We have put together a replacement window guide, taking you through the key questions you will have to answer before undertaking this home improvement project. Replacement windows are a big undertaking. If you’ve never done it before, this is a good place to start.
Guide To Window Styles
While there are over 50 styles of home windows, there are really only 2 main types; movable and non-movable. Movable means they open out, slide down, slide horizontally, etc. Non-movable means they are fixed in place and you can’t open them in any way.
Analyze where your replacement windows are going. Do you want them to provide ventilation? Will they be in a location where cleaning could be a real problem like a second story? If the answer is yes to either of these, then you should consider a movable window like a single-hung, double-hung, awning or casements. If not, stick with a fixed frame window and save yourself some money.
Guide To Window Frames
There are lots of choices here, so let’s focus on the two most popular materials; vinyl and wood. Vinyl window frames are in the lower to mid price range, require very little maintenance and look nice (but not great). Wood frames are in the higher price range, require some maintenance to insure they don’t rot or warp and look amazing.
Spend some time exploring general cost ranges for the different materials. One thing to be aware of – the company or manufacturer will play a huge role in whether you buy a vinyl or wood frame that holds up over time or begins showing its age in 4 years. The materials used are important, but manufacturer and contractor are most important.
Guide To Manufacturers
The company that makes your window should have a good reputation in the industry. Going with a company that is known to have inconsistencies in their manufacturing process that results in poor quality frames, seals or glazing means you will be paying down the road to fix a poorly made window. Spend time in our company reviews section to see how manufacturers stack up.
Guide To Costs
There are huge variations in cost and pricing so let’s keep it simple with 3 basic scenarios; economy level, mid range and high end projects.
Economy Level Prices:
Product Price: $150 – $250
Install Cost: $75 – $100
Per Window Total: $225 – $350
Mid Range Or Standard Pricing:
Product Price: $250 – $500
Install Cost: $100 – $150
Per Window Total: $350 – $650
High End Prices:
Product Price: $500 – $750
Install Cost: $150 – $250
Per Window Total: $650 – $1000
Again, these for completely ballpark figures for normal homes with fairly standard window sizes.
Guide To Budget
At the outset you need to come up with a budget — which can be tough if you have no idea on pricing. First, sit down and figure out how many windows you will need to replace. Then figure out the type of windows you are considering. For some good general pricing on a range of different styles and frame type, use our pricing estimator.
Guide To Contractors
Hiring a quality contractor to install your windows or purchasing through a well reputed distributor that will install your new windows is the most important step to get right (along with buying a quality product). If you don’t believe us, browse through some online forums and read dissatisfied window reviews from other homeowners – you will be amazed at the high percentage of problems that can be attributed to poor installation.
Make sure that the installer understands the product they are installing (not unlike finding a surgeon who specializes in a particular procedure). This way you you make sure that the product is being put in correctly. Please read our 12 Step Guide Hiring Contractors for a step by step tutorial on how to hire the best contractors.