What return on investment can I expect with my window replacement project? This is a natural question when any homeowner decides to upgrade their home with new, energy efficient windows. Some of the factors to consider are re-sale value, energy savings, aesthetics, comfort, convenience, security, and noise reduction. Averages for re-sale value and energy savings are easy to find, others are more subjective. And you wonder where your home fits into the “average”?
Replacing windows yields a higher price for your home, covering most or all the cost of replacement. According to a 2014 survey by Remodeling Magazine, replacement windows average a 90% return in resale value nationwide. There are a number of variables that affect the added resale value of any improvement project. For example, when the appearance of old windows that are badly in need of maintenance stands out as the biggest “sore thumb” on a home, an investment in attractive new windows may far exceed the “average” resale benefit.
The same goes for interior trim on the windows. Some window projects include replacing interior mouldings, while others do not. If existing window trim is old, worn, looks cheap, or is an unattractive style, additional value can be added by investing in matching new interior trim to help revitalize your home’s interior. Unlike a kitchen or bath remodel, a beautiful window appearance can add value to every room in your home.
Yearly savings is easy to measure after the fact by comparing degree days to the number of therms used. A national average for heating and cooling dollars saved with new windows is about $300 per year. This is based on a home with 15 windows and new windows having a U-value of (.32). Windows are measured in U-value, which is the measurement of how much heat a window conducts. The lower the U-value, the greater the energy savings. Again, how does your home fit into this “average”?
The performance of existing windows serves as a starting point. Homes in a frigid climate that have cold drafty windows with excessive air leakage may see better than average savings when replaced with air-tight, triple weather-stripped replacement windows. Homes in either warm or cold climates can see benefit from the latest advancements in glass performance. If the windows being replaced are single pane, the savings may far exceed average.
More expensive windows typically equal better performing windows. Glass with a low-E coating costs more than clear glass. Like-wise, glass with two or more surfaces of low-E cost more than a single surface with low-E. Windows with triple weather-strip systems cost more than windows with single or double weather-strip systems. Polyurethane filled frames cost more than hollow frames, and so on. The savings represented with a .32 U-value window can easily be surpassed with added energy saving options and designs.
In ten years, the hundreds of dollars saved per year turns into thousands. At twenty years those thousands can be doubled. When increasing utility costs and inflation are factored in, the amount of savings over time can be mind-blowing.
This is an area that is very subjective, but certainly affects the value of a window project. A beautiful and attractive window opening is more desirable than a “Plain Jane” generic window and install. There are a number of design considerations that can help homeowners achieve their desired look.
The actual design of a window is often overlooked. Many windows today have square, boxy features with little or no contouring. More attractive designs are available with subtle contours that offer more detail and help “soften” the appearance. Another characteristic that varies from one window to the next is the amount of visible glass. Windows with large bulky frames have significantly less glass and tend to “close in” a room. Others with slim designed frames have a streamlined look, offer more glass, and help brighten a room. The type of install you choose can effect glass size as well. A “full frame “ install which removes the old window frame will allow for significantly more glass than a less expensive “pocket” install which leaves the old frame in place. Needless to say, it is important to know which type of install is being discussed.
Replacing interior trim is another install option that can completely transform an opening and sometimes an entire room. It opens the door for a host of style options that remain unexplored when the old, worn trim is left in place. Casing size and style, jamb contours, stool and apron, stain or paint color, and wood types all become choices that can add value to your home.
For homeowners looking for more, some windows today are offered with a variety of lock and handle choices, blinds and shades between the glass, true divided lite grid systems, and unique screen options. Designer art glass styles can add color and architectural detail to a home as well. All of these options can enhance a home’s style, décor, and value.
A drafty home is an uncomfortable home. New windows with a low air infiltration rate can eliminate drafts, creating a warm snug feeling home. The glass package you choose can also add significant comfort to your home by blocking out solar heat and protecting your home from energy loss year-round.
New vinyl windows are easier to maintain than older windows. How many beautiful warm spring days have been spent by homeowners cleaning windows on unstable ladders, changing out storms and screens, or reglazing sashes? Look for windows with tilt-in sashes for safe and easy cleaning. Choosing windows with a dual pane or triple pane glass option will eliminate the need for storm windows. And for the ultimate in ease of maintenance, some glass packages have self-cleaning glass that are cleaned by the sun and rain. With options like these, owning new windows looks even more attractive.
How do you put price on peace of mind? More advanced locking systems, night latches, and child-proof operating features all contribute to the safety and security of new windows. Also consider laminated or tempered glass, which can provide added safety if your window glass is ever broken by a foul baseball or other accident.
Outside noise is an unwanted distraction and a nuisance. Homeowners on a busy street or near an airport can eliminate most outside noise by using a glass system specifically engineered to reduce noise intrusion through the glass. Another factor to consider when trying to reduce noise intrusion is the air infiltration rate of a window. A window that allows more air to pass through will also allow more noise through. With the same glass, a window with triple weather-stripping is quieter than a window with only one or two weather-strips. Also note that proper insulation around your window can also help to reduce noise.