Window salesmen can be sneaky. Don’t be fooled by the guy who comes to your door offering a deal that is too good to be true - only if you sign on the dotted line immediately. Chances are, you’re actually not getting a great deal.
New windows are a major investment; the purchase should not be made hastily. Spend time researching all of your options, then shop around for the best price, quality and service before you make a final decision. You won’t regret it. Pella and Andersen are two reputable window companies that you should review.
The most important decision you’ll make in choosing new windows is the material. Here are the most popular types, along with their pros and cons:
- Vinyl windows are the most common these days. They are durable, energy efficient and affordable, but the color choices are limited and the window frames cannot be painted. The color you choose is the color you keep.
- Wood windows are beautiful and traditional, but they are expensive and high maintenance. Due to the maintenance issues, modern varieties are often wood clad, meaning they’re wood on the inside of the house for aesthetics but vinyl on the outside, where the windows are exposed to the elements.
- Fiberglass, like vinyl, is a manmade material. But fiberglass windows more convincingly mimic the look of real wood. They are extremely durable and strong, but they are pricey are require repainting from time to time. Fiberglass is a newer material than vinyl, but it is gaining market share.
- Aluminum windows used to be a popular choice for homes, but they’ve largely been replaced by vinyl, which are far more energy efficient. Aluminum windows are strong and inexpensive, but they lose a lot of heat. However, they’re still common for commercial applications.
Aside from material, you’ll also have to choose the style of each window. There are casement windows, which hinge on one side and are opened using a crank handle; awning windows, which are similar but hinge at the top; and double-hung windows, which have two moveable panels that slide vertically. There are picture windows and bay windows, of course.
In many cases, the style of window will be dictated by the size and configuration of the window opening.
Window prices vary dramatically based on materials, quality and size, ranging from as little as $50 each to more than $2,000. However, most windows fall closer to the middle of that range. The design of a window doesn’t have much impact on price - a double-hung window can be $100 or $1,000, depending on the factors mentioned above.
Generally, wood windows are the most expensive, followed by fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum, respectively:
- Vinyl windows usually cost about $150 to $650 each, including the cost of installation. Double-pane or tilting windows fall on the high end of that range, as do custom windows.
- Fiberglass windows range from about $300 to $900 each, also including installation. You’re paying more for the added strength.
- Wood windows start at about $400 and range up to $1,200 (or more for custom windows). The price is largely dependent on quality.
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