The cost of replacing Windows in your home can be extraordinarily high especially if you have to replace all of the windows at the same time. In our neighborhood we have seen three or four of the neighbors make arrangements with a contractor to replace all of the windows on their home at the same time, whether they needed to be done or not. We also have one neighbor who does not paint his wooden frame windows at all. They look like crap and are probably rotting away which is not good for his home, his family or his home’s value.
Since this web site is all about saving money, I thought this would be a good topic to write about and discuss the various options and the extremes as mentioned above.
Cost of Replacing Windows
Basically there are four options with regards to managing the cost of replacing windows on your home. We are going to assume you hire someone to install the windows for you, although if you have the skills to do your own installation, then you can save in this area as well.
The four options we have outlined for dealing with wood framed windows are:
- Do nothing
- Scrape and paint your windows every year
- Replace windows as needed
- Replace all windows at once
We will discuss these options in more detail and some of the pros and cons of each scenario. You will have to make your own decision regarding which scenario is best for you in your own situation. We are assuming that all of the existing windows are wood frame windows on your home.
Do nothing –
We are really not in favor of this scenario, however as mentioned earlier one neighbor is using this approach and saving a lot of money for now, however sometime in the near future he is going to have to replace all of his windows due to the wood rotting etc. His windows look bad from an esthetic perspective and as they rot and loosen, air will begin to seep through and all of the seals will be lost. In fact if enough moisture enters, the surrounding wood framing can also be damaged causing more expensive repairs. From a cash flow perspective, expense is delayed for some time and then a major cash outflow will be required.
Scrape and paint your windows every year –
if properly done, this scenario can extend the life of your windows for an extended period of time. Each year home owners need to inspect their windows and if needed scrape loose paint or bubbling paint away and then repaint the windows. If you do this every year and do a good job of it your wooden frame windows will last for more than 25 years.
Avoid using companies such as student painters unless you give them specific instructions and inspect the work. They may not scrape loose paint away properly and water gets into the area that is cracked etc. In fact you may as well not bother painting at all if you do not properly scrape your windows prior to painting. Doing it yourself is by far the best approach providing that you are comfortable working from a ladder. The cost will be a can of paint and some of your own elbow grease to get the job done every year.
Replace windows as needed –
We like this scenario combined with the previous one the most. We were able to limit cash flow the most and still maintain quality seals for the windows around our home. Basically we are scraping and painting our windows as mentioned above, until we notice – wood rot, window cranks fail or the windows lose their seal between the panes of glass.
When this occurs we arrange for new low maintenance windows to be installed. Our first window was replaced over four years ago, we have added 7 more in the ensuing four years and we have one more that we need to do this year. Compared to spending over $20,000 four years ago, we have been able to delay this particular cash outlay and spread it over many years. In fact we thing that it will be spread over 10 years which is roughly a thousand a year which is much more affordable than doing it all at once.
Replace all windows at once –
We really do not like this scenario for the reasons mentioned above, however many of our neighbors have opted for this approach. I guess they want to only deal with the problem once and then move on. They also do not want to have to paint their windows at all. In fact one neighbor is not good at doing his own maintenance, he simply does not have the skills or the desire. For him this scenario is by far the best. Although you have to spend a large amount of money all at once, all of the windows are replaced, no painting or scraping is required and the new windows are more energy efficient as well. This scenario really makes sense for those people who are not concerned about cash flow and do not want to be concerned about checking their windows every year.
As we mentioned earlier, depending on your own situation, plans to sell your home and your own personal capabilities one of these scenarios will appeal to you more than others. If you do plan to paint your windows yourself or replace your windows, always be safe and follow safe working conditions. Ask someone to stabilize the ladder while you are on it to ensure that it does not fall while you up the ladder.