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Wood Windows Installation & Price Guide

In the United States, wood is the most popular type of window for residential structures. They have been the gold standard and have been in use for hundreds of years. Today's wooden windows offer technological advances such as energy efficiency, making them a top of the line choice. Wood windows come in just about any size and shape for use in a home. They may be single-paned, double-paned or triple-paned for the glass portion of the window. Some wood windows may also have insulation added to the wood layers. Wood windows may be put into a home when it is built, or they may be used as replacement windows when updating or remodeling the home.

The Costs

  • The average minimum cost of wood windows is $228 per window.

  • The average maximum cost of wood windows is $276 per window.

Material Types of Wood Windows

Wood windows come in many types, including full frame, frame and sash and sashes only. Standard wood windows are constructed out of pine. The pine is used to form the sash, casing and muntins. The window sill may be made of the same wood, an artificial wood created out of plastic or vinyl. The sash lock is made from vinyl, plastic and metal but may be topped with a wood veneer or painted to match the real wood portions of the window. The mechanical portions of the window may consist of plastic, vinyl and metal components. These gasses are denser than air and reduce infiltration of outdoor air. These parts keep the window in position to be held open. In double and triple-paned windows, the space between the panes of glass can be filled with argon or krypton gas. Wood windows are typically used in houses. They can also be used in a detached garage, garden shed or similar outdoor structure. Wood windows can be used to build a greenhouse or solar oven. They may also be used in a top-of-the-line tree house or play house.

Additional Costs of Wood Windows

A typical wood window measures 36 by 54 inches and is double hung and contains insulated glass. Adding muntins and glazing will add to the cost of a wood window. The addition of a high performance glaze adds up to $500 per window. Upgrading from pine to a premium wood such as mahogany can add more than $1,000 to the cost of each window. Opting for a customized size or unusual-shaped window such as a semi-circle or square also adds to the cost of the window. If the homeowner orders a custom stain for the wood, this adds around $50 to each window. Installation fees for an average-size double-hung window average $104 per window. Installation fees for a custom-sized window are higher. When new wood windows are installed in a home, the homeowner may need to pay additional fees for permits and disposal of the old windows. Upgrading of the window locks may also add to the cost. The addition of screens or storm windows will also add to the cost per window.

Advantages of Wood Windows

There are many advantages to choosing wood windows for a home. In older homes, new wood windows can be installed to look nearly identical to the home's original windows. Wood is an insulator and reduces unwanted air exchange with the outdoors. This can boost the home's energy efficiency and lower heating and air conditioning costs. Wood has a higher R-value than other window materials. Wood windows are less prone to condensation than other types of windows.

Wood windows can be stained or painted any color. Wood windows can be designed in nearly any size or shape as desired by the homeowner. So long as it is properly maintained, a wood window can last just as long as a vinyl window. In historical houses and themed homes such as log cabin styles, wooden windows provide an authentic look and feel. Wood is a renewable resource.

Disadvantages of Wood Windows

While wood windows are a popular choice, there are some disadvantages to choosing them when replacing older residential windows. When a full framed wood window is installed, the installers must remove some of the home's siding as well as all of the interior and exterior trim around the window cavity. This adds to the time of the project and the labor cost. Wood framing blocks some of the space where there would otherwise be glass for light to enter the home. In double- and triple-paned wood windows, the added layers of glass reduce the amount of light that enters the structure.

Wood windows must be sealed and kept free of moisture. Exterior sills and casements need annual painting. Double- and triple-paned wood windows may be difficult to keep clean. If the windows have muntins, this can add to the difficulty of washing the glass. Wood windows cost more than the same size of aluminum, fiberglass or vinyl replacement windows. Sunlight and moisture may cause the wood to warp, crack or split. Carpenter ants and termites may find damp or rotted wood windows attractive. They may infiltrate this wood and cause extensive structural damage to the home.

Considerations for Wood Window Installation Projects

Wood windows require maintenance to upkeep their safety, energy efficiency, appearance and overall performance. Humidity, roof leaks and exposure to rain may cause the wood framing of the windows to rot. Seal failure of wood windows is another result of moisture infiltration. When the window's seal fails, fog develops between the panes of glass. The wood sash can be replaced, but in some cases, the whole window must be replaced. When wood windows are replaced, the opening in the wall cavity of the home also allows the homeowner to add more insulation to the home's walls. This can further boost the energy efficiency of the windows and house.

Last updated on Mar 31, 2015

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