Tips & AdviceShould I Replace My Home's Windows?

Should I Replace My Home’s Windows?


A savvy buyer can see through cosmetic features down to the structural makeup of a home for sale. Before submitting an offer, they may factor in the value of energy-efficient upgrades such as LED lighting, Energy Star-rated appliances, or a high-efficiency HVAC unit.

When it comes to windows, buyers look at both aesthetics and efficiency. In fact, windows ranked among the most important environmental features that new home buyers look for, according to the most recent National Association of Realtors Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. While sellers can easily change cosmetics such as paint or flooring, replacing windows could shift a home from a buyer’s yes to no column.

Why should I replace my windows?

If you’re thinking about selling your home, you might consider a window replacement job before listing the property. Replacing windows in a house generally offers a solid return on your investment. According to Remodeling Magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report, vinyl replacement windows retained 67.5% of their cost in a home’s resale value.

As an exterior feature, windows improve curb appeal and help to draw in potential home buyers. They also help to keep your home safe and comfortable.

How long do windows last?

Windows typically last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, depending on local climate, construction materials, and installation practices. The frequency of opening and closing can also affect how soon a homeowner needs to replace their windows. The manufactured date also matters, as newer windows incorporate technological advances that improve their design and make them more durable.

You may want to start thinking about replacements if you begin to spot some symptoms of aging windows, such as cold air leaking into the house or fogged glass due to condensation between panes. Difficulty opening, closing, or locking your windows may signal the need for new windows in your home.

The benefits of replacement windows

New windows may not rank as one of the most glamorous home upgrades, but they provide many essential benefits for current and prospective homeowners. As part of the structure of your home, buyers will want to see fully functional windows before submitting an offer or making a settlement. If not, they may adjust their purchase price accordingly.

Improve Energy Efficiency

According to the U.S Department of Energy, heat gain and loss through windows account for 25-35% of a home’s heating and cooling energy usage. A newly built window with proper seals will prevent air leakage and help keep your home at the desired temperature, warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Replacing single-pane windows with certified Energy Star windows can save an average homeowner $100 or more per year in energy costs. Those living in northern climates can save an average of $366 per year. Energy Star-rated windows must also contain a coating that protects homes from ultraviolet rays in the summer, which reduces heat penetration and fading of interior fixtures such as hardwood flooring.

Increase Performance

In addition to enhanced energy efficiency, the newest window technology includes features to increase their ease of use, durability, and longevity. Depending on the age of your windows, you may benefit from improved performance with replacements containing recent building advances.

  • Composite frames provide an alternative to wood or vinyl that does not need painting.
  • Improved weatherstripping prevents air leaks.
  • ouble or triple panes increase energy efficiency and insulation compared to older windows with only a single layer of glass.
  • The type of glass used, such as Low-e glass, can provide additional insulation and help maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
  • Gas fills between double or triple panes better retain a comfortable temperature inside your home.

Updated style

Today’s expanded window options include new designs to update your home’s exterior with a combination of advanced form and function. If you’re looking for something more modern and want to embark on a more extensive renovation project than simply replacing existing windows, consider the following updates:

On-trend colors or sizes

New window colors, such as black frames, have recently appeared in new construction and some renovated homes, inspired partly by the popularity of industrial design schemes. Based on the style of your home, this new window trend may work for you.

Adding windows or increasing the size of windows can help add beauty to your home, although this involves a larger renovation project than simply replacing existing windows. Larger windows or window walls allow more natural light to filter into your living space, which can brighten up an older home that lacks the open layout of a newer home.

New Grids

Removing or updating window grids (also called grilles) can change your home’s look. Although manufacturers initially used grids to prevent glass breakage during shipping, they mainly serve as a decorative window feature today. If you’d like to move away from the traditional square grid style, consider thinner and more modern, or forgo grids altogether. Another option is grids placed inside the glass panes, which can make cleaning easier. You won’t need to work around them or pop them in and out.

Tax Savings

In addition to adding value to your home, replacing windows may potentially net tax savings. The recent Inflation Reduction Act (H.R.5376) expanded tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements, including replacement windows. You can expect to receive a credit on your tax return for up to $600 per year for new window installations beginning in 2023 through 2032. State and local tax credit opportunities also exist. Check the Efficient Windows Collaborative for a list of current tax incentives related to window purchases.

How much should I expect to pay for replacement windows?

Replacement window prices fluctuate based on the type of window you choose, its size, the frame, and the glass materials. Transitioning from a single-pane window to an Energy-Star-rated double-pane window can result in a higher upfront cost. Still, you should benefit from lower utility bills and possible tax credits.

According to HomeGuide, homeowners can expect to pay an average of $550 to replace a standard double-hung vinyl window, including installation. However, labor and materials prices vary widely across the country, so check a window replacement cost estimator that breaks down prices by zip code to pinpoint further the price range you can expect for your local area.

If you’re sticking with the same size and basic style of windows, you may want to consider using what’s known as a pocket replacement window. Pocket windows, also known as insert windows, fit into an existing window space and can be installed without removing the frame or trim. This type of window replacement can save time and money when updating the windows in your home.

Planning your window replacement

If your home would benefit from replacement windows, determine what type of windows you currently have and what, if anything, you would like to change about them. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the various options to narrow down your final selection.

Types of Windows and Materials

Some of the most popular types of windows made today include the following styles that use several materials:

Picture window

A simple flat pane that does not open and close. With fewer working parts, picture windows can provide additional light in a space where a window does not need to open to provide airflow.

Sash windows

The sash is the part of the window between the frame and the glass. A sash may slide up and down or tilt inward.

A single-hung window has a top sash that does not move. However, the bottom sash slides to open and can sometimes tilt in for cleaning.

A double-hung window is the most common type of window installed today, where both the top and bottom move up and down and also tilt inward to allow you to clean them from inside the home.

Framing materials

Choose from durable vinyl, a traditional material such as wood, or a newer composite frame.

Glass type

All glass is not equal. Low-e, tempered, or insulated glass options offer different features that may be more or less preferable in your home. For areas with a higher probability of intense storms, consider hurricane glass.

The number of glass panes built into the window also adds energy efficiency. Double and triple panes provide more insulation than older, single-pane models.

Final steps

Finally, you’ll need to measure the size of your current windows carefully or ask your installer to complete this step. If you’d like to incorporate any special design features, determine what can be changed about your existing windows while staying within the parameters of your renovation budget.

Price out a few options to determine if you think upgrading is worth spending more. You may also want to look into the manufacturer’s warranty offered by different brands.

A certified installer can look at your existing windows and present options. If you want to list your home for sale or tie a window replacement into a larger home renovation project, you should order windows well before you intend to install them.

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