Things to Know Before You Replace Windows in Your Home

Posted by Marcos Bicalho

in Windows

Things to Know Before You Replace Windows in Your Home

Replacing the windows in your home is a major home improvement project. New windows are energy efficient, safer, more professionally designed and up-to-date from a standards and safety perspective. But getting new windows installed can be stressful for many homeowners. How do you choose which type of window is best for your home? What are the common problems that are good indicators that it’s time for a window replacement? Here are some things that you need to know before you start a major project to replace the windows in your home.

What are my frame options and what do they cost?

Available frame material options include vinyl, wood, aluminum and fiberglass/composite. Each material has its pros and cons in terms of durability, maintenance requirements and aesthetics.

Estimating the cost to replace your windows can be tricky because several factors impact the final price. The replacement cost will vary based on the number of windows, their size and style and the quality you choose. Assess your needs and preferences before you contact a professional.

Vinyl

Vinyl is the most popular choice as it accounts for up to 75 percent of all window sales. It is durable, low maintenance, affordable, offers excellent insulation properties and is available in various colors and styles. However, vinyl may warp or fade over time in extreme temperatures.

Vinyl windows cost between $300 and $900 per window to replace. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2023 Cost vs Value report, if you replace your windows with vinyl, the increase in the resale value of your home is $14,697. The average job cost in New England is $20,557, giving you a 71.5% return on your investment.

Wood

Wood offers a classic aesthetic appeal and has natural insulation properties. You can paint or stain the wood to give you the look you wish. However, wood is prone to rot, insect damage and warping if not adequately sealed or properly maintained. You also have a higher maintenance requirement such as regular painting or sealing.

Wood window replacements typically cost between $700 and $1,800 per window. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2023 Cost vs Value report, if you replace your windows with wood, the increase in the resale value of your home is $16,873. The average job cost in New England is $25,156, giving you a 67.1% return on your investment.

Aluminum

Aluminum windows are typically the most affordable, usually costing between $300 and $800 per window to replace. They’re also durable and low maintenance, but they’re not as energy efficient as many other window materials, particularly if they don’t have an insulated barrier inside the frame.

Fiberglass – Composite

Composite or fiberglass materials are the newest option in the replacement window market. Both offer exceptional durability, minimal upkeep and excellent insulation. They resist warping, rot, and corrosion, while also being able to replicate the natural look of wood. Additionally, choices in styles and colors may be somewhat limited. Professional installation might be necessary due to the material’s rigidity.

  • Composite windows cost between $600 and $1,500 per window to replace. These windows combine wood with polyvinyl chloride polymers or aluminum to give you a look similar to solid wood.
  • Fiberglass windows cost between $700 and $1,400 per window to replace. They’re highly insulating, weather resistant and low maintenance.

How do I select the right window style for each room?

When it comes to the styles of windows available, there are many to choose. You can match these styles to the needs of each area of your home.

Double-hung

One of the most popular window styles, double-hung windows feature two sashes that slide vertically within the frame, enabling airflow to come from the top, bottom or both. Many models feature tilt sashes, enabling convenient cleaning of both interior and exterior glass from inside the home.

Casement

Casement windows are hinged on one side and open outward with a crank mechanism. This design provides excellent ventilation and allows for unobstructed views when you fully open the window. Casement windows create a tight seal when closed, making them energy efficient and suitable for areas with strong winds or inclement weather.

Sliding

Sliding windows feature sashes that slide horizontally along tracks within the frame. They offer easy operation and are ideal for wide window openings where you want to maximize natural light and views. Sliding windows are space-efficient, making them suitable for areas such as patios or walkways.

Awning

Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward from the bottom, resembling the awning of a tent. They provide excellent ventilation while shielding the interior from rain or debris when open. Awning windows are often installed above or below other window styles to enhance airflow and natural light without compromising privacy or security, making them a popular choice for bathrooms, kitchens and basements.

Picture

Picture windows are fixed windows that do not open or close, serving primarily as a frame for capturing expansive views and maximizing natural light. They come in various shapes and sizes, allowing homeowners to create custom configurations and design statements. Their minimalist aesthetic and unobstructed views make them a timeless choice for modern and contemporary homes.

Bay and bow

These elegant windows protrude outward from the exterior wall, creating additional interior space and panoramic views.

  • Bay windows typically feature a central fixed window flanked by operable windows on either side
  • Bow windows consist of multiple fixed or operable windows arranged in a gentle curve.

These window styles add architectural interest to the exterior of your home and provide versatile seating or display areas indoors. Bay and bow windows are popular choices for living rooms, dining areas, and master bedrooms, offering both aesthetic appeal and functional benefits.

What are my options for the glass?

There are many types of window glass to choose from depending on the intent for the window, the location and features desired.

  • Low-e glass – Manufacturers design low-e glass or low emissivity glass to block certain waves of light from the sun. Low-e glass blocks the UV rays that cause damage to skin and fade your furniture. At the same time, during the winter, the low-E glass will help keep the heat inside your home.
  • Laminated – Laminated glass in a home window can provide exceptional durability and safety since the glass will not shatter into shards if broken. The UV protection helps avoid fading of furniture and fabrics. It’s also a great option for noise reduction, as the thickness helps promote quiet in the home.
  • Insulated – These windows are made up of two or three layers (or panes) of glass with tight seals around the glass. This prevents heat transfer through the glass. The more layers of glass, the more heat has to pass through.
  • Tempered – Tempered glass is much stronger than other types of glass, which is why it is commonly used in home skylights. The biggest advantage is the fact that tempered glass doesn’t break into shards, carrying a much lower risk of injury. Even with the superior strength, it still provides exceptional clarity for an unobstructed view.

Should I replace all the windows in my home at once?

Replacing windows is a big job, not to mention a costly one. Whether you replace all of your existing windows at the same time is up to you based on budget and objectives. If your aim is to enhance the curb appeal of your home with a complete set of new energy-efficient windows, and you have the financial means to do so, doing them all at once may be the way to go.

Typically, we replace windows in stages. It often starts with the front of the house before gradually moving to the rear. Understanding these stages is crucial, especially since the cost per window remains consistent when ordering ten or more. To determine if a whole-house window replacement aligns with your needs, seek guidance from a professional who can assess your budgetary constraints and provide tailored recommendations.

Time to plan your window replacement project

Now that you are equipped with this information, you can make an informed decision about which windows will increase your home’s comfort, energy efficiency and curb appeal. While the initial investment may seem significant, the benefits make it a worthwhile endeavor. When you start noticing signs that it may be time to replace your windows, don’t hesitate to start doing your research and consult with a professional contractor and remodeler for the best options for your home.