You probably have seen the TV ads for replacement windows: In just a day, you could have all new, energy-efficient, easy-to-clean windows. But are those promises too good to be true? And what is the true cost of such a home upgrade? Here’s what you should consider before making the call to get those new windows installed.
Materials – One of the first choices you’ll make is what material the frames will be made out of. Vinyl is the most common because it’s inexpensive and durable. However, it’s usually only available in white and does not offer a higher-end look that other frames provide. Wood windows are another option. Although it is attractive and easy to customize, it will require continuous maintenance unless they are clad on the outside. Finally, fiberglass is great for both durability and energy efficiency. There’s avariety of styles available for fiberglass windows, however they tend to come with one of the highest price tags.
Energy Efficiency is Everything – This is probably one of the biggest selling points for making an investment in new, modern windows. But how can you find windows that are best for your needs? First, it’s important to understand two measurements for energy efficiency: the U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). U-Factor details how well-insulated a window is. The lower the number, the least amount of hot air that will escape during the cold weather months. SHGC focuses on the amount of heat from the sun that a window lets inside the home. The higher the SHGC rating, the more protection from the heat of the sun your windows will give. You can cut costs by taking into account which of your windows receive the most sunlight and which remain in the shade. You’ll
probably want to invest in the highest SHGC in the sunniest spots of your home. Other areas that don’t see much sunlight don’t need the same level of sun protection.
How Much Can You Expect to Spend on Replacement Windows? Because there are a variety of options for construction materials, costs vary. According to Bob Vila, you can probably expect to pay anywhere from $3000 to $10,000 to have new windows installed in an average size three-bedroom home. Glazing. Double paned glass is by far the most popular option in terms of glass construction. It’s more durable than single pane and more affordable than triple pane options. Double paned windows feature either argon or krypton gas inside the two panels to promote greater insulation. You can also inquire about other glazing options which contain the sun’s heat or noise outside from entering the house.
Design Dictates Functionality. Single hung windows means only the bottom half has a sash to allow it to move. Double hung windows offer the greater functionality for both halves of the window to move. This provides a much easier way to clean windows as both halves can be tilted inward. For more speciality designs, you can look into sliding windows, which move horizontally, awning windows or bay, casement and bow, depending on your home’s architecture. Beyond these basics, you’ll also need to inquire about a company’s installation costs—whether you can save by installing more windows at one time and what their warranty program looks like. Because each window replacement company is different, it’s always best to get several quotes, read online reviews and read the fine print on contracts before signing anything.
As you can see, there are a lot of decisions to be made when it comes to new replacement windows. With just a little bit of research, you can better understand your options and go into an initial consultation knowing what’s right for you. Although replacement windows can be a large investment, the added convenience, safety, and energy savings can make them a great option for a total home upgrade that everyone in the household will appreciate.