How Much Should it Cost to Replace Your Windows?

Window replacement costs in the US average about $550 per window, but they could be anywhere between $300 and $900 per window, depending on the type of window you’re buying. That means if you wanted to replace all the windows in a 3-bedroom house, it might cost you somewhere between $4,500 and $9,500 for the total project. Of course, these prices will vary according to the frame material, size, and the total number of windows being installed. It will also cost you somewhere between $150 and $250 in labor costs for the installation. So, if you’re thinking about window replacement for your household, you may need to scale down and tackle only the downstairs windows, or the upstairs windows.

Wood vs. Vinyl

There are good reasons why vinyl is one of today’s hottest properties in windows. In addition to its durability and aesthetic appeal, it’s also one of the less expensive options available to homeowners who are replacing their windows. Each vinyl-framed window you replace will probably cost you somewhere between $400 and $650, whereas the same sized wood-framed window might set you back $700 to $1,000. That adds up very quickly, especially if you’re considering replacements for all the windows in your home. A window which is double-hung, double-paned, and energy efficient might still only cost you the same $400 to $650, as long as you opt for vinyl replacements. That makes vinyl windows the champion for cost-effectiveness and also for the low amount of maintenance they require. Some people prefer the natural look of wood, but be aware that it will cost you a lot more, and you’ll be required to do more maintenance to keep them looking their best.

Other window frames available

Even though wood and vinyl replacement windows lead the market currently, there are certainly a number of other possibilities you might want to consider. For instance, fiberglass windows typically cost about 30% more than vinyl replacements, so you could expect to pay between $500 and $1,500 per window. Fiberglass is noteworthy for its high insulation properties, and it’s a bit more durable than vinyl would be.

Aluminum frames are some of the least expensive window frames you can buy, coming in at between $75 and $400 per window. If you’re installing a really high-end aluminum-framed window, that might cost you as much as $1,200, but by and large the costs for aluminum windows are considerably less than their more popular counterparts.

Composite-framed windows can also be a bargain, since the price range on these runs from $300 to $1,200, and they’re probably the most durable of all the window frame types. This is largely due to the fact that they’re constructed from a combination of PVC polymers and wood fiber. They are virtually free of maintenance, and are highly weather-resistant, so they are a good bargain for the money.

Factors affecting window replacement cost

There are a surprising number of factors which can impact the cost of your window replacement project. First of all, there’s the cost of the windows themselves, and this was discussed above. Then too, the cost of labor needed to install one window will add between $100 and $300, and you may have to pay extra for the window frame material, the location of the window, the type of glass used, your house’s age, and whether you’re installing full-frame replacements or having them retrofitted. Cost can even be influenced by where you live in the country, because a cold-weather location may be harder to install than one which is predominantly warm and easy to work in.

Other factors which may impact total cost

There are even more factors which may come into play when you get around to dealing with window replacements. You may have to deal with structural repairs before you can even replace old windows, and you may also have to replace insulation or waterproofing. The structural repairs are usually necessary in situations where wood frames have become rotted, and would not be suitable for installation of new windows. That often occurs in older houses which have been exposed to the elements for years, and have sustained significant damage around wooden window frames.

Job location may tack on an additional cost because it becomes harder to do the installation, and you may also have to pay for disposal and cleanup efforts which are part of the installation cost. Because all these extra costs can creep in to affect your total window replacement cost, you should make very clear at the outset which of these extra costs will be affecting your project. You’ll always be best off to have an itemized estimate provided by your contractor, so there are no misunderstandings or disputes about services once the project is underway.