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Window Replacement Cost: How Long Until I Break Even?

Zina Kumok5-Minute Read
October 29, 2020

Some home renovation projects are fun, like adding in a deck or building a pool. Others, like replacing electrical wiring, are a hassle.

Replacing your home’s windows falls in the latter. It’s not something where, upon completion, you’ll invite everyone to a party to look at your new windows.

But replacing your home’s windows could result in huge energy savings, provide a more comfortable home environment and even increase your home’s value. Read below to learn about window replacement costs and how much to budget for the project.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Windows?

The cost of replacing your windows depends on the size, conditions of the windows and type of replacements.

Window replacement costs average $175 – $700 each for basic windows, and $800 – $1,200 for windows with more energy saving features. Installation costs can depend on several factors.

What Factors Affect Window Replacement Cost?

There are many factors that can affect the cost of window replacement. The only way to figure the exact cost is to get several estimates from multiple companies.

Window Type

There are many different types of windows, each with their own costs. Double-hung windows are the most popular among homeowners and are also some of the most affordable.

Here are estimates for the various types of windows:

Window Costs By Style

window type and cost chart

Frame Material

If your window frames are in good condition, you may consider leaving them and only replacing the glass. But if your frames are rotting or decaying, they’ll need to be replaced. This may double the total cost.

window frame types and price

And a checklist of performance characteristics:

performance characteristics of window materials

What Are Typical Installation Costs?

Window installation costs vary both on the type of window and the size. Double-hung windows are the most popular kind and cost about $350 maximum for a pair.

Here are some basic estimates for the most common types of windows:

typical installation costs

What Factors Affect Installation Costs The Most?

The size, type of window and number of windows will affect installation costs. Call around to get several quotes before committing to a company.

What Factors Offset Window Replacement Cost?

Frame material and size are both huge factors that affect the cost of replacing windows. Energy-efficient windows are also more expensive. Replacing both the frame and the glass is more costly than only replacing the glass.

Energy Efficient Windows Can Reduce Your Power Bills

Buying energy efficient windows is more expensive upfront, but the costs pay off in the long run. According to the Department of Energy, homeowners can save 7 – 15% on home energy bills when they replace old windows with energy-efficient ones.

Window Replacements Add Value To Your Home

Homeowners will see their home value increase when they replace the windows, but usually only 74% on average.

Your Comfort Should Be A Major Factor

Replacing old windows with new ones can reduce drafts in your home and provide a more comfortable atmosphere overall. You’ll enjoy your house more when you install new windows.

How Long Will It Take To Break Even On Window Replacement Costs?

According to a 2018 survey, the ROI for a vinyl window replacement was about 74%, while a wood window replacement was 69%. These are national averages.

Of course, homeowners only see the ROI when they list the home for sale. Some data from the Department of Energy says that you could save $126 – $465 a year. In some cases, it can take several years or even decades to see the break-even point for new windows. 

Other Window Replacement Cost FAQs

Here are some of the common questions that homeowners have about window replacement:

What Are Energy Efficient Windows?

Energy-efficient windows are determined by an Energy Star rating. This is an official government rating that consumers can trust.

When choosing new windows, homeowners can look for windows that include:

  • Double- or triple-paned glass: Triple-paned windows are the gold standard and can result in a huge cost savings for consumers. Double-paned glass is still better than single-paned, but not as efficient as triple-paned.
  • High Energy Star ratings: Look at windows with high Energy Star ratings. This will show which windows will help the most.
  • Argon gas fills: Filling in windows with Argon can result in a more energy-efficient window system.
  • Low-E coatings: Low-E glass filters through some of the light that comes through the windows. This can reflect heat and reduce your energy costs.

Can I DIY Window Replacement To Save On Labor Costs?

In many cases, a DIY project can be as effective as one done by professional contractors. However, replacing and installing windows is a difficult job and requires those with experience. It can also be a time-intensive job, taking about 4 – 6 hours per window.

What Does New Construction Mean In Window Installation Terms?

Installing windows in a new home is more expensive than replacing windows in an existing house. Here is how the costs compare:

chart - window replacement vs construction

Can I Finance My Window Replacement Costs?

Even if you don’t have to replace all the windows in your house, you’ll likely still pay thousands in total costs. You can often apply for financing directly through the manufacturers.

A lower-cost option is to borrow against the home’s equity with a cash-out refinance or home equity line of credit. A home equity line of credit usually has fewer fees than a cash-out refinance, but the interest rates are adjustable and will vary with the market. A cash-out refinance has a fixed interest rate and may provide more money.

Can I Get A Grant To Help Pay For My Window Replacement Costs?

There are few grants available for those who want or need to replace their windows. Homeowners who live in older houses may be eligible for historic renovation grants or tax credits through their state or local government.

Are There Rebates On Energy Efficient Upgrades?

Some states offer rebates or tax credits for energy efficient upgrades. These will vary depending on where you live. Visit energystar.gov and enter your ZIP code to see a complete list.

Summary: Window Replacement Costs A Bundle

The cost of replacing some or all of your windows is often a significant sum. The costs may vary widely depending on the type of windows you already have and how much you need to replace.

For more information on how to maintain your house, click here for more homeowner tips.

Get the right home loan for you.

Zina Kumok

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A Certified Financial Health Counselor and Student Loan Counselor, she also works as a money coach helping people one-on-one at Conscious Coins. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. She paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years.