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Windows Cost Guide

Trying to price windows can feel like a frustrating challenge as the costs vary so much depending on the style, design, size of the window and material. In addition, there is a big difference between a traditional picture window in a standard size and a customized shape for an older home. This guide can help homeowners to narrow down their options and learn about the pros and cons of various window materials as well as the best styles and where to use them in the home.

The Costs

  • Average Minimum Cost of Windows: $125
  • Average Maximum Cost of Windows: $2,700

Why Are Windows Necessary in the Home?

While windows certainly add aesthetic appeal to the home, they also serve many practical purposes, and they are a necessary investment. Whether for new construction or a remodel, the cost of windows is worth what it provides in terms of fresh air, natural sunlight and feelings of spaciousness. In addition, letting natural sunlight in the home can increase the heat, reducing the cost of central heating in the winter. Although adding in extra windows may be a design choice rather than one made out of practicality, there is no question that a home without windows would be barren and unappealing.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Vinyl Windows

There are several main materials used for the construction of windows, but vinyl is perhaps the most commonly sold choice. Sometimes called PVC or polyvinyl chloride windows, vinyl windows are one of the most affordable options on the market because they require little maintenance and they can last for a long time. Their versatility is also a big advantage, and the material comes in many colors in order to fit in with many different styles. Vinyl windows also weather well and don't need to be cleaned or sealed regularly, which helps to free up more time for residents. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to vinyl windows. They can't be painted, which means in order to change the color the entire window needs to be replaced. In addition, vinyl windows may look thick or unattractive, which can diminish curb appeal slightly.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Aluminum Windows

Another popular material used for windows is aluminum. The benefits of aluminum windows include that it is lightweight, durable, strong and incredibly inexpensive. These characteristics make it popular for commercial projects, but aluminum is also good for any homeowner on a limited budget. However, there are also some drawbacks to this material, and the major concerns include the following:

  • Poor insulating material that can drive up cooling and heating bills over time
  • Aluminum may not have the aesthetic look some homeowners desire
  • Sweating of aluminum windows can cause surrounding wood or drywall walls to rot
  • Aluminum windows let in more outside noise than most other materials do
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Wooden Windows

To most people, wooden windows are the preferred choice whenever possible. This material is very attractive, warm, durable and versatile. Wood is also a poor conductor of temperature, which means that it helps to keep the home insulated and can help to reduce energy costs for residents. Wooden windows can also be painted or sanded to update the look of the home and increase curb appeal. As with any material, however, wooden windows have some disadvantages as well. Wooden windows can be very expensive, and they require more cleaning and maintenance than alternatives such as vinyl, aluminum and even fiberglass windows.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Fiberglass Windows

Rounding out the four most common materials for windows is fiberglass, which is a relatively new option that is rapidly increasing in popularity. Fiberglass is rigid and durable, and it is designed to last for decades without needing replacement. Fiberglass windows come painted if desired, but they will need to be repainted every few years because of fading caused by the sun. Fiberglass can be a good insulator, but it is not as effective as vinyl or wood.

Choosing & Pricing Glass Panes For Windows

After the material choice, the type of glass pane used will be the biggest influence on the total cost of the window. Glass panes come in a variety of types, thicknesses and insulation levels to best fit the climate, the needs of the buyer and their budget. Energy efficiency is the biggest factor to take into consideration when choosing glass window panes, and to that end there are options such as tinting to reduce direct sunlight inside the home, low emissivity coatings and gas fills between the panes. The price of glass windows will increase along with the number of panes selected, but a double or even triple-paned window can be the best way to insulate homes that require a large amount of heating or cooling throughout the year.

Available Window Styles

Finally, homeowners should be familiar with the various types of window styles on the market. When picking out windows for a home currently in construction, the options are limitless. Individuals can choose custom sizes, different shapes and varying styles, depending on their personal preferences and tastes. While there are certainly many more to choose from, a selection of the most common window styles to find available for sale include top-hinged awning windows, picture windows, single hung windows, double hung windows, bow windows, bay windows, horizontal sliding windows, hopper windows, storm windows and side-hinged casement windows.

Customized Vs. Ready-Made Windows

In 90 percent of homes, ready-made windows in more traditional sizes will be the best choice. There are still a variety of sizes and styles to choose from that fit in with the design of the structure, but homeowners can save money by purchasing already made versions. However, some homes truly do call for customized windows. These might be extremely large, very small or just an odd shape to fit in with a certain idea or design that is less common in today's architectural landscape. Keep in mind that along with upfront costs, custom windows will cost more to maintain and to replace in the future.

Last updated on Jun 13, 2016

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