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How Much Does It Cost to Replace Windows?

Windows are an important part of keeping your home comfortable and looking its best. After many years you may find your home’s windows will need replaced. This brings up the question of how to fit them into your budget. Window replacement cost depends on how many you need, quality, and style.

Where to Shop for Windows

The first step in determining a budget for window replacement cost is to decide where you will be purchasing them. Big box stores offer low window prices, but installation charges can be inflated. Having a qualified contractor is the most affordable option. A standard double hung window runs approximately $150 with $200 more for installation. Specialty glass or double panes raise window prices from $200 to $300 each.

Before deciding where to make your window purchase, get several estimates. Prices vary from one company to another. Check the Better Business Bureau, and make sure the company you are thinking of using is bonded and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for contact references. Be willing to pay a deposit to get the work started, but don’t pay the full amount until all work is completed to your satisfaction.

Window Frames

Each window frame that is in need of repair or has to be replaced can add another $100 to $200 to your total cost. Window frame materials include aluminum, wood, fiberglass, and steel with vinyl being your least expensive option.

You will need to inspect each window frame for rotting or damage due to moisture or insects. If the frame feels soft, is cracking, or shows signs of age, you’ll need to have it replaced. A solid window frame can save you money. This allows you the option of simply installing the new glass.

Types of Windows

You will find there are four main types of windows available.

  • Double-hung
  • Tilt-out
  • Double-pane Glass
  • High Performance Glass


Double-hung windows can be opened from either the top or bottom. They usually cost the most, but they are ideal for hard to reach places. Double-hung are the most common window type being installed.

Tilt-out windows can easily be cleaned due to the way they can be folded in to reveal the exterior portion of the glass. This is the perfect solution for hard to clean, higher up windows. They are more expensive than a standard double-hung version.

Double-pane glass windows are constructed with an air tight space in the middle that is filled with an inert gas. This type of window helps control climate and will save the homeowner when it comes to utility costs. Window prices for this type run on the expensive side.

High performance glass depends on your budget and climate. You may want to explore your choices when it comes to specialty glass. Triple pane windows, impact resistant windows, and windows with built in shades are all available if you are willing to pay the price. The extra cost does allow you to enjoy some pretty attractive benefits.

In order to achieve the top energy efficiency within your home you may have to select different window types for the different sides of your house. It’s often determined by weather exposure and sun. No matter which type of window you select, look for the Energy Star label. These windows save you the most money when it comes to heating and cooling the home.

What is Included in the Cost?

Your window replacement cost should include the removal of existing windows, the installation of the new window, and all clean-up and disposal charges. A quality contractor will also wash the new windows.

Additional costs that may arise include repairing any extensive damage or dry rot around the existing window. A new window cannot be installed until these issues are fixed. Custom windows, non-standard size windows, or having to enlarge the opening to accommodate a window all raise the cost by 50 to 100% per window.

Available Discounts

If your windows don’t fit a company’s standard size, check with other manufacturers before agreeing to have the openings enlarged. What is called a “standard size” can vary from one company to another.

Some homeowners find it is cheaper to buy their windows from a local home improvement retailer or a manufacturer’s outlet and then hire a handyman for the installation. When choosing this option it is a good idea to make sure the handyman is skilled and experienced enough to do a leak proof, well-sealed job.

Installation mistakes can cause dry rot along with many other issues. Doing the installation yourself could save as much as $35 to $100 per window, but this isn’t recommended unless you thoroughly understand the weatherproofing requirements needed to lock out moisture.


On average, a homeowner should expect to pay $300 to $700 per window to have them replaced. This means a single story ranch home with ten windows can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. Larger homes with a second story could cost $10,000 to $20,000.

Frame replacement can increase the cost by 50 to 100%. Although this can look like a tremendous expense, new windows will increase your home’s value while lowering monthly energy bills. It is an investment that is definitely worth taking.