Courtesy of Marvin
Windows can last longer than a decade or two—so unless a baseball recently came crashing into your living room, you may not have given your windows much thought. But there are a few reasons why you may want to upgrade your windows, especially if they're old or damaged.
Leaky or cracked windows can lose a substantial amount of heat, increasing the cost of your energy bills, while rotted or damaged windows can be unstable and pose a safety hazard.
The cost of replacing a window can vary depending on its size, style, and material, but in general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $1,000 for the window itself and another $200 in labor costs, according to HomeAdvisor.com. A custom or bay window, for example, can total $1,000 or more, whereas a storm window can cost as little as $50.
One way to save money on window replacements? Replace all the windows in your home at once. Replacing one window costs an average of $300 to $700; replacing all the windows in a three-bedroom, single-story home can cost $3,000 to $7,000.
If you're looking to replace a window in your home, here's an overview of what you can expect from the process.
Replacement Window Manufacturers
There are many window manufacturers available nationwide that can replace a window in your home. Here are some of the biggest and most popular window brands in the industry.
Andersen Windows and Doors
Headquartered in Bayport, Minnesota, Andersen Corporation was founded in 1903. Today, it has manufacturing sites around the world, including North America and Europe.
Andersen offers a wide range of windows (including energy-efficient models), in a variety of materials and styles.
Andersen also has a window replacement company called Renewal by Andersen, which was ranked the highest in customer satisfaction among both window manufacturers and retail outlets, according to a 2020 report by J.D. Power. Renewal by Andersen offers free window replacement consultations, which you can schedule online.
One of the largest window and door manufacturers in the world, Jeld-Wen operates in 19 countries and has its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jeld-Wen offers wood, vinyl, composite, and aluminum windows in a number of different styles, including single-hung windows and bay windows. You can schedule a window consultation with Jeld-Wen.
Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Warroad, Minnesota, Marvin windows are distributed through independent dealers nationwide. The manufacturer produces fiberglass, aluminum, and wood windows in a variety of sizes and styles, including corner windows and pentagon- and octagon-shaped windows. You can find a Marvin window dealer on the brand's website.
Related: Marvin Windows Review (2021)
Milgard Windows & Doors
Founded in 1958, Milgard is a window manufacturing company that offers vinyl, fiberglass, and aluminum windows, in styles that include slider, awning, picture, and specialty windows. To find out more about the manufacturer's windows, schedule a free consultation online.
Related: Milgard Windows Review (2021)
Headquartered in Pella, Iowa, Pella Corporation is one of the leading window manufacturers in North America and has more than 200 showrooms across the U.S. and Canada. Pella offers standard- and custom-sized windows in a variety of styles and materials, including fiberglass, vinyl, and wood. To order Pella windows, you can set up an in-home or virtual consultation.
Related: Pella Windows Review (2021)
Window Replacement Cost by Material
Homeowners can choose from a variety of window frame materials. The good news: Many modern window frames are stronger and more durable than ever.
"If you went back 30 years, it would be easy to identify the Achilles heel of each window type," says Chad Kleis, vice president of sales at Window World, a window replacement company headquartered in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. "[Now], each of the products has grown out of its problems."
Here are the most common window materials and their costs, according to HomeAdvisor.com:
Vinyl window frames are often made of polyvinyl chloride. They also contain materials that keep the sun's UV rays from degrading the frame, making them a durable and energy-efficient choice (especially when they're filled with insulation). Vinyl window frames tend to be one of the more affordable options.
Cost: $100 to $900
Wood frames often score high marks in attractiveness and tend to be good insulators. They do, however, require some regular maintenance, and wood is one of the most expensive window materials on the market.
Cost: $150 to $1,300
Fiberglass is a strong, durable material, and fiberglass window frames can be filled with insulation, which often makes them more energy efficient than wood or uninsulated vinyl frames.
Cost: $500 to $1,500
Aluminum is a strong, lightweight, and inexpensive material, but it's not a good insulator. If you do buy aluminum window frames (which aren't as popular as other kinds), try to choose windows that also have insulating strips around the frame.
Cost: $75 to $400
Composite window frames are constructed from multiple materials, often a mix of wood and polymer plastics. They look similar to wood window frames but tend to hold up better against moisture and other forms of decay.
Cost: $300 to $1,200
Window Replacement Cost by Window Style
The cost to replace a window can vary by many different factors, including window size, frame material, and the home's geographic location. Another cost-defining aspect: window style.
As a general rule of thumb, smaller, less complex windows tend to be cheaper to install than larger, more complicated windows. "A single-hung or double-hung window on a ground floor of a ranch home is really easy," Kleis says. "A bay window on that same spot is a lot heavier, so it's a lot more labor intensive. And 50% of the time, you have to build a roof over it to protect it from the weather. It's almost like a little addition to your home."
In the market for a particular style of window? Here are the options you can choose from, plus a ballpark estimate of what you're likely to pay for each one, according to HomeAdvisor.com.
Single-hung window frames feature two sashes: The bottom sash can move up and down, while the top sash remains fixed in place. This window type tends to be slightly more affordable than double-hung windows, and therefore, less expensive to replace.
Cost: $100 to $400
Double-hung windows feature two operable sashes, both of which can move up and down. They're a bit more expensive than single-hung windows, making them slightly costlier to replace.
Cost: $150 to $650
Casement and Awning
These windows open on a hinge: An awning window has a top hinge, while a casement window has a side hinge. They often open and close with a crank.
Cost: $150 to $1,000
Picture windows are usually "fixed," meaning they don't move. A picture window may need to be custom-made, and therefore, could be costlier to replace than other standard-sized windows.
Cost: $65 to $1,200
Like their name implies, sliding windows slide open and closed. They're usually installed on the ground floor.
Cost: $150 to $800
Bay and Bow
A fixture in many stately living rooms, bow and bay windows are a combination of three or more windows that extend outside the walls of your home. They tend to be larger and more labor intensive to install than other windows, and therefore, can be more expensive to replace.
Cost: $600 to $6,500
Window Replacement Cost by Window Size
In general, larger windows tend to be more expensive to install than smaller windows, although custom-sized windows in specific shapes—say, an octagonal-shape window with a diamond grille pattern—can be costlier than a standard-size window, regardless of its size.
Labor needs also influence the overall cost of a window. A bay window, for example, can be so heavy that it requires four people to lift the frame, says Kleis. Plus, bay windows also contain three to five individual windows inside the frame, which can drive up the cost of an installation.
Window Replacement Cost by Location
Along with the size of the window, "the location definitely dictates the complexity of an install," Kleis says. For example, you'll probably pay a little more for a window that's being installed on a second or third floor compared to a window that's on the ground floor, he says.
That's because window installers will need to do replacement work on both the inside and the outside of your home, and installing a window on a higher floor can be trickier than installing a window on the ground floor, requiring extra equipment and scaffolding.
The siding material of your house can also impact installation costs. Replacing windows in brick walls can be more complex than replacements in exteriors with vinyl siding; this is partly because installing a window in a brick wall requires very precise measurements.
Window Replacement Cost by House Age
Replacing a window in an older home (built, say, in the 1940s or earlier) can be much costlier than replacing a window in a newer home—sometimes twice or even three times more expensive.
In particular, historical homes may require custom-sized windows or need a certain shape or grille pattern that matches the traditional look of the home.
In other cases, older homes can have structural problems that can complicate the window replacement process. The surrounding wall, for example, may have rotted over the years and needs to be fixed, or the home may not be up to current building codes.
In homes that were built before 1978, the windows or window sills may also contain lead paint—which, when chipped or cracked during a renovation, can be dangerous. If your home contains lead paint, you'll need to have it removed by a professional, which will add to the cost of the window replacement. (After 1978, laws were passed that banned lead-based paint from residential buildings.)
Window Replacement Cost by Energy Efficiency
There are plenty of energy-efficient products available for your home, including windows. Here's why that's a good thing: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the heat that's transferred and lost through windows is responsible for about 25% to 30% of a home's total heating and cooling use. When you consider that so much heat is lost (and so much sun comes in) through your windows, it makes sense to at least consider upgrading to energy-efficient models when the time comes to replace your windows.
Because energy-efficient windows do a better job of keeping cold air out during the winter and warm air out during the summer, you'll also save money on your energy bills. In fact, HomeAdvisor.com estimates that a homeowner can save 7% to 15% on their heating and cooling bills by switching to energy-efficient windows. The tradeoff: These windows tend to cost more than standard windows—about $120 to $1,200 each.
Many energy-efficient windows, for example, are glazed with a low-emissivity (low-E) coating. Low-e coatings are thin, almost invisible layers that can reduce energy loss by as much as 30% to 50%, according to the EPA. However, they also tend to cost about 10% to 15% more than regular windows.
If you're shopping for new, energy-efficient windows, you can start by looking for ones that have an Energy Star label, which is a government-backed symbol for energy-efficient products. Even if you're not in the market for energy-efficient windows per se, simply upgrading your old, drafty windows to newer, more airtight ones will increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Labor Cost to Install Windows
You can expect to pay about $35 to $65 an hour for a professional to replace a window in your home. (The cost can run higher in cities like New York City, however, compared to smaller towns with a lower cost of living.)
The trickier the window is to replace, the longer the window installers will have to work; the amount of labor that's needed for the job often dictates at least part of the final cost. Installing a bigger, bay window or custom-shaped picture window, for example, will likely take longer than installing a single-hung or double-hung window.
If your home needs any structural repairs to the surrounding wall or trim, or if you need to upgrade your home to meet current building codes, this will also add to the cost. However, most window installations will only take about a day to complete.
"A lot of the typical installs for one residence can be done in one day," Kleis says. "Bigger homes with more windows—let's say, 25 windows or more—might certainly take two days if all those windows are getting done."
How to Save Money on Replacement Windows
One way to save money on replacement windows is by replacing them all at once rather than individually every few years.
And, as with many home improvement projects, you'll want to get at least three quotes for the job. While one of these bids will be the cheapest option, other factors, such as the brand reputation and your rapport with a company's salesperson, may influence your decision.
You may also be eligible for national rebate programs that allow consumers to earn money back for purchasing energy efficient windows. Programs can also vary by region and municipality, so it may be worth contacting your local government to see whether any financial incentives exist that are specific to your area.