Multiple factors determine your window replacement cost. Here are the key things to keep in mind when budgeting.
Window frames that need additional insulation and weatherproofing cost more. However, added insulation reduces air leaks and gaps, helping to lower your monthly energy bills.
Double-pane windows, which have two layers of glass, are more expensive than single-pane windows but block sound, heat, and cold air more efficiently. Tinted, tempered, and safety glass are all more expensive than standard glass, and larger or unusually sized windows will cost more as well as require more labor.
Older homes sometimes have nonstandard window sizes and structural issues that require more careful installation. Worn or deteriorating surrounding structures will need replacement before installing new windows. You may need to invest in custom windows if you want to maintain your current window shapes.
Ground-floor windows require less labor to replace than basement and upstairs windows. Upper-level installations require special equipment and take longer to complete, resulting in higher labor costs.
Replacing windows is less expensive than installing them during new construction. Using retrofit window replacements that fit into your home’s existing structure—rather than new, full-frame windows—will save you substantial money.
Window installers include product warranties to protect your investment. However, the length and stipulations of these warranties vary. Here’s an overview of some common window warranties:
- Limited lifetime warranty: This is the most common warranty type offered by window manufacturers. These warranties cover performance and physical defects but offer limited protection for window parts.
- Lifetime warranty: This warranty offers more comprehensive coverage for all window replacement parts.
- Double lifetime warranty: This is the best coverage available for replacement windows. Homeowners are protected for as long as they own the house, plus the warranty can be transferred to a new owner for the same “lifetime” coverage.
- Transferable warranty: If you sell your home, your warranty transfers to the new owner. However, many transferable warranties are prorated for the coverage period’s duration.
Window manufacturers determine a window’s “lifetime,” meaning how long they think it will last. There are no industry standards for determining window lifetimes, so they vary greatly based on window material and quality.
High-end options, such as wooden windows, typically come with comprehensive warranties, while vinyl windows may have warranties as short as one to two years. In addition, window warranties are often broken into separate warranties for workmanship and components rather than one warranty for both.
Unfortunately, lifetime warranties are not standard in the windows industry. Try to choose an installer that offers lifetime warranties on its windows or doors.