Replacing the windows on your home can seem like a daunting undertaking. It’s important to take into consideration the window type, material and location to better understand the projected costs. The average price of replacing a mid-range double-hung window is about $600, but that number can range from $200 to as high as $1,200.
Read on to learn more about which factors are most likely to play a role in the cost of your window replacement project.
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Window Replacement Cost
|Window Cost Estimator*|
*These costs are per window and assume a mid-range double-hung window.
Window Replacement 101c
If you’re contemplating a window replacement project on your home, you’re probably hoping to crunch a few numbers before you begin soliciting quotes. There are many factors to consider that will impact both your material and labor costs.
The average double-hung vinyl window will cost you about $600 to $950 to replace and it’s reasonable to expect to spend $100 to $300 per window on labor. A typical hourly rate for a window installer or contractor is about $40 per hour. On average, it will take a professional team of installers about an hour to install a double-hung window on the ground floor.
On average, windows will last you 15 to 25 years if properly installed and maintained. Window replacement projects also have one of the highest cost-to-value returns of any renovation project you could undertake, averaging 71% to 78% of return at resale.
The main cost factors you need to consider when choosing your windows are the type of windows you’re replacing and the frame material. Other things like whether you opt for energy-efficient upgrades, what brand you choose to purchase and where on your home the windows are located will also impact the price. Read on for a more detailed breakdown of the various cost factors when replacing windows.
Window Frame Material
The material you choose for your window replacements will have the biggest impact on both cost and aesthetics. Not only will the material determine the brand options available to you, but it will also impact long-term maintenance costs. The going advice is to always replace your windows in-kind or with higher quality material so you don’t lose value on your home.
In our analysis below we will provide a brief overview of the pros and cons for the most common materials and cost averages for a standard-sized double-hung window. It’s important to note that the size and type of the window will also have an impact on this number, something we will cover in the next section.
Aluminum windows are by far the least expensive but are not particularly common in residential applications because of their less versatile profiles. Their tendency to be less efficient and well-insulated than other materials such as vinyl or wood also makes them a hard sell. That being said, with upfront costs averaging $100 to $400 per window unit, aluminum frames are great for the budget-conscious modern homeowner.
Vinyl is the most popular material for windows as it is both budget-friendly and low maintenance. These windows offer great energy efficiency while also providing a classic look with wood-like trims and profiles for the exterior and interior of your home. While there is a lot of variation across manufacturers, you can expect to pay $200 to $500 on a mid-range double-hung window replacement.
By far the most traditional material, wood is great for traditional projects and may sometimes even be required in historical districts. It is also one of the most expensive options, ranging from $300 to $600 per window unit, although the wood species can impact that cost. Wood windows require the most maintenance on the list, with regular repairs and finish touch-ups needed to protect their integrity.
Composite windows are made of a combination of PVC polymers, similar to vinyl windows and wood fibers. They offer much of the same aesthetic options as wood but with the energy efficiency and durability of vinyl, making them the best of both worlds. While they tend to be more expensive upfront, averaging around $500 to $800 per unit, they require practically no maintenance once installed.
Last on the list is the fiberglass window. Fiberglass windows offer many of the same advantages as vinyl windows with their durability, energy efficiency and aesthetic flexibility, but are a bit more robust. All that said, they aren’t particularly common due to their price tag which averages $800 to $1,200 per unit.
Window Type and Size
It is simple to understand that the bigger the window the higher the price, but the type of window you choose may also have unintended consequences on your initial costs. Below are some of the most common types of windows.
Most of the cost estimates below are based on a standard mid-range vinyl or wood window and include labor costs, an important factor when considering window types as some require significantly more labor than others.
The picture window is your standard fixed window. Picture windows can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and tend to be custom for that reason, making them more expensive than you’d expect. For a relatively standard replacement picture window expect to spend $300 to $800 including labor.
Considered the most “old-fashioned” window type, single-hung windows have a fixed top sash and an operable bottom sash that slides vertically up and down for ventilation. It is recommended that you only install single-hung windows on the ground floor as their inoperable top sash can be difficult and even dangerous to clean on upper levels. On average, you will spend about $100 to $400 on a single-hung replacement unit including labor.
Similar to the single-hung window, a double-hung window is the standard window on most homes today with both an operable upper sash and bottom sash. These windows are great for maximizing air circulation in your home and are easier to clean than their single-hung siblings. Costs vary significantly based on material, but on average they run about $300 to $600 per unit including labor.
Casement windows open with a hand-crank, which can also act as a stopper to help resist wind when open and also lock for security. A casement window typically opens outward with hinges on the left or right side, but in other orientations, it can be called an awning (hinges on the top) or a hopper (hinges on the bottom).
These windows offer maximum ventilation and tend to be well priced, averaging $300 to $600 per unit with labor, although larger windows can increase cost due to the expanse of glass.
A sliding window consists of two sashes, one fixed panel and one that slides horizontally. Sometimes called gliders, these windows are often used in larger applications on ground levels where they can be more easily cleaned. A typical sliding window can cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000 to install depending on the manufacturer as many high-end options are available.
Although they aren’t deployed on the sides of your home, skylights are still a common window type to replace. Because they are more labor-intensive to install than typical windows, skylights can be quite costly to replace, ranging from $900 to $2,400 apiece depending on operability, location and size.
Storm windows are an additional pane of glass installed to the exterior of your windows to provide extra insulation and protection against damage. They can be installed as a permanent addition or as a temporary removable layer. Cost-wise, they range from $150 to $450 per window and on average homeowners spend around $5,000 to apply them on all windows of their home.
There are many other window types to choose from, but these cover the usual suspects you are likely to run into and will hopefully help you better understand the upfront costs.
Energy Efficiency and Glass Type
If you’re hoping to maximize the savings on your utility bills or silence a particularly noisy street you should opt into a few energy-efficient upgrades. Most windows now come with double-paned glass, which offers great insulation value and noise cancellation.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can also opt for argon-filled glass which helps add frost resistance and noise cancellation. Other options include triple-paned glass, laminated glass and Low-E coatings, which minimize UV light without compromising your view.
On average homes that upgrade their windows will see a 12% savings on their energy bills, but adding these extra energy-efficient upgrades can increase that savings and the overall comfort of your home.
While the frame material and window type are the biggest factors to consider in the cost of your window replacement, a slew of other smaller factors can play a role in cost outcomes.
If, for example, you have an older home with windows that are no longer considered a standard size, you may end up needing to place a large order for custom windows. This can increase your costs by upwards of 25% to 50% depending on the material and window type.
Another factor is the location of your windows, as ground floor installation tends to take less time and require less equipment than, say, replacing windows on the fourth floor of a brownstone or a skylight on your roof. The location of your home is also a large factor as labor costs will vary and tend to be higher in larger urban communities.
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Hiring a Professional
Although it can be tempting to DIY your window replacement, we highly recommend hiring a licensed contractor. Contractors are able to purchase the windows at wholesale rather than retail prices, which can save a significant amount of money. They are also better prepared, should you encounter any surprises on the job, and can help ensure you have considered all relevant local codes and ordinances.
When soliciting bids from contractors or licensed installers it’s best to get a few, at least three, to compare. All bids should include information on the cost of materials and an estimate of labor costs for the install.
They may also include information regarding their rates, should there be any discoveries while on-site, such as mold or wood rot. Other information regarding building permit costs, site protection and clean-up should also be included along with their warranty policy for the work done.
Ways to Save
Be sure to look into potential rebates available directly from the window manufacturer, or even from your utility company. In some cases, you may also be able to take advantage of government incentives which vary from state to state.
In general, placing larger orders and opting to replace all of your windows at once can lead to savings both on the materials and on the labor as certain overhead expenses will remain the same for a contractor regardless of if they’re replacing one of your windows or ten.
Full Frame Windows vs. Retrofit Replacements
Afull frame replacementinvolved removing the entire window frame and sash. However, a retrofit, involves only removing the window sash, leaving the frame and trim in place. A full frame replacement is more labor-intensive, and therefore more expensive, than a retrofit.
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How much does window insulation cost?
Expect to pay$2 to $3 per full-size window for insulation kits if you plan to do it yourself. If you want to hire a pro to do the work for you, expect to pay $5 to $8 per window.
Are new home windows worth the investment?
In most cases, yes. New windows will increase the resale value of your home and offer a high return value (about 71% to 78%). In addition, energy-efficient windows can also decrease your energy bills, with most people seeing about 12% savings over the course of a year.
How often should you replace your windows?
Typically windows will last you 15 to 25 years if properly installed and maintained. That being said, you should only need to replace your windows if they are broken or showing signs of significant wear and tear (such as rot for a wood window). In many cases, it is possible to simply repair a window, rather than replace it entirely.
How much does it cost to replace a window with a larger or different-sized window?
While the exact amount will be specific to your project, you can expect a cost increase of 30% to 100% per window to account for the additional work required to relocate the window frame and replace exterior and interior trim, insulation, drywall, siding, etc.
Can I replace my windows myself?