Working With a Budget: What Is the Most Affordable Type of Replacement Window?
A broken window is one of those jobs that can’t wait. Maybe it’s in the budget, maybe it’s not, but either way, there comes a time when you need to install a replacement window.
When the need arrives at an inopportune time, it makes sense to forget about features and focus on affordable replacement windows. But even though you opt for the economical route, you can still get excellent quality if you know where to look.
It takes a discerning eye to identify the cost-effective window features that give you the best performance and longest life. You can get exceptional build quality if you’re flexible with the window style and frame material.
Affordable Replacement Windows
In general, a window gets more expensive depending on the style of replacement window and the level of functionality. For instance, a double-hung replacement window cost will average around $350-$500, but a single-hung with otherwise similar specs will be around $100 less expensive.
Along with the window style, the installation complexity will also bump up the overall cost. Fixing a flat window can sometimes be a DIY project, but a projection window will add several steps and hours to the process.
A single-hung window is one of the cheapest replacement windows available. Basic single-hung windows start under $100.
Single-hung windows have only one movable sash on the bottom that slides up and down. For the price, they’re an excellent option with enough motion to air out a room or install a window A/C. And although they don’t open at the top, it’s easier to maintain a strong air seal with an immovable upper sash.
When to Buy Single-Hung Windows
Buy single-hung windows when you need the most affordable type of replacement windows. The average cost to replace a window with a single-hung option is even less than many fixed pane replacements.
Double-hung windows are the most popular window style out there for new homes and replacement windows. These practical options look like a single-hung window but both sections can open. The bottom half slides up and the top half can slide down.
Double-hung windows give you all the functions you need, and they don’t have to be expensive. A new double-hung window starts for around $150 before installation. If you choose a professional setup, you’ll pay more in labor costs for these options than their single-hung equivalents.
When to Buy Double-Hung Windows
When you’re replacing an upstairs window, a double-hung window is an ideal choice. Because both panes slide and tilt, it’s easy to clean the whole window from the inside. To wipe down the top pane of a single-hung, you’ll have to lean out of the window.
A double-hung window can be a safer option when you need ventilation. Rather than worry about the kids playing near an open window, you can crack the top half and keep the bottom secure.
A sliding window has sashes that move left and right rather than up and down. You can find options that open either on one or both sides.
Sliding windows offer contemporary style at bargain pricing. The cost is similar to double-hung varieties. You’ll find entry-level options below $100, and there are countless quality-built models around the $350 range before installation.
When to Buy Sliding Windows
A sliding window shines in the kitchen where you have to reach over the sink to open the sash. Usually, you’ll buy a sliding window to replace another sliding window. The typical horizontal configuration makes it a difficult replacement for single or double-hung windows.
One exception is if you have a row of windows, in which case sliding sashes may make sensible replacement windows. For example, say you have two double-hung windows sitting side-by-side. You could save money by replacing them with a single sliding window.
Sliding windows present many of the safety and convenience issues of single-hung windows. Pets and small children are at greater risk of getting to an open window, and cleaning the exterior window can be extremely difficult. One notable downside to these windows is that the track can fill with gunk and debris, which can cause the sliding action to fail.
Inexpensive Replacement Window Materials
With any style of window, you’ll see a vast array of price points. A single-hung window can cost anywhere from $50 to over $1,000. Several factors can affect a replacement window’s price, including:
- Energy efficiency
- Sound insulation
- UV protection
- Frame materials
Your material choice is crucial, but the more expensive option isn’t always the better option. You should always find a high-quality replacement window to maintain your home’s value. Fortunately, some of the more low-cost window materials are also becoming some of the most low-maintenance.
Vinyl is the preferred material for most new window replacements. Vinyl frames are easy to install, easy to maintain, and energy-efficient. Most of the least expensive window frames will be made of vinyl.
Although it comes in several colors and even wood-like textures that hold up to weather, you can’t paint vinyl. Make sure that the color you choose matches the aesthetic both inside and out. As vinyl grows in popularity, we may see more colors and patterns become available.
When to Buy Vinyl
As the most popular window material, there’s a vast spectrum of build qualities to make up an even wider spectrum of prices. Depending on where you live, you may regret skimping on the type of vinyl replacement window you choose.
Vinyl doesn’t handle temperature fluctuations or sunlight well. It can warp under high heat from the sun, causing damage to the frame, seal, and overall integrity of the window. Meanwhile, UV rays fade the color, which is nearly impossible to recover because vinyl is difficult to paint.
Low temperatures are no less hazardous to vinyl than extreme heat. Cheap vinyl can become brittle and prone to cracking in cold weather.
If you live in mild climates, vinyl is a sound choice. It can still be an excellent option in regions with high or low temperatures, but you’ll likely need to upgrade from entry-level frames.
Aluminum is on par with vinyl’s pricing, but it has several drawbacks worth considering. It conducts heat and is thus less insulating than vinyl. At the same time, it may be more prone to glaring cosmetic defects like chips, dents, or scratches.
When to Buy Aluminum
Aluminum wouldn’t be so popular if vinyl outperformed it in every instance. Vinyl is better in many cases, but manufacturers are overcoming aluminum’s weaknesses with new technology.
Compared to vinyl, aluminum has always been the stronger, more durable window option. It’s better for larger windows, and it won’t falter under temperature changes. With its natural corrosion resistance and coatings to withstand weather, aluminum is also low-maintenance.
Picking the Best Replacement Windows
A budget should always be a central concern when making any home improvement. Still, the best price hardly ever means the best value, and you may end up costing yourself in the long run with the wrong material.
Buy to Match
If a window doesn’t match the rest of the room, it doesn’t matter how much it costs. Windows need to stay coordinated, or you’ll risk losing a lot of value in the room while creating an everyday eyesore.
Consider updating multiple windows when you find a great deal on a high-quality window. Since windows are installed at the same time, it’s not a bad idea to upgrade a working window when another finally fails. You’ll add even more value to the home and give yourself more time before your next window replacement.
Choose Energy Efficiency
Low replacement window cost is preferable, but it’s more important to get bang for your buck. Now is the perfect time to get the most value out of energy-efficient windows even if you opt for basic, inexpensive builds.
Energy efficiency comes in many forms, such as insulated glass and low-E coatings. You can pick the features that make sense for your home and climate to reduce the energy demands, saving you money for the long term. The extra you’ll pay for energy efficiency could be made up in one year with how much you’ll save on utilities.
It’s also the last year to take advantage of many homeowner tax incentives. With qualifying upgrades, you can save up to $500 in credits.
Watch Your Warranties
When you want the most life for the least money, warranties can make the difference. You’ll find many inexpensive brands offering limited lifetime warranties, giving you peace of mind that they’ll give you the extended performance you need.
Always read the fine print with warranties to ensure their coverage is reasonable. You may also need to pay for professional installation to validate manufacturer warranties.
Get the Best Deals on Replacement Windows
Replacing a window can often seem like an enormous financial headache, but you can be pleasantly surprised by low-cost options if you know where to look. With these tips on buying a replacement window, it won’t be hard to get exceptional value out of your next purchase.
Ready for a fashionable, functional, and affordable replacement window? Start a free window quote to find the best deals in a matter of minutes.