The 4 cornerstones of windows and doors prices

January 03, 2011

Windows and doors prices are important, but should not be the only criteria to consider. The goal is finding windows and doors that include all the features you want at the best possible price. Prices can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per window or door, depending on quality of construction, materials, features like hardware.

For both doors and windows there are four primary areas to consider, when evaluating cost:

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  1. Appearance
  2. Energy efficiency
  3. Maintenance
  4. Security

Just as windows and doors each serve a slightly different function in the home, evaluating these criteria will be different, depending on whether you're replacing windows or doors.

Window shopping at a glance

Wood frames are often a winner for appearance sake, although wood requires the most maintenance.

Composite, fiberglass and vinyl ratings now offer an array of textures and colors from simple to sophisticated. Steel and aluminum frames lend an industrial or modern look.

In the energy efficiency category, composite, fiberglass, wood and vinyl rank highest, while steel and aluminum rate lower. On the other hand, steel and aluminum frames get a gold star for security.


Vinyl is the value choice for windows, while steel tends to be the most expensive; other window frame materials range somewhere in between.

The website Cost Helper estimates that windows can run from $300 to more than $1,000, each. Specific pricing is difficult, because so many variables contribute to the cost: Frame material, type of window, window glazing and coatings, as well as the type of gas filler.

Price can also be influenced by whether you're replacing window glass with existing frames, or replacing the frames, as well. Whether you are looking at a manufacturer's value line or a premium line of windows definitely impacts cost.

Materials and price points for doors

Wood, steel and fiberglass composite are the most favored materials for exterior doors.

Wood still holds the top spot for beauty and versatility, though it ranks below steel and fiberglass for energy efficiency. It's also the highest maintenance door.

Both steel and fiberglass can be painted to provide a beautiful entry for the home. Both materials can mimic a wood finish, although steel usually doesn't look as realistic. They're also low maintenance, yet high security. For durability, fiberglass tends to be a better option than steel, because it doesn't dent or ding.


Steel is the value option with doors beginning at $150. Fiberglass composite doors, usually start in the $200 to $400 range. Wood veneer or laminate with an insulated core can run from $200 to $500, while solid pine is usually about $600. Hardwood doors range from $2,000 to $4,000 on average, though premium options can exceed that price, according to an article by Dan Vandevort on the ThisOldHouse website.

Value and premium windows and doors prices are available for most home improvement budgets. With a little research, you can find the new windows or doors you need at a price you can afford.

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