Determining Your Budget
Replacing windows throughout a home can be a big investment. But it's an investment with great payback (see Years of Great Payback below).
You should establish your budget even before beginning your project. A Milgard® Dealer can give you a free ballpark estimate on how much it might cost to replace your windows. It's hard to provide an accurate cost range as a house can vary greatly in the number and size of its windows. But here are some basic guidelines for average-sized windows in an average home.
- Double- and triple-glazed windows, or those filled with argon gas, increase energy savings but bump the cost to the higher end of the scale.
- If an existing window frame is rotted or damaged in any way, the frame must be rebuilt. This can increase the cost and necessitate the use of new construction windows.
To get a better feel for window replacement budgets, see Milgard Case Studies. These provide examples of projects using our windows and patio doors.
If You're Thinking of Using Credit
- Home equity lines of credit can be a good resource for financing this type of project. In fact, in some cases, the interest on home equity lines of credit is tax-deductible. Many bank websites have financing calculators you can use to figure out what your loan payments might be.
- The National Association of Remodelers' budgeting tips offer advice about how to determine what you can afford.
- With a HUD Energy Loan, you may be eligible for more financing on energy-efficient windows, up to the cost of the window replacement.
Other Budgeting Considerations
- You should establish your budget even before beginning your project. You want to be sure you have the money to comfortably afford either paying for the project with cash or through credit.
- Make decisions based on value and quality, not just price. After all, this is your home we're talking about.
- Think about having the work done in stages to spread out the financial impact. It is often easier to create a more manageable budget by starting small and adding to the project at a later date. This will break the work into several jobs instead of one large project. The down side of doing a remodel in stages is that you may end up paying more in the long run. You may want to discuss these possibilities with your contractor to determine if they would apply to your project.
Years of Great Payback
High-quality, energy-efficient replacement windows are annually demonstrated to be an excellent investment. According to the 2007 Cost vs. Value Report (a combined effort by Remodeling magazine and REALTOR® magazine), homeowners can expect to recoup an average of 80 percent for window replacement.
Such return on investment makes replacement windows an excellent buy. Particularly since today's energy-efficient windows and patio doors also can:
- Reduce energy consumption.
- Reduce drafts and make your home more comfortable.
- Improve natural light and reduce glare.
- Help you take advantage of solar heat gain in cold climates or minimize it in hot climates.
- Provide years of easy operation and weather-tight seals.
- Drastically minimize care and maintenance (particularly if the windows are made of vinyl or aluminum, or have fiberglass exteriors).
- Reduce noise.
- Reduce window condensation.
- Protect draperies, carpets and upholstery from fading or discoloring.
Rebates and Incentives
Often government or power company incentives include additional tax deductions or rebates for making energy-saving improvements to your home. These can even further improve the payback. Look for ENERGY STAR® qualified products—these are most likely to be approved for such programs.