When it comes to home improvement, there always seems to be something that needs fixing, improving, or replacing. If you don’t pay attention and keep up with the maintenance, your home will soon sink into disrepair that you may be unable to recoup.
Sometimes you need to weigh the importance of improvement or repair projects. If you have limited funds, prioritizing the improvements can help you budget.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining the priority of a project:
- How critical is the need?
- If you don’t repair or replace it, what further damage or impact will it have?
- How expensive is it?
- Can you do the job yourself and save some money?
- What’s the return on investment; i.e., will the improvement increase your home’s value?
- Will the improvement save money in other areas; for example, utility bills?
Why You Should Replace Your Windows
Replacing your windows is one major home improvement that can reap benefits, like increasing your home’s value and decreasing your utility bills. But before making a final decision, you’ll need to consider a few factors. The price of replacement windows is one important element contributing to that decision.
Although the overall cost to replace windows can seem rather steep initially, the expense should be looked at as an investment. There are advantages to be gained by choosing to replace your windows.
Increased Home Value
Window replacement is a project that is sure to increase the value of your home. Depending on who’s doing the ranking, a window replacement project is ranked in the top 10 of all home improvement projects for return on investment.
Your old windows probably have cracks in the seals, or broken frames or locks. That means air is leaking through them, so you’re spending more to heat or cool your home. Installing new energy-efficient windows will go a long way in helping you reduce your utility bills.
By replacing those old peeling, cracked, and foggy windows in your home, your home’s appearance will be more appealing. You’ll notice the difference in the amount of light flowing through them. You can get the colors you want that complement your other decor.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Windows
Timing is an essential factor when you’re planning a window replacement. Basically, if your old windows are compromising your quality of life, making your home uncomfortable or unsightly, it’s probably time to replace them. The following sources of discomfort can be signs that it’s time to replace your windows.
Faulty Window Operation
The formation of rust, rotting, or mold can lead to window jamming and sticking. This is an indication that your windows have balance issues.
If you feel a draft when you’re close to your windows, this is an indicator that their seals are damaged and it’s time to invest in new windows. This compromises your home’s thermal stability, leading to higher energy bills.
Condensation Between the Glass Panes
Condensation can mean that your current windows’ glazing is losing its effectiveness. Due to failing seals, moisture finds its way between the glass panes, forming condensation. Broken seals make your windows foggy and unattractive, and allow air seepage.
Age and extreme weather can be harsh on your windows. If your existing windows have cracks, broken glass, chipping, or decay, it’s time to replace your old windows.
Loud Outside Noises
Dogs barking, car horns, and other traffic noises can still be heard even with the best windows; however, it’s usually pretty muffled. If the noise is almost as loud inside as it is outside, it’s a sign your windows are not providing enough insulation. Excess noise can cause discomfort for you and your family. Replacement windows can reduce sound transfer, resulting in quieter, more relaxing living spaces.
High Utility Bills
Aging windows will start to form miniature cracks and leaks between the frames. Once the air-tight seal between the glass panes and frames becomes damaged, this is when you need to replace your windows to eliminate the drafts in your house.
The small holes and cracks between the glass panes will allow outside air to enter your house, putting undue stress on your HVAC unit. This will cause the total cost of your utility bill to increase each month, as well as reduce the lifespan of your HVAC system.
Factors Affecting the Price of Replacement Windows
Investing in replacement windows involves much more than browsing a showroom, picking your favorite designs, and waiting for a crew to install them. Quality replacement windows are not cheap, but, as with most types of home improvements, you get what you pay for. Many considerations affect the price of replacement windows.
Labor covers more than just installation work. It also includes pre-and post-installation inspections, delivery, and material preparation. Carefully built and installed windows tend to last longer and stay beautiful after years of use.
Most replacement windows have double-pane or triple-pane glass. Double-pane windows are less expensive than triple-pane, but triple-pane windows are better for energy efficiency and sound insulation. Selecting windows with double- or triple-pane, high-performance, low-E glass requires a higher initial investment than choosing windows with standard insulated glass. High-performance windows offer greater energy savings long term.
There are several types of windows available, each varying in cost. The most common styles are:
- Double-hung: slide open from the top and bottom
- Single-hung: one half remains in place while the other half slides to open
- Sliding: move horizontally along a track
- Bay: extend out from a room
- Casement: placed on side hinges and open outward
- Picture: large panes of glass that don’t open; suitable for letting in light and views
- Awning: open outward from top-mounted hinges
- Transom: slatted panes above a door or another window
- Stationary: fixed panes that don’t open
The more intricate and complicated the window is, the higher the costs will be. Options, such as grilles, hardware finishes, and frame texture, will also affect the cost, which can be significant if you’re replacing several windows at once.
If you opt for single-hung windows they are the least expensive option because only half of the window is movable. This is fine for opening them to let in the fresh air, but it is not ideal for cleaning.
If you opt for double-hung windows replacement, then both halves of the window will move. While double-hung windows are a bit more expensive, they make cleaning so much easier.
Window Insert or Full-Frame Replacement
There are two methods to replace windows. The insert or pocket method involves removing the window sashes and sliding tracks only, then inserting a new window into the frame. Full-frame replacement removes the old window entirely, revealing the rough opening of the wall and allowing for inspection for insect infestations or water damage.
The replacement option you choose will be determined by the age of your home, the style of your old windows, and the condition of your existing frames. Full-frame replacement is naturally more costly than insert replacement.
Window Frames Material
There are five different materials used in window frames. The difference in lifespan, performance, and aesthetic options affect the price of replacement windows. There are also care and maintenance costs to consider. The lower the maintenance requirements are, the less you’ll end up spending on paint, tools, and cleaning products during their lifetime. Each material has its pros and cons.
- Aluminum. This is the least expensive type of window frame and is lightweight and low maintenance. However, aluminum attracts heat and is not energy efficient. It’s also not very aesthetically appealing. For these reasons, most premium window manufacturers and contractors don’t even carry aluminum windows.
- Vinyl. Vinyl window frames are popular because of their affordability and low maintenance requirement. They can be insulated to provide better energy efficiency. They are moisture-resistant, as well. The downside of vinyl is that it comes in limited colors and cannot be painted. Some consider it to look rather cheap, but that depends on the window itself.
- Wood. Wood frames are probably the most versatile. Real wood is aesthetically appealing and can be painted in virtually any color imaginable to match decors. It’s a great insulator, so it’s energy-efficient. Wood requires more maintenance than other materials, however. It needs to be stained or painted regularly. Unless specifically treated, it’s susceptible to mold, rot, and termites. Windows made from wood are also costlier than other alternatives.
- Fiberglass. This material is the most durable of all. It resists cracking and fading and is less likely to expand and contract with weather changes. It provides excellent energy efficiency because of its thermal performance. Fiberglass is more expensive than vinyl but less than wood. It can be painted any color to complement the rest of the decor, a characteristic that makes it higher maintenance than vinyl.
- Composite. The best of all scenarios, this combines two materials to produce a more durable frame with less maintenance. They are also highly energy-efficient. They can be made to look like wood without maintenance. They are usually the most expensive option of all the other types of frames.
Quantity and Size
The overall price of your window replacement project will of course be affected by the number of windows in your home. A smaller home with fewer windows will cost less than a larger home with larger windows.
The size and style of the windows you choose will also greatly influence the price. Double-hung windows will usually be more affordable than floor-to-ceiling picture windows. You’ll also pay a premium for windows that feature specialty shapes and custom configurations.
Custom frame colors, special hardware finishes, blinds between the glass, and premium screens all add to a window’s cost.
Extra installation and disposal fees can increase the cost of your replacement windows. Make sure these are included in the contractor’s final quote. Also ask about charges for additional services such as replacing rotted wood, exterior clean-up, and painting.
DIY or Hire a Contractor to Install?
The answer to this question can make a big difference in the cost. It can also greatly impact the outcome of the project. Your decision should be based on several factors:
- Your skill and experience
- The tools you have available
- The number of windows to install
- Whether the money you save is worth your effort
- Whether you want the assurance of an installation guarantee
Installing windows is a major undertaking, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even if you’ve completed other projects around the house, window replacement is one of the largest and most labor-intensive.
If you’re only installing one or two small windows on the main level, it may work out well to DIY. You may want to consider hiring a professional window replacement contractor if the project is bigger.
A big reason to trust window installation to a professional is the warranty. Many window manufacturers will not guarantee the results of the installation unless a certified professional installs them. High-quality, properly installed new windows should last for at least 20 years. Do you want to take the chance that improper installation would void any warranty?
What to Look for in a Replacement Window Contractor
Your replacement windows are only as good as the installers you choose to install them. If you select someone who isn’t qualified to do the work, your windows won’t perform as well as they should.
Hiring an experienced replacement window contractor is a critical part of your window replacement project. When researching window companies, consider the following:
When reviewing contractors, be sure to research the company’s experience with window replacement. Consider how long the company has been in business and the average experience of their installers.
General contractors are great for everyday projects; however, when replacing your windows, it’s best to use a professional who specializes in window installation. When researching companies, narrow your search to companies that specialize in window installation to avoid hiring someone who doesn’t have the proper skills.
Always take the time to check references when you hire a window installation company. Consider checking websites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, or Angi to read reviews from previous customers. Be sure to research the quality and the professionalism of the company to ensure you’re hiring a company you can trust.
Clear and Comprehensive Bid
Review all bids for completeness and conciseness. What does the bid cover? Are there any hidden fees, such as disposal fees? If there’s something you don’t understand, have them explain it to you. In addition, be sure to ask about the warranty to ensure your windows are protected against any possible mistakes.
The Decisions Are Yours
We hope this article has provided information to you about the costs and value of replacing the windows in your home. Ultimately, you decide on whether to replace them, where to buy them and who will install them.
We hope that you choose Banner Construction to install your premium replacement windows. We only carry the best: Pella and Simonton. They are available in vinyl, fiberglass, or wood. We are certified installers for both brands, so you can trust that your windows will be installed properly.
If you are undecided or confused about the types of replacement windows that are right for you, we can help. We will meet with you to fully understand your wants and needs, offer suggestions and answer all your questions.
Contact us today for a free consultation.