You may be considering replacing your windows if you live in an older house and they’re starting to age. You may also be looking for ways to increase your energy efficiency. In either case, double-pane windows are a great option.
Double-pane, or double-glazed windows, offer durability and insulation. They can also help reduce your energy costs. The This Old House Home Media Reviews Team breaks down the costs, options, and benefits of double-pane windows.
Average Double-pane Windows Cost
Double-pane windows are available in almost any size and style, which means there are a lot of factors that affect cost. You could spend anywhere from $300–$5,500 on new double-pane windows. Here are a few of the biggest things homeowners need to consider.
- Material: Different materials require different levels of maintenance and insulation, both of which affect cost.
- Size: The larger the window, the greater the cost.
- Style: Replacing your windows with the existing style will cost less than if you need to adjust your home’s framing to accommodate a new window.
We’ve detailed how these factors affect cost below.
Cost by Window Frame Material
There is a wide range of materials to choose from for double-pane windows, each with pros and cons. Here are the price ranges for the most popular materials.
|Material||Average Cost (Installed)|
Aluminum double-pane windows are durable but generally not well-insulated. Some aluminum-framed windows have added insulation that increases efficiency.
Widely considered one of the best materials, fiberglass-framed windows are well-insulated and require little maintenance. A fiberglass frame can even be manufactured to mimic wood.
Steel-framed windows are another durable, low-maintenance material but with little insulation. Some have an added insulating core, but these windows are more expensive.
Vinyl windows are budget-friendly and require minimal maintenance. However, they’re not very durable, so you may need to replace them again sooner.
Wooden windows are an attractive choice for durability and insulation. However, they require routine maintenance, such as scraping and painting, that adds to your overall expenses.
Cost by Size
Double-pane windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Generally, homes have a mixture of window sizes.
Basement windows, transoms, or single-hung kitchen or bathroom windows are considered small. Medium-sized windows are the most common; standard single and double-hung windows fall into this category. Bay and picture windows, sliding windows, and other custom decorative options are considered large.
The table below outlines double-pane window costs by size, including installation.
|Size||Average Cost (Installed)|
Cost by Window Style
While replacing a window with the same style is common, it’s not required. You can upgrade to a new style if you’re willing to spend more to have the window replacement fitted properly. Below, we’ve outlined the average costs for the most common double-pane window styles.
|Style||Average Cost (Installed)|
Bay windows are 3D-shaped and project outward from your home. They’re most commonly installed as decorative windows at the front of the house and can include a box seat or ledge for additional interior seating. Most bay windows don’t open and are installed with a mixture of other windows throughout the house.
Casement windows open outward and close inward via a crank, similar to a door. They range in cost depending on size and material but are generally a less expensive option.
Double-hung windows have two sashes, or the part of the window that opens, allowing them to open from the bottom and top. Double-hung windows are often medium-sized and used throughout the house.
Picture windows are purely decorative. They’re large and provide sweeping outdoor views, plus lots of natural light.
Single-hung windows are another typical medium-sized window. Unlike double-hung windows, single-hung windows only open and close from one sash at the bottom.
Sliding windows come in a range of sizes. They open by sliding from left to right on a track. Small sliding windows are often installed in basements, while medium- and large-sized windows can be installed throughout the rest of the house.
Factors Affecting Double-pane Window Cost
Material, size, and style are the most influential cost factors for double-pane windows, but there are a few other things to consider, outlined below.
- Add-ons: Additional window features such as an insect screen, low-emissivity (Low-E) coating, or tint or coloring, increase the cost.
- Glass design: Double-pane windows come in a range of glass designs. Though glazed is the most common and the least expensive, other options range from textured to mirrored for an additional price.
- Glass type: Laminated glass is most common, but you can opt for tempered or argon gas-filled glass for an additional cost.
- Hardware: Window hardware isn’t always included in the price. Consider this expense when estimating the cost, especially if specialty hardware is required.
Energy Efficiency Upgrades
Replacing your windows with double-pane windows can increase your energy savings. Choosing an Energy Star-certified product can reduce your energy bills by up to 12%.
Energy-efficient windows can also help keep your home’s temperature consistent, increasing your home’s efficiency and comfort and lowering carbon emissions.
Number of Windows Installed
It’s more expensive to replace just a few windows than many at the same time. The labor for replacing one window costs an average of $150–$250 per window. Replacing 20 or more windows costs $80–$180 per window. So, if it’s within your budget, replacing many windows simultaneously is an excellent way to reduce your overall project cost.
Retrofit Replacement vs. New Construction Window
A retrofit replacement window involves less labor than a new construction window. A new construction window requires the installer to build framing and trim, essentially building out the window from scratch. It can involve modifying the structure of your home’s interior and exterior.
Retrofitting a replacement window means removing the old window and replacing it with a new one of the same size and style. It doesn’t usually require modifications. If any modification is required, it’s usually minimal to ensure a proper fit within the existing framing.
Most well-known window companies manufacture and install double-pane windows. Some companies specialize in certain types of double-pane windows, while others offer various options. Some companies will even create custom double-pane windows for your specific needs.
Benefits of Double-Paned Windows
You may be wondering if double-pane windows are worth the investment. Though single-pane windows are less expensive, double-pane windows offer many benefits that can save you money in the long run. Discover some of these benefits below.
Add Value to Your Home
Replacing your home’s windows with new ones increases property value and appeals to potential buyers. Replacing your windows with double-pane windows can add to this selling point because many buyers are interested in environmentally friendly homes. Double-pane windows reduce the heat escaping from your home, thus preserving energy.
Increase Energy Efficiency
Double-pane windows are a great way to maximize energy efficiency. Whether you live in a warm or cold climate, double-pane windows insulate your home and maximize your energy usage.
Maintain Your Home’s Temperature
Because of their insulating properties, double-pane windows help to keep your home at a consistent temperature. They’re sometimes filled with argon or krypton gas, increasing insulation, reducing draftiness, and adding to your overall comfort.
Save on Electricity Costs
Double-pane windows help you save on electricity by preserving energy and heat, making them a wise long-term investment.
Professional vs. DIY
Installing windows on your own is possible, but there are some things to consider before you decide if you want to do the job yourself or hire a pro.
Professional Window Installation
Professional window installers are trained and can ensure the job is done properly. Any reputable installer should also have insurance coverage, meaning you won’t have to pay if anything unexpected happens during installation. Depending on your project’s scale, professional window installers can complete the job in a day or two.
DIY Window Installation
It’s possible to complete a window replacement project on your own if you’re generally handy and have experience with home improvement projects of a similar scale. However, installing windows can take a lot of time and leave your home as a construction zone for longer than desired if you aren’t entirely sure what you’re doing.
You’ll also need an array of tools to complete the installation. While most tools are standard, you’ll want to ensure they are all on hand before getting started. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Caulk gun
- Cordless drill/driver
- Flat pry bar
- Paint scraper
- Putty knife
- Spade bit (three-eights inch)
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
If you need to replace more than a few windows, it may be best to hire a pro.
Signs That You Need To Replace Your Windows
Here are some telltale signs that you should replace your windows.
- Condensation buildup: Condensation on your windows could allow moisture into your home, leading to many problems, including mold and mildew. Condensation buildup signifies damage to your window’s seals. Sometimes, seals can be replaced, but total window replacement is often recommended.
- Drafts or cold glass: Your windows may not be insulating properly if the glass is cold or you feel a draft. Insulation issues are usually remediated by replacement.
- High electricity bills: Higher electricity bills are another sign of an issue with your windows. If your heating and cooling system works overtime to maintain temperature, it’s likely due to a problem with your windows.
- Worsening functionality: If your windows don’t open or close as easily as they once did, it may be a sign of loose hardware that’s easily fixed, or it could mean that a pane or other component is broken. See a breakdown of window components below, as illustrated in our How to Replace a Window article.
How To Save on Double-pane Windows
Replacing your windows can be expensive, but there are a few ways to reduce costs. These are our recommendations.
- Choose a material based on your needs: Choosing suitable materials for your windows can save you a lot in the long run. Wood windows are an excellent choice for insulation and durability, but they require maintenance. Choose a less fussy material if you think you may have trouble keeping up with the maintenance schedule or don’t want to pay for maintenance materials.
- Opt for retrofit replacement: You may be tempted to upgrade to a new window style, but a retrofit is the way to go if you’re on a budget. You’ll save money if you don’t have to alter your home’s structure.
- Replace multiple windows at once: Replacing most—or all—of your windows at once can save you a lot of money if it’s within your budget. Labor costs per window decrease if you’re installing multiple windows.
Replacing your windows with double-pane windows can be an excellent investment. Though replacing windows on your own is possible, we recommend working with a professional installer if you’re going to replace most or all of your windows. A professional installer can guide you through the process and help you make the best decisions for your home.
We recommend requesting free quotes from at least three contractors before deciding.
FAQs About Double-pane Windows
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