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2018 Window Replacement Cost Guide for Home Owners

New windows are a large expense and a decision homeowners will have to live with for decades, so getting it right is essential.

via Accent Home Improvements

We’ll cover basic window styles and their costs next, but first you should know that you have three main options for replacement windows: insert or pocket windows, full-frame replacements and sash kits:

Insert/Pocket windows: these are designed as replacement windows. The interior trim and old window sashes are removed. If the original window frame is in good condition, it can remain.

The replacement window is inserted into the pocket space left by the old sashes, and it is secured to the side jambs.

Insert windows cost more to install. Because the window fits into an existing window frame, there is more framing and slightly less window pane than with full-frame windows. They are installed from inside the house.

Full-frame windows: these are also called new construction windows. They have a nailing fin around the perimeter used to secure them to the house from the outside of the home before the nailing fin is covered by siding and trim.

Full-frame windows are more air-tight than replacement windows, but are only a cost-effective solution if you’re also replacing your home’s siding.

Sash kits: The sashes are the moving parts of a window – glass surrounded by a wood frame. Sash kits are brand-specific, so they’re used when replacing a damaged window rather than a house full of old windows. Sash kits are made for a very limited number of window brands and series.

Cost

On average, you can expect to pay between $450 and $850 to install a new vinyl replacement window. This translates to a typical project cost of $4,500 to $8,500 to install/replace 10 vinyl windows in a typical house.

Note: Your home’s location and local real estate prices and/or local economy/cost of living, window accessibility (1st floor vs. 3rd floor) and scope of additional work, window quality, and project size will materially impact costs.

Below we list total average per-window costs for popular residential options:

  1. Basic aluminum: $300-$525
  2. Composite (See materials below): $325-$700
  3. Basic vinyl: $350-$600
  4. Better vinyl: $475-$825
  5. Basic wood: $500-$850
  6. Fiberglass: $600-$900
  7. Better wood: $700-$1,000
  8. Best wood: $900-$1,350 and up

Cost of Materials:

Let’s overview material costs by basic, better, and best window quality.

  • Basic windows: $85-$325
  • Better windows: $325-$800
  • Best windows: $550-$1,500
  • Fixed (non-opening) windows: 15%-30% less than windows that open and close.
  • Bay and Bow windows: 2-4 times the cost of standard windows depending on window types used to construct the assembly. For example, a bay window might include a large fixed window with 1 or 2 smaller fixed or moving windows on either side.

Did you Know?

Windows come in three grades: Pre-made, semi-custom and fully custom.

Premade windows are built in a limited number of standard sizes and options. Most premade wood windows are unfinished or primed inside and out. New construction and replacement windows are available. Most fall in the Basic cost range above, though a few are Better windows.

Semi-custom windows are the most popular windows. They aren’t built until an order is placed. They are made in standard sizes, usually in 1/8” to 1/2” increments. These are Better and Best window series. The more expensive the series, the more options and accessories are offered.

Fully custom windows are the most expensive. There are no standard sizes. Every window opening is measured, and a window is built to fit it perfectly.

Fully custom windows are mostly used for old homes with non-standard or imprecise window openings. Most Better and Best window series offer semi-custom and custom sizes. A few are custom-only.

Before we move to replacement window installation cost, here are three simple factors that will determine window replacement prices.

Factors Affecting the Price of Replacement Windows

The three factors that determine window cost are:

Materials and Quality:

  • Vinyl ($-$$$)
  • Aluminum ($-$$$)
  • Fiberglass ($$-$$$)
  • All-wood ($$-$$$)
  • Wood composite ($$-$$$)
  • Wood windows with exterior cladding ($$$-$$$$)

Material pros and cons are discussed in the steps section below:

Size of the windows: Price goes up with window size in any window series.

Accessories: Some are standard with premium windows. When they are options, adding extras will raise the cost of the window. Accessories are discussed below.

The Cost of Installation (Warrantied Labor) for New Construction Vs. Replacement Windows:

If your remodeling project includes new siding, then you can choose new construction windows to be installed after the old siding has been removed and before the new siding is installed. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase replacement windows.

  • New construction window installation/labor only cost: $140-$235 per window
  • Replacement window installation/labor only cost: $195-$350 per window
  • Bay/Bow window installation/labor only cost: $500-$700 per window assembly

Average Total Cost Per Window Installed:

Combining the cost of windows with the cost of professional installation, here are, once again, per-window costs for popular residential options:

  1. Basic aluminum: $300-$525
  2. Composite (See materials below): $325-$700
  3. Basic vinyl: $350-$600
  4. Better vinyl: $475-$825
  5. Basic wood: $500-$850
  6. Fiberglass: $600-$900
  7. Better wood: $700-$1,000
  8. Best wood: $900-$1,350 and up

Did you Know?

Most window series can be ordered as replacement/insert windows or full-frame new construction windows. Some series, such as Infinity by Marvin and Renewal by Andersen, are available only as insert windows.

Did you know?

Installing new windows primarily to reduce energy use isn’t a cost-effective solution.

It will take 25-40 years in lower energy costs to pay for new windows. It only makes financial sense to replace windows when they are beyond their useful life due to broken seals, rotted frames or widespread repair needs.

Of course, choosing to replace windows because you’re updating your home and/or prefer a different style is a matter of personal choice.

New Window Buying Process: 4 Steps

These four steps will help you select windows that will combine the looks, performance and durability you want for your home.

Step 1: Choose a Style or Combination of Styles

Double-hung and casement windows are the two most popular styles, but not your only options. Here are the available styles with their pros and cons.

Single-hung windows: These are the lowest-cost windows. Only the lower sash moves, so they provide less ventilation.

ReliaBilt 150 Vinyl Double Pane Single Strength New Construction Single Hung Window
via Lowe’s

Did you know?

Many window series including affordable lines like the Andersen 200 and better series like the Pella 750 Designer Series don’t include single-hung windows.

Both single- and double-hung windows can be hard to raise when you must reach over a countertop.

Double-hung windows: They’re available in most window series. Both sashes move. Partially lowering the upper sash allows warm air from the room to escape. Partially raising the lower sash allows cool outside air to enter.

ReliaBilt 455 Vinyl Double Pane Single Strength New Construction Double Hung Window
via Lowe’s

Sashes on most double-hung windows tilt in, so you can wash the outside from inside your home. As with single-hung windows, the sash frames obstruct your view out the window.

Casement windows: They are available in most window series. Most open with a crank, but some push-out casement windows are available.

VistaLuxe Casements hero
via Kolbe Windows

Your view is unobstructed. Screens are on the inside, so they’re not damaged by the elements, but they can get dusty and must be vacuumed periodically.

Casement windows shouldn’t be installed where they can be a hazard when open, such as over a patio or deck. Cheap casement window cranks are prone to wearing out.

Awning windows: These windows are much like casement windows with the same pros and cons.

MI 1665 awning replacement window
via MI Windows

Most awning windows push out and up using a lever and arm rather than crank. A version of the awning window is the bin window that opens in from the top.

Fixed accent windows: These windows are available in many standard and almost any custom sizes and shapes.

400 series specialty hero fixed accent windows

Rectangular, round, half-round and windows with 6 and 8 sides are popular.

Did you Know?

Most window series come in multiple styles. For example:

This makes it possible to put together a window package with several types of windows. It’s common, for example, to install casement or double-hung windows on either side of a large picture/fixed window or awning windows beneath fixed windows.

Step 2: Choose a Material

Each window material has its pros and cons. These are your options:

Aluminum: Aluminum frame windows are reasonably priced, lightweight and strong. They are very energy-inefficient because heat transfers through aluminum easily. They cause a home to lose heat in winter and gain heat in summer.

Aluminum windows are most common in warm climates. The aluminum can be bare or powder-coated. With time, bare aluminum develops a patina that some feel mars its appearance. Aluminum is recyclable.

Composite: These materials combine wood fibers with plastic. Andersen Fibrex, 60% PVC vinyl and 40% recycled pine, is the most popular composite.  It is used for the entire frame of Andersen 100 Series and Renewal windows and the exterior of Andersen Architectural Collection A-Series.

Vinyl: This material is valued for its easy maintenance, strength and good durability. Color choice is limited to white, off-white, almond and similar light colors.

Fiberglass: You’ve got more color options with fiberglass than vinyl, but darker colors might fade with time. Fiberglass is very strong and low-maintenance, usually a blend of fiberglass fibers and bonding resin.

Brands include Pella Impervia, Milgard Ultra and Marvin Infinity are all-fiberglass windows.

Marvin Integrity comes in all-fiberglass and wood interior/fiberglass exterior options.

Marvin integrity all ultrex casement windows

Andersen Architectural A-Series feature Fibrex exteriors coated in fiberglass. Fiberglass is recyclable.

Andersen A-Series: Architectural Windows

Wood: The beauty of natural wood is unsurpassed. Entry-level wood windows like Andersen 200 and Jeld Wen W-2500 wood windows can be quite affordable. The problem with non-clad wood exteriors is susceptibility to moisture that causes warping, fading and rot.

Wood with clad exterior: Windows clad with aluminum or vinyl give you the beauty of wood inside and a weather-resistant exterior. The biggest drawback to these windows is cost.

Step 3: Choose Extras and Features

Semi-custom and custom windows can be accessorized to produce exactly the look and performance you want. Here’s a broad overview of window extras, options and accessories.

Wood Type: Pine is standard, but many lines offer multiple wood species options. Andersen Architectural Collection E-Series are built in 10 wood species; Marvin Ultimate in 6, as just two examples.

Jeld Wen Custom windows come is 6 standard species and can be built in select exotic wood species depending on availability when you order.

Jeld Weld Custom Wood Bay Windows

Interior and exterior finishes and colors: Wood windows can be left bare. For $50-$125 a window, they can be pre-finished with stain, primer or paint. The pricier the window, the more color options you have.

Some window styles, such as Andersen Architectural Collection E-Series windows, can be finished with a custom color you choose.

E-Series Double-Hung Window

Exterior cladding: Vinyl and aluminum cladding is used to give wood windows a weather-resistant jacket.

Depending on the line, your cladding options range from less than 10 to more than 30 colors with custom colors available at premium cost.

Glass:

Two panes of glass with air or argon gas between them is standard.

Most window glass now has a Low-E (emissivity) coating.

The coating reflects heat and is applied to the inside, outside or both sides of the glass. Glass packages are also called glazing.

Other glass options include:

  • Tempered, impact-resistant glass for security and for high-wind zones like coastal high-velocity hurricane zones (HVHZ)
  • Laminated shatterproof glass
  • Tinted and/or obscured/textured glass

Hardware style and finish options: As the cost of the window series goes up, you have more hardware options.

Hardware for vinyl and fiberglass windows is usually coated. Metal finishes are popular for wood windows including chrome, satin and polished nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and polished and antique brass.

Grilles: Either between the glass or outside the glass, grilles add architectural interest at your option. True-divided light and simulated divided light grilles are made in a wide range of styles.

Trim options: Most semi-custom and custom window lines in all materials offer trim options for the interior and exterior of the window.

The trim options in various profiles enhance the look, whether sleek and contemporary or a thicker trim for a traditional or rustic appearance.

Between-glass blinds and shades: These are available on a few premium lines

Screens: The most common options are standard aluminum or vinyl screens or premium vinyl or fiberglass screens with finer threads that are less visible.

Step 4: Hire a Qualified Installer

Windows need to be properly installed to be airtight and function smoothly. Windows can be DIY installed, but if you’re not experienced with the work, hiring a pro makes sense.

We recommend getting several written estimates for your project, whether they are for the same or different brands.

  • Gather names of potential installers from friends that have had windows replaced
  • Check online reviews from Google Reviews, Yelp and the BBB
  • Call the window contractors that have the best ratings
  • Meet with several to discuss your project, window options and prices for the windows and installation
  • Choose an installer with the best blend of installation experience and competitive pricing

If you’d like to shorten the time it takes to get estimates from weeks to days, our no-obligation, free estimate service partner can help.

Use the form to answer a few questions about your project, and you’ll receive written estimates from several of the top installers in your area.

The contractors are licensed, insured and pre-screened, and they know they are competing for the work.

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