl window, including installation, is $400 to $2,000, HomeGuide says.
Vinyl windows typically last for 30 years, don’t need to be painted, and are easy to clean. Compared with their cheaper cousin, aluminum, vinyl windows excel when it comes to insulation and improving energy efficiency, and they will not rust.
Fiberglass and fiberglass-composite windows are stronger than vinyl. Like vinyl, they offer a high degree of energy efficiency, and with both types of window, there are options to enhance the energy efficiency. Expect to pay $600 to $1,000 for one fiberglass window, installed, according to The Spruce, though some sites give a lower average cost.
Wood windows can lend a classic look. Expect to pay more — around $800 to $3,800, including installation, according to HomeGuide. Wood windows tend to be harder to maintain than vinyl windows, given that the paint can peel or the wood can start to rot if it gets wet.
When Should I Replace My Windows?
If you’re thinking about replacing your windows, consider these questions. First, do your windows show any damage? Are they drafty, or have you noticed an increase in your electrical bills in the winter when the heat is on, or in the summer when the air conditioning is on?
Is there frequent moisture buildup on the outside of the glass, or is moisture trapped between layers of glazing, signaling leaky seals? Can you hear too much noise outside? Are you ready for a new look?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it may be time to consider replacing your windows. Or if you are on a smaller budget, consider repairing them.
If you’re buying a new home, an inspection will be a part of your mortgage process. It’s best to have the windows inspected, and if there are major issues, try to negotiate for their replacement before you close on the house.
Can I Repair Old Windows?
If your windows are in pretty good shape, it may make sense to repair or update them rather than replace them. Doing so can be a cost-effective way to help you save money on energy costs and reduce drafts and moisture in your home.
• Check windows for air leaks.
• Caulk and add weather stripping as needed.
• Consider solar control film that can block heat and reduce glare.
• If a pane is cracked, in a pinch the glass alone can be replaced with an insulated glass unit.
Recommended: What Are the Most Common Home Repair Costs?
How Long Do Windows Last?
The lifespan of a window depends on a number of factors, such as quality and type of material, local climate, and proper installation.
Wood windows can last a long time, but might require a bit of maintenance on your part, whereas vinyl or fiberglass windows may require none.
Your local weather can play a big part. Extreme heat or cold can shorten the lifespan, salt spray from the ocean can corrode window exteriors, while humidity can lead to warping or rotting.
Whether or not a window is properly installed can also impact how long it lasts. If it is sealed improperly, for example, moisture may get in and damage the frame.
Finally, consider how much a window is used. Normal wear and tear on parts in windows that are opened and closed frequently can lead to replacement more often than windows that are rarely opened.
Should I Replace All My Windows at Once?
Whether or not you decide to replace all of your windows at once will largely depend on your budget. Consider that the price to replace 10 windows in a modest house could be several thousand dollars.
If you don’t have the budget to replace all your windows in one go, it’s common to swap windows out in stages. In this case, windows at the front of the house are generally the first to be replaced. They’re public-facing and add to the curb appeal of the home. The windows in the back of the house tend to come next, followed by any upstairs windows.
There may be economies of scale. After ordering 10 or more windows, the price per window tends to stay the same.
What Type of Window Should I Buy?
The first thing to consider is materials. You might consider wood windows if you’re trying to match them to an existing wood exterior or trim. You might choose fiberglass or composite for its durability and ability to look like painted wood. Or you might decide on vinyl for its affordability.
You’ll also want to consider the many types of windows available. For example, single-hung windows are among the most popular and cheapest options. They have a fixed upper window and allow you to open a lower window sash.
Double-hung windows are pricier but have two moving window sashes that allow for increased airflow and easier cleaning. There are also bay windows, arched windows, sliding windows, and many more to choose from.
The glass option you choose is an important decision. There are a variety of insulating options, such as dual-pane or triple-pane windows. Glass can be treated with a low-emittance coating to reflect heat in the summer and keep it in in the winter.
In climates where you need to cool the house for much of the year, consider three-coat low-e glazing, which best reduces heat from the sun. In colder climates that require more heating, it may make sense to go with a two-coat low-e treatment.
The space between glass may be filled with a nontoxic gas that can provide better insulation than air.
What’s the Best Time of Year for Replacing Windows?
Spring, summer, and fall tend to be the most popular times to replace windows. That’s because in the warmer months, you don’t have to worry about winter air getting into your house, requiring you to jack up your heat or close off rooms to control drafts. These factors can be especially irksome if you’re having multiple windows replaced.
Weather can affect how materials behave. For example, caulk doesn’t adhere well in extreme cold, nor does it cure well in very high temperatures. As a result, you may want to aim to replace windows when temperatures are between 40 and 80 degrees.
If you can stand the cold, you may be able to secure a discount to have windows installed in the winter. A contractor can help you decide on the right time of year to have your new windows installed.
What does it cost to replace windows? It depends on the materials (wood, vinyl, fiberglass), style, size, and labor costs. Think of new windows as a long-term investment that may provide energy savings, visual appeal, and, potentially, enhanced resale value.
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get some home repairs or renovations done, see what a SoFi can offer. With a SoFi Home Improvement Loan, you can borrow between $5,000 to $100,000 as an unsecured personal loan, meaning you don’t use your home as collateral and no appraisal is required. Our rates are competitive, and the whole process is easy and speedy.
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