Listen to what your drafty windows and doors are saying

December 29, 2011

Feel that draft? See that condensation on the inside of your window? Hear that noise from the street? Those annoying problems build up over time, until the solution becomes crystal clear: replacement windows and doors are in your future.

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How soon do you want to begin this project?

When is it time for replacement?

Even if you already know you want replacement windows and doors, prices and other related expenses for a project like that might concern you. If you are trying to put off the expense a while longer, how can you tell when it's absolutely time to do something? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. How well does it work? A window that doesn't open properly, sticks in the track, or otherwise seems difficult to handle is probably ready to be replaced. A door that is crooked in the frame or hard to open needs repair or replacement.
  2. How does it insulate? Condensation on the inside of the window is a sure sign that air is getting through when it should not be. Is there a draft, but you're not sure where it is coming from? Try the old candle trick. In a perfectly still room, light a candle and hold it near the window or door. If the flame flickers and moves, you've found your draft--and the window or door that needs replacing.
  3. How does it look? When you choose to change your landscaping, replace your siding, or add a new addition to your home, the new windows and doors might not fit in with the overall curb appeal. If your windows and doors are out of date, it's time to consider new ones.
  4. How's the maintenance? If cleaning has become more difficult over the years, it could be time for new windows that are easier to maintain. Wooden doors that require staining and painting every year could be replaced with other materials that look just as good but require virtually no maintenance at all.
  5. Do you feel secure? You should always feel safe in your home. Do your windows shut firmly? Does your door lock properly? Are they both formidable enough to give someone a difficult time trying to break in? If the answers are "no," it is time for replacements.

Replacement windows and doors: prices and more

Expect to pay an average of $300 to $700 for a typical window replaced in an existing frame. The cost could go as high as $1,000 or more per window, depending upon size, materials and custom work. However, the update can show an immediate decrease of up to 25 percent in energy bills.

The cost of a typical entry door can average between $200 and $700 with installation included. More durable and decorative doors can drive the price higher. Expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $3,000 for a mid-range door. Double doors with decorative glass and other custom touches can run between $3,000 and $12,000.

No matter the price, keep in mind that professional installation can help ensure you get the energy-efficiency you deserve for years to come.


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