Double-Pane Window Prices: Three Factors to Consider

July 24, 2010

How much do double-pane windows cost? The answer is comparable to telling someone how much a house costs. How big? What style? What type of construction?

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Because double-pane window prices can add up, you will want to choose carefully. Consider these three factors to identify the best new windows for you.

1. Materials

Following are the three most popular materials used in new windows.

  • Wood has good insulating properties, is the material of choice for custom windows, and can be painted or stained. Wood also needs regular maintenance to keep it from rotting. Wood is generally one of the more expensive materials.
  • Vinyl is the least expensive option, has good insulating properties, and is nearly maintenance-free. Because it lacks the strength of other materials, vinyl windows tend to look thick and--some believe--unsightly.
  • Fiberglass is strong, durable, highly energy efficient, and can be painted. It is also generally one of the most expensive materials.

2. Style

Double-pane window prices will also vary depending on style. Because the look of your windows can set a tone for your entire house, make sure you don't compromise visual appeal for low-cost, unattractive windows that will lower resale value.

  • Fixed windows are often the least expensive, but because they don't allow any ventilation, most homeowners choose to limit their use to large picture windows or clerestory windows.
  • Single- or double-hung windows slide open vertically. These offer a traditional design, and are one of the less expensive window styles.
  • Sliding (or gliding) windows have sashes that move horizontally, instead of vertically. They are generally the least expensive of the ventilating models.
  • Casement and awning windows are hinged and open outward. They are usually more expensive than other ventilating types.

3. Insulating Properties

Two common insulating features are low-E coatings and windows injected with argon or krypton gas between the panes, both of which reduce heat loss. Generally, the more insulating properties a window has, the more it will cost. However, homeowners should balance the cost with potential energy savings.

Weighing your options with a window contractor will help you choose windows that balance cost with aesthetics, quality, and energy savings. Once you select the windows that best meet your needs, your window contractor can provide you with an accurate cost estimate.

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