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DIY vs. Professional Window Replacement: Which is better for you?

November 1st, 2021 | 9 min. read

DIY vs. Professional Window Replacement: Which is better for you?

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*Disclaimer: Southwest Exteriors does not recommend a DIY window replacement under any circumstances. However, we know that it might be the option some homeowners are looking for. Therefore, we want to provide you with an unbiased comparison so you can make the best decision for you. 

As a brisk breeze makes its way through your neighborhood as the seasons change, you decide to open a few windows to let the fresh air in. When you go to open one of them, you notice visual damage around the seal. 

This has allowed drafts to form around the window and water to come in.

Anytime you notice damage around your home, you immediately feel a sense of panic as questions race through your mind. 

Can this just be repaired, or do you have to replace the entire window? Since it’s just one window, is it worth hiring a professional? Can I replace it myself or find a handyman to do so?

These are all questions that are most likely running through your mind. When you just need one window replaced, finding a professional contractor might not be worth the time and effort to you. 

However, is replacing your own window the best option for you? 

Southwest Exteriors has been a window replacement contractor in San Antonio for over 30 years. The craftsmanship of our materials and quality of installation are some of the most important things to us with a window replacement. 

While we would love to be the right solution for every window replacement, we know that we are not. 

Obviously we have a reason to state that a professional window replacement seems like the correct answer for anyone in the market for a new window. But you might be wondering if a DIY or neighborhood handyman service could be just as good. 

This article will outline the key differences between a DIY and professional window replacement in categories like cost, installation, and materials. 

After reading, you will understand the key differences between the two so you can make the best decision for you and your project. 

Comparing the Cost of DIY and Professional Window Replacement

When looking to renovate something in your home, the first thing you probably think about is cost. A window replacement isn’t exactly cheap, so you want to make sure you’re getting what you want and need from your project. 

Replacing your window yourself or having a local handyman replace it for you is going to be significantly cheaper than hiring a professional. 

When calculatingthe cost of your window replacement, you must consider both the cost of the materials and installation labor. 

How much does a DIY window replacement cost? 

If you plan to replace your window yourself, chances are you will purchase a window from a hardware chain store, like Home Depot or Lowes. Here, you can find a basic replacement window for less than $100 and cost upwards of $300 for a standard 3 ft. x 5 ft. window. 

However, with any window, the size will greatly affect the cost. You can buy an Andersen 70.5 in. x 79.5 in. for nearly $3,000. The cost of your window will depend on the size, style, and brand name.

You must also factor in the cost of other materials to install the window. Extras can include caulk, flashing tape, and possibly paint. 

If you decide to have your window replaced by an individual handyman, consider a charge for installation and labor. Depending on the person replacing the window, this could be anywhere from free of charge to $200.

How much does a professional window replacement cost?

Hiring a professional contractor can range anywhere from $300-$3,000 for a standard 3 ft. x 5 ft. window.

This range is a starting point and will vary depending on the contractor and window customizations and includes installation and labor. 

Is DIY or professional window replacement better from a cost perspective?

The cost of a window replacement all depends on the quality of window and installation you are looking for. As you might expect, a DIY window replacement will cost less than a professional window installation. 

However, you must consider the quality of window and installation you are looking for. The highest quality product and installation are never going to be the cheapest. 

Buying a replacement window for yourself can cost as much as hiring a professional. It all depends on the complexity of the window design and quality of the window.

  • If finding the least expensive option to replace your single window, the DIY route might be the option for you. 

  • If you want to replace more than one window, hiring a professional is probably the best option for you.

Comparing the window material and type of DIY and Professional Window Replacement

As you compare a DIY window replacement and a professional one, you want to think about what type of window you want and how you want it to look. 

There are many different types of windows, like wood, fiberglass, vinyl, composite, clad, and aluminum. Finding the right window for you is hard enough already. Choosing to do a DIY window replacement narrows your options. 

What type of windows can I get for a DIY replacement? 

When shopping for a window on your own, there are many window manufacturers that make replacement windows you can buy directly. 

Hardware chain stores offer some of the most common window styles like double-hung, single-hung, slider, picture, and casement. If you buy a replacement window at one of these stores, you cannot customize the window in size, color, or hardware.

However, there are window suppliers that allow you to input your window measurements and customize your window to your liking, such as the interior and exterior color, grid patterns, trim styles, and more. This can cost around $600 for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window. 

What type of windows can I get with a professional window replacement? 

When you decide to work with a professional window replacement contractor, they either make their own line of windows or work with manufacturers to provide a variety of different window types. 

Depending on the contractor you choose, you will be able to find the exact window type and shape you want. You will also have more options for customizing your window and making it your own. 

Some window manufacturers are strictly manufacturers and partners with businesses. This means that you would not be able to buy a window from that manufacturer without working with a contractor. 

Other manufacturers, like Pella, for example, partner with contractors and also allow you to buy windows right off the sales floor. 

Is DIY or professional better?

The truth is, you can just about find any window type you want to order for yourself from a website. You just may not be able to customize that window as much as you can when you work with a contractor. 

  • With a window replacement contractor, you are going to have the ability to find the perfect replacement window for you and customize it to your liking. 

  • If you are only looking for a simple style and design for your singular window that needs replacing, you can most likely find what you're looking for. 

When you find a replacement window to buy for yourself, your options will be more limited. You may be able to find the window type you want and get it in the right size. But if you are someone who likes to add more flair to your home, you may want more customization options. 

You must consider what window type you want for your replacement, how durable you want it to be, and how you want it to look. 

How does the quality of installation compare between a DIY and professional window replacement?

Considering the cost and window material and design of your project are important. However, the quality of the installation is the most crucial to consider. 

Even the highest quality and best performing window will fail prematurely if it is not installed properly. 

The quality of installation of your new window will affect its longevity and how well it operates. If any window is not installed correctly, you risk having a drafty window, which makes your home less energy-efficient, and water infiltration, which can cause rotting in your frame. This would effectively cause your effort to be a waste of time.

Will a DIY window replacement provide you with a high-quality outcome? 

Replacing your window yourself is tricky. When you deal with any opening in your home, you put it at risk. Ripping a part of the side out and leaving an open hole is difficult to put back together. 

Unless you are a certified, trained window installer with years of experience, replacing your window yourself or having a handyman replace it for you will not yield the best result. This can cause problems in the long run that compromise the integrity of your home and its interior frame.

You also need to have the right tools and materials for a window replacement. High-quality flashing tape and caulk are necessary to create a proper seal around your window. On top of that, you need the proper knowledge and skills to install the window and all its accessories properly. 

With a professional window replacement, how high quality of an installation can you expect? 

Getting a high-quality window replacement all depends on the contractor. While the chances of receiving a high-quality installation with a professional is high, it is not always guaranteed. 

When you choose a high-quality contractor with great reviews and credible history of success, then you will likely have a high-quality installation of your new windows that will last. 

Professional contractors also have the proper tools and materials necessary for a window replacement, setting your project up for success. 

Is a DIY or professional window installation better?

In almost all cases, a DIY window installation will not be as high-quality as a professional installation. The quality of installation of your new windows is the single most important factor in them standing the test of time. 

If you decide to replace your window yourself, you must be aware of the risks. Professional contractors have trained and certified installers for their windows and products. 

When you choose a high-quality contractor with a successful track record, your new window can be installed properly and last in your home.

  • If you are looking for an easy fix for your window and aren’t planning on being in your home for long, a do-it-yourself job might be what you're looking for. 

  • If you are in your forever home and want your window to last for the rest of your time in your home, then a professional contractor will be your best option. 

When comparing the quality of installation between a DIY and professional window replacement, you must think about the entire process, from removing the old window to sealing the new window in, and consider the skills and materials needed for the entire process. 

Even if you are a handy person with home repair skills but are unsure or intimated in any way with replacing a window, you do not want to risk it. 

DIY vs. Professional Window Replacement: Which is better for you? 

After comparing a DIY and professional window replacement in cost, material, and quality of installation, you can choose which is the best option for you. 

  • If you are looking for the least expensive option, are wanting a simple design, and aren't concerned about the longevity of the window, then a DIY route might be what you're looking for. 

  • If you want a high-quality, multi-window project that will last, then hiring a professional is the right option for you.

If you decide to replace your own window, you must understand the risks that come with it. This article will outline the top seven risks of an improper window installation. Then, you will know what problems you need to be aware of before replacing your window yourself. 

Looking for a professional window replacement contractor? 

Southwest Exteriors has been a window replacement expert for more than 30 years in the San Antonio area. Quality of service and installation are some of the most important to us because we know the difference it makes in the longevity of your window and value to your home. 

We install windows from several different window manufacturers, and our installers are all certified to each specific window type. Our number one goal is to provide you with the best experience and highest quality window installation through our services. 

If you’re looking for a high-quality window replacement contractor, you must know what to look for and what kind of questions to ask to determine if a contractor will meet your needs. 

This article will outline six questions to ask a window replacement contractor during a consultation with examples of what a great contractor might say and what a not-so-great contractor might say.