There you were, idly gazing out of the window when it suddenly it hit you:
Those windows seriously need replacing.
Perhaps those tired-old frames have simply lost their luster and no longer lend your home the kind of aesthetic charm they once did, or maybe there’s a more serious problem going on, with cold drafts and moisture seeping into your home.
At best, it makes your home a little less comfortable to live in. At worst, those are the kind of problems that can lead to more serious structural damage. Either way, they’re well overdue an upgrade.
Yet if you’ve ever tried to determine the cost of installing replacement windows in your home, you’ve probably found it a tougher task than you first imagined. This is especially true when most of the window fitters you’ve spoken to would rather pay you a home visit, give you an exact quote and push their sales pitch on you when all you really want is a rough idea so that you can start to get a budget together.
The good news is that you never need to listen to another pushy salesman again to come up with that budget.
We’ve done our own in-depth research to determine the average cost of window replacements in 2020, and today present our findings in this comprehensive guide.
The costs of installing replacement windows in your home in 2020 are determined by factors such as size, frame materials, and glass quality. In this guide, we break down all the price variables to help you determine how much you’ll need to spend
The Average Costs of Installing Replacement Windows in Your Home in 2020
Manufacturers charge less for standard-sized windows like this one than they do for custom sizes
The national average cost to replace a single window in your home is between $300 and $1,000. This typically includes everything from buying the actual window and paying a professional fitter to install it for you.
For a typical three-bedroomed American home, you could expect somewhere in the region of $4,000 to $10,000, though most homeowners tend to spend around $5,000 on replacing every single window.
Of course, there’s a wide margin between $300 and $1,000, and especially between $4,000 and $10,000, so how are you supposed to work out just how much money you’ll need to set aside?
The truth is, you can get a much more accurate idea of your window replacement costs by looking at all the different factors at play and working out exactly what you need.
If you’re looking for a full-length, triple-pane window with high-quality wooden frames, then that’s naturally going to cost a lot more than a standard bedroom window fitted with vinyl.
With that in mind, let’s break down the main cost factors so that you can determine a more realistic budget.
Window Replacement Prices by Size
Size matters: Full-length windows like these will naturally cost more to replace than standard kitchen or living room windows
As you can imagine, size plays a pretty big part in determining the overall cost of your window.
Living Room Window Replacement costs
A window in a typical living room can vary in size between 3×4 feet and 6×6 feet. Excluding labor costs, you could expect to pay an average of $300 – $800 per window, though adding expensive frames and triple-pane glass could push that up to as much as $1,500 per window.
Bedroom Window Costs
A standard bedroom window averages between 2×3 feet and 3×5 feet, which will usually cost between $300 – $500. That said, it’s not uncommon for master bedrooms to have larger windows which will significantly add to your costs.
Bathroom Window Replacement Costs
In your bathroom, your window size will likely be between 2×1.5 feet and 2×3 feet, making them much less expensive to replace. Again, setting labor costs aside, you could realistically budget between $150 and $300 for a basic window.
Full-Length Window Replacement Costs
Though they’re far from the norm, full-length windows do make an attractive addition to modern homes, particularly those with a summer room or to provide a stylish separation between an indoor space and a garden patio.
By their very nature, the size of full-length windows will very much depend on the size of your room. Standard American ceiling heights around eight-feet tall, and you’ll likely need two or three windows to fit the entire length of your wall.
For this, expect to pay somewhere in the region of $800 to $2,500 per window.
Replacement Window Frame Prices By Material
Vinyl window frames like these are not only the cheapest replacement window option, but also the easiest to maintain
After size, the next biggest factor to take into consideration is the material used in your window frames.
As the cheapest option available, it’s no surprise that vinyl windows are the most common in today’s homes, though other materials may offer better durability and a more aesthetically-appealing finish.
Vinyl Window Replacement Costs
As a general guide, expect to pay between $300 and $600 for a vinyl window replacement with double-pane glass and a double-hung design. We’ll explain exactly what double-hung means later in this guide, but for now, all you need to know is that this is the most common window type, so these figures should give you a good idea as to how much you’ll pay.
Having said that, you may find that you get a good vinyl window for as little as $150 or as much as $900 depending on size, glass quality, and other factors.
Again, vinyl is the least expensive option, but that’s not the only reason why they’re so popular. They’re also very easy to clean, require very little maintenance, and have solid energy-saving properties.
On the downside, however, you are limited to when it comes to style and design. Unlike other materials, vinyl windows come in a fairly small number of colors, while the actual frame fittings can clash with more traditional interior design styles.
If you’re more concerned with keeping costs low than enhancing aesthetic appeal, vinyl is the way to go. If you’re looking for new windows to complement the look and feel of your classic or vintage home, then other materials may be better suited.
Replacement Wooden Windows
Wooden windows offer a more attractive finish than those made from other materials
Offering far more flexibility in terms of quality and design, wooden windows come in a range of natural finishes and can easily be painted over or treated with wood stain if you later decide to completely transform the look of your room.
For purely decorative purposes, wooden window frames also have the advantage that they’re sold in some unique designs, such as is the case with these beautiful, cathedral-style arch window frames.
For wooden windows to fit standard window size and shape, you’re looking at a price between $250 and $1,000, though a budget of $600 per window will definitely get you a premium quality window with fitting included.
If you do choose this option, be warned that wooden windows do tend to require more effort when it comes to maintenance and upkeep.
PVC Window Costs
Offering an excellent compromise between the affordability of vinyl windows and the limitless design choices of wooden frames, replacement PVC windows are less common in the United States than they are in other countries, but are still a worthwhile option to consider.
Generally costing between $400 – $700 per window, PVC offers excellent insulation, with a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) U-value of .48.
This is largely down to the manufacturing process. Whereas vinyl frames are generally hollow, PVC windows are solid and usually filled with foam or other materials with high insulating properties.
They also bear a greater resemblance to wooden windows than vinyl and, if you decide to redecorate, they can be easily painted providing you use a decent bonding agent like MBP – Multi-Surface Bonding Primer.
On the negative side, some PVC window manufacturers still use harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in their processes. The damaging effect that VOCs have on the environment usually doesn’t sit well on everyone’s conscious, so if you’re looking to keep your home eco-friendly, this might be one option you skip over.
Aluminum Window Replacement Costs
Aluminum windows are an interesting choice. Despite being extremely strong and durable, they’re also very lightweight and malleable, meaning they can be molded into just about any shape. This is particularly good if you have round or curved windows, or if you’re going with a design that’s completely out of the ordinary.
Combined with their metallic finish this makes them an ideal choice for adding a unique look to contemporary rooms, but otherwise, they’re likely to look odd and out of space in more traditional spaces.
Many environmentally-concerned homeowners choose aluminum as they’re fully recyclable and can be made into other things if you decide to replace them. However, they also have a high level of thermal conductivity, which means that they’re as good as other materials at keeping heat in and moisture out.
If you live in a warm climate where this isn’t likely to be an issue, they are at least worth a look as they’re one of the least expensive options available.
A standard aluminum window may cost as little as $150, though larger windows could set you back in excess of $600.
If none of those materials sound ideal, you may want to consider clad windows.
Combining all of the durability and eye-pleasing qualities of timber with the low-maintenance advantages of vinyl or aluminum, clad windows can be expensive.
They generally cost anywhere from $400 to $2,000 per window, but if you have that kind of budget to play with, they’re well worth a look. On the inside of your home, you get the aesthetic qualities and design flexibility of a wooden interior finish, while on the outside, your windows are well protected with an aluminum or vinyl cladding that helps them withstand the elements and prevent cold and moisture entering into your home.
For readers in colder climates with harsh weather conditions, clad windows can prove to be a solid, life-long investment.
Single Pane vs. Double Pane vs. Triple Pane
Double and triple-pane windows are better at protecting your home from harsh weather conditions such as extreme cold or heavy rainfall
If your budget really is tight, single-pane windows will no doubt appeal as they’re by far the cheapest, with purchasing and installation combined generally costing no more than $200 for smaller windows and up to $450 for larger ones.
Be warned though, that whatever you save on replacing your windows with single-pane glass, you likely end up spending on heating or cooling your home during extreme temperatures.
Indeed, one of the reasons why single-pane glass is so cheap is that it offers very little insulation, so you’re going to feel those blistering winter chills and blazing summer suns a lot more than you would with double-panes.
It’s also worth noting that single-pane glass doesn’t offer much in the way of soundproofing either. This means that they’re simply impractical if you live in a busy inner-city area, and especially if you live near a freeway, train track, or in an airport’s flight path.
On the other hand, if you live in a quiet, rural area with relatively mild year-round temperatures, buying single-pane replacement windows can be a good way to save money.
In their last Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed that some 68.5 million homes in the United States had double-pane windows, making them by far the most common window type.
Offering far superior insulation compared to their single-pane counterparts, double-pane windows are made of two layers of glass with a layer of air or inert gas sealed in between them.
This middle layer of air or gas forms a protective barrier that blocks cold winter air or excessive summer heat from entering your home. Meanwhile, the exterior-layer of glass facing inside your home is coated with a special substance that stops heat generated by your home’s heating system from escaping your home in winter and keeps the cold air from your air conditioning unit from getting out during summer.
As you can imagine, this makes a significant difference to your home energy bills compared to single-pane glass, but it does mean you’ll have to pay a little more in the beginning.
The cost of buying double-pane windows and having them installed is around $450 to $1,000 per window, though again, it’s worth repeating that size and frame materials will also play a factor here.
If double-pane windows are more expensive than single-panes, then it follows that triple-panes are the most expensive of all.
Indeed, a single, triple-pane window will cost you at least $700 for materials and labor, though at the top-end of the scale you could pay as much as $2,00 – $2,5000.
If they’re really so expensive, and if double-pane windows really are so great, why even bother with triple-pane in the first place?
According to the same Residential Energy Consumption Survey we mentioned earlier, 1.2 million US households have triple-pane glass, so while they’re far less common, there are an increasing number of homeowners who choose them because they’re even more superior than double-pane when it comes to insulation and soundproofing.
Highly energy-efficient, they’re around 25% more effective at insulating your home than double-panes. This leads to a greater reduction in-home energy bills as you won’t need to use your heating or cooling systems nearly as much.
This makes them a good option for anyone looking to make a single big investment now for the sake of longer-term savings, as well as for those who live in areas with more extreme climates.
The additional soundproofing qualities are also why many people living in cities and other noisy environments choose triple-pane options.
Single Hung vs. Double Hung Window Prices
Single-hung doors only have one movable panel, making them cheaper than double-hung options with two moving panels
Remember earlier, when we promised to explain the concept of a double-hung window?
Here’s your explanation:
Double-hung windows are those which have two panels (sashes) that can be moved independently of one another. For example, you might open the bottom panel to let a light breeze in, or both panels if it’s an especially warm day.
They’re generally heavier and more complex to install compared to single-hung windows, which are those with only one movable panel, which is usually -though not always- the bottom half of the window.
As you can imagine, this makes double-hung windows the more expensive of the two, costing somewhere in the region of $300 – $900 compared to just $150 – $600 for single-hung options.
It’s because of this that single-hung windows tend to be the type most commonly found in older American homes, though properties built since the 1990s tend to have double-hung windows instead.
Labor Costs for Fitting Replacement Windows
Paying a professional window fitter will add to your costs but also prove to be a safer and more efficient approach
Tempting though it may be to save money on labor costs by installing replacement windows the DIY way, it’s rarely advised.
Even with the number of tutorials on YouTube which promise to talk you step-by-step through the process, your best efforts are still unlikely to match the kind of efficient, high-quality installation work carried out by a trained professional who has spent years perfecting their craft.
Go it alone, and there’s always a risk that you’ll overlook small gaps which will eventually let the heat and cold in, whereas a skilled window fitter will know where to look for these oversights and how to correct them.
That’s not to mention the fact that professionals can often source your materials from trade-only suppliers and already have all the tools needed to carry out the job. That in itself can prove far less costly than doing the job yourself.
As beneficial as it might be then, how much does hiring a professional window fitter cost?
In our experience, we’ve found that most professionals charge an average of $30 – $60 per hour, resulting in a price of around $100 – $200 per window.
Frequently Asked Questions About Replacement Windows
While some windows last a lifetime, those near water sources such as kitchen ad bathroom sinks are more susceptible to mold and rot and may need to be replaced
How Often Should I Replace My Windows?
Premium-quality windows installed to a high standard by a professional fitter should ideally last at least 20 years, if not longer.
That’s why window manufacturers have typically always offered a 20-year warranty, though, in a bid to increase sales, we’ve seen more and more manufacturers limiting their warranties to between 5 and 10 years.
That said, there’s no fixed time period. It may be that two decades pass with your windows still holding strong and still offering the same exceptional levels of insulation and soundproofing that they did on the day they were first installed.
On the other hand, your windows may only be a few years old and causing problems due to a poor quality installation.
If you notice that your window frames are warping or rotting, if you notice that your double-paned windows frequently get fogged up and hold onto condensation, or if your opening mechanisms aren’t working as they should, those are all good signs that you need a replacement.
Likewise, if you’re paying far more for your home energy bills than you think you should be, that could be because your windows are poorly insulated and need replacing.
How Much Does Window Disposal Cost?
We’ve talked a lot about the cost to install new windows, but what about taking your old ones away?
In general, most contractors will charge around $100 per window to remove it from your property and dispose of it safely and appropriately.
You could save money on this by negotiating with your window fitter so that they simply remove the windows while you dispose of them. This might mean you only pay around $50 – $60 per window, but that does mean you’re left with the hassle of taking them to the town dump or getting rid of them in some other way while running the risk of broken glass.
How Long Does it Take to Install New Windows?
A standard-sized window in your home should take between 30 minutes to an hour to install. Add extra time for removing your old windows and cleaning up, and you’re looking at roughly 90-minutes to two-hours.
Most professional window-fitters can replace the windows of an entire three-bedroom property in a single day, so there’s no need to worry about disruptions caused by having contractors in your home for days at a time.
The only waiting you’ll have to do is for the windows themselves to arrive, as it can often take between four-six weeks for suppliers to cut windows to size and get them sent out to your home.
Final Thought: How to Save Money on Window Replacements
By now, we’ve covered everything you could possibly need to know to put together at least a rough budget for your windows.
Though individual contractors will set their prices based on factors such as years of experience, competitiveness in the local market and the complexity of your job, the figures above will help you to start planning how much you need to save or set-aside.
If you’re looking to set-aside as little as possible and replace your windows on the smallest manageable budget, then your first step should be to look at single-hung windows and consider installing one large window rather than several smaller ones.
You may also be tempted to cut costs by investing in single-panes, but remember that this may end up costing you more in the long-run as the lack of insulation can result in higher energy bills in the long-run.
With that in mind, glass quality is the one area you really don’t want to scrimp on. If you have to, it’s better to invest in double-pane glass as a minimum while sacrificing the kind of stylish design options that you get with expensive frames than it is to buy windows that look great but ultimately leave you freezing when those cold winter chills inevitably start rolling in.