Calculating Cost: Your Replacement Window Guide
Just like any other part of your home, windows will break down over time. On average, residential windows last between 15-30 years. Certain factors contribute to a window’s lifespan, such as glass type or frame material.
Whenever it comes time to replace your windows, there are plenty of details that play a part in the overall cost. In this comprehensive window guide, we’ll look at everything you need to think about when calculating the cost of your replacement windows.
Parts of a Window
All windows share the same two general parts. Knowing where these are located and how they function is the first step before getting started on the window replacement process.
We’ll quickly review each part of the window before diving into how these contribute to the amount your new windows cost.
The frame of a window holds the entire system. Every other part of a window relies on the frame staying intact and functional. It is made up of three specific parts:
- head (top)
- jamb (sides)
- sill (bottom)
Frames are easy to identify as they simply outline the entire window. They come in many different materials such as wood or vinyl.
The sash holds the glass of a window. It is located within the frame and includes four specific parts:
- stiles (vertical sides)
- rails (horizontal top and bottom)
- grills (not on all windows, perpendicular inserts that give an illusion of multiple glass panes)
- glass (also known as the pane)
These two parts can drastically change the cost of your replacement windows. Most often, this is because of the many materials that can be used for frames and sashes.
Comparing Windows and Materials
Now that you have a basic understanding of the parts of a window, we can dive into how changing what they are made of affects their cost. Choosing a material is generally based on your personal preferences and the type of home you live in.
The average price of a wood window is around $450. However, wood window replacements can run between $185 and $2900 depending on a few factors such as location, type of wood, and window type.
Generally, vinyl windows are going to cost around $412. Depending on brand and location, they could run you anywhere between $280 and $900 each. Again, the size and type of window will also affect the price.
The national average price for aluminum windows is $506. Once again, depending on labor costs, location, or window type, expect aluminum windows to run anywhere from $389 to $1200.
Fiberglass is the most energy-efficient material used for window replacement. Often, that makes it the most expensive material – but many homeowners are attracted to fiberglass because it looks similar to vinyl windows and saves money over time.
The average price of a fiberglass window is $603. Like all the other materials, window size and your location can further affect prices.
Beyond the material used during window replacement, the style of the window will also affect the price. There are a ton of window options to choose from – it all comes down to personal needs.
Here’s a list of all window types and their general prices:
- Double-hung windows ($420-640 per window)
- Single-hung windows ($150-$400 per window)
- Sliding windows ($400 per window)
- Bay and Bow windows (no set cost, depends on the specific project)
- Arched windows ($400 per window)
- Skylight windows ($900 per window)
- Storm windows ($200 per window)
- Picture windows ($300 per window)
- Casement windows ($250 per window)
- Glass block windows ($400 per window)
Remember, these are general prices. Other factors affect the price such as labor costs, installation fees, your specific location, or the size of the window.
Always discuss the specific project with the window replacement professional you hire so you know what to expect. Furthermore, there are still other factors to consider when it comes to the window replacement process.
Glass also plays a factor when replacing windows. As a homeowner, it’s important to know that between 10%-50% of a home’s energy can be lost through windows.
For that reason, many glass options exist to address energy efficiency. Here’s a quick overview of the different glass types that can contribute to window replacement costs:
This is one of the most common glasses used for window construction. Tempered glass is quite durable and less likely to break than other materials.
Laminated glass is very strong. It can defend against rocks and other forceful materials. Laminated glass can also reduce noise.
This glass is generally more opaque than other glass types. It is often used for privacy or decoration purposes.
This glass type restricts sunlight and UV rays. It can reduce energy loss in your home and help you save money.
As with all other window materials, costs for each glass type can vary depending on your location and the brand you decide to use. Having a basic understanding of each type is essential in calculating and comparing windows before the replacement process begins.
Cost Based on Number of Windows
Obviously, the scale of your window replacement project will also change the price. Changing one window is going to cost less than replacing multiple.
Thankfully, there are national averages that can give you an idea of how much it might cost to replace multiple windows:
- 1 window – between $150 – $700
- 5 windows – between $750 – $3,200
- 10 windows – between $1300 – $5100
- 20 windows – between $2500 – $9900
- 25 windows – between $3200 – $12500
For more details, look at our in-depth website guide. These are national averages – there are plenty of other factors that can determine the price of an individual window vs. multiple windows.
How to Calculate Cost
Okay, that is a lot of info, but understanding how all of these factors affect your windows is key to making a decision. After all, no replacement project is going to be the same.
Every homeowner has different needs and different home types that will also affect window costs. We’re here to assist you in making the best calculation you can.
In order to accurately calculate the cost of a window, you need to take all of the mentioned factors into account. We can use an example from the window types above.
Let’s say you want to replace 5 single-hung windows. You prefer a wooden frame, and you want to install Low-E glass to help protect against energy loss.
Single-hung windows usually cost about $150 per window. Wooden frames usually cost about $450. Add those two price points together and you get $600 for one wood-framed single-hung window.
When you multiply that price by five windows, the total comes to $3,000. Keep in mind that this price is only an estimate. While it can give you a good idea about what this project might cost, you still need to take into account other things.
Other Factors to Consider
Labor costs vary depending on your area and the specific business.
A project may cost more if the windows are hard to reach or require special equipment to access and replace. If you want to replace windows high up on your home, a team might have to use a latter or a lift to access them.
If your windows are incredibly large or have a custom shape, this can make the job cost more too. Keep all of these in mind when considering replacement.
Your location affects a few things: how easy it is to ship materials to you, how many options you have when looking for a contractor, and which types of windows will best serve your home depending on the climate.
Keep in mind, his guide gives you the average price of the most important materials. All in all, the best way to truly calculate the price of window replacement is to contact your local contractor.
Talking with an expert about the specific needs of your home will lead to a more accurate estimate. Plus, they can provide even more information about window brands, glass tyes, and specific window parts.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, this window guide provides you with a good starting point. Calculating the price of replacement windows is affected by many variables. You can’t know the specific price of everything, but this information can help you toward making an estimate.
Talk with professionals in your area. Thankfully, 3WindowEstimates.com has resources to help you find the best window replacement quotes near you. Using our national database, we can help you find and contact window professionals.
Once you’ve compared quotes on our website, contact the local business of your choice and ask them about your window replacement project. Armed with the information in this article, you’ll be one step closer to getting the perfect windows for your home.