North Carolina residents, particularly those living in older homes, have likely found themselves assessing their property for improvements at one time or another and realized it might be time to replace the windows. You might choose to replace your home’s windows not just for aesthetic reasons but also to be more energy-efficient. The first question that springs to mind is usually the cost.
The cost of replacing windows is based on many factors. The size and grade of the window glass is relevant, as well as the number of windows being replaced. The current condition of your window frame is also relevant to the assessment. Replacement of rotten wood frames may require a larger budget.
Replacement of a standard window can range, on average, from $400 to $1,000. The lower prices would be for a standard vinyl window without much for added features or customization, though even then, new windows with modern technology can offer substantial enhancements in energy efficiency, ease of operation, etc.
Replacement of all the windows in an average-sized home can cost $8,000 to $12,000. However, you can always economically replace the windows in your home one room at a time.
In addition to potentially improving your home’s lighting, upgraded windows can reduce energy usage and save you money on your utility bills. The improvements to energy efficiency and the added modernization of your home will translate to increased enjoyment of your home and higher property value.
You’ll also see an improvement in your home’s aesthetics, both in terms of curb appeal and the interior beauty of rooms with new windows.
You can emphasize certain improvements from your investment, such as energy efficiency or aesthetic appeal, through your choice of windows; a bay or bow window may not be as energy-efficient as a more modest casement window or picture window, but it can become a focal point inside and out.
When investing in new windows with an eye toward cost and return on investment, you’re generally looking at two options: vinyl, the lowest-cost material on the market, and fiberglass, its substantially more expensive high-end cousin.
Wood windows require too much maintenance and risk degradation early on, a poor investment given their relative expense, while aluminum windows have too many problems that can’t be adequately overcome, such as their tendency to transfer heat and accumulate condensation.
This brings us to vinyl versus fiberglass. Vinyl windows are composed of PVC and other materials, while fiberglass is made of spun glass fibers and resin. Both can be molded to fit nearly any window opening and design, and both are known for their longevity, versatility of appearance, and resistance to warping.
Vinyl is, however, the more affordable of the two materials and falls behind fiberglass overall in features. It lasts a long time, but not as long as fiberglass. It resists damage from thermal expansion and contraction, impact, and scratches, but not as well as fiberglass.
Whether the substantial increase in cost is worth it in the long-term can be difficult to assess purely on financial merits. Still, most homeowners are likely better off with vinyl windows replaced more frequently for technology upgrades than with longer-lasting fiberglass for purely functional reasons.
Fiberglass will look great longer and has the appeal of being a higher-end material both for home value and personal appeal.