An image of a window in a gray slate room with a blue sky and green trees out the window.

It’s a cool spring evening near dusk, the sun is about to say goodnight, and you’re enjoying the night with friends and family in the backyard with a game of cornhole and tossing the old pigskin around. 

Suddenly, a football flies through your bedroom window, glass shatters to the floor, and the first thing that pops into your mind is, “What is this going to cost me?”

Video: "What do replacement windows cost?" Down Below

Whether it be a football through your window, water leakage around the edges, or condensation between window panes, it’s likely as a homeowner you will find yourself needing a window replacement at some point in time. Especially if you live in the harsh San Antonio climate, the ever-changing, unknown weather conditions can cause extra wear and tear on your windows, meaning they may need to be replaced sooner than you think.

When it comes to replacing a window, many factors influence how much it will cost, such as window type, functionality and efficiency of the window, upgrades, and what comes with the installation. At Southwest Exteriors, we work with five different window manufacturers to cover almost any kind of window you could ever want for your home, office, or business. 

Our expert design consultants inspect your current windows, educate you on all window products and services, and take exact measurements of each window to ensure your window is customized to your home. The price you pay to have your windows replaced will cover the entire process from the initial consultation to putting the finishing touches on your windows. 

The cost to replace a window can range anywhere from $300 to $3,000 for a standard 3 ft. x 5 ft. window.

After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of how much the cost of a window replacement will be by learning about the specific variables that influence the cost: window type, quality, installation, and warranty of the window. 

Window Type

For a house flipper looking to replace windows on a budget, an inexpensive vinyl window might be the best option. For the long-term homeowner living in a historical district, elaborate wood or wood clad windows will cost much more for the material and style. 

How many different window types are there, and what do they all cost? Choosing a window type is the largest piece of the pie when budgeting how much a window replacement project will cost you.

Vinyl

Ranked as the most affordable type of window frame, vinyl frames are made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. Though they tend to be less durable than wooden or fiberglass frames, vinyl frames offer flexible designs to fit your needs.

Vinyl windows average a cost range of $300-$900 for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window.

Aluminum

Aluminum windows, though more expensive than vinyl, are another affordable option. They typically fit a more modern look, are fairly low-maintenance, and you don’t have to worry about wear and deterioration problems as much as with wooden frames.

Aluminum windows cost around $950 to $1,200 for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass windows prove to be highly durable through changing weather conditions and are flexible, so they will contract and expand with your home. These windows are more expensive than aluminum and vinyl, but they are very energy-efficient.

Fiberglass windows have an average cost of $1,200-1,400 for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window.

Clad

A clad window is a style with vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass exterior and wood interior. This style gives your home the appearance of wood windows from the inside while eliminating the extra care of a wooden exterior.

Clad windows cost $2,200 and up for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window.

Composite

A composite window is made up of a mixture of vinyl, aluminum, wood, and other plastics and metals to create a strong, durable window frame. Composite windows take the best qualities from each material and combine them into one. Similar to clad windows, composite windows can imitate the look of a wood window without the potential problems and upkeep. 

Composite windows cost around $2,500 and upwards for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window

Wooden

As the oldest material used for windows, wooden frames are sturdy and durable. Compared to other material types, they tend to be the most expensive and need upkeep. They can be susceptible to rotting and deterioration. However, wooden frames allow more room for unique and aesthetic design.

Wooden windows cost anywhere from $2,200 to $2,500 per window.

Looking at what material you want your windows to be made of is the first step to estimating what it’s going to cost you. The next piece of the pie to calculate the cost is the quality of the window and how it is going to help your home.

Quality of Window

After you've chosen what you want your window to be made out of, you then must consider what you want your windows to do for you. The top two qualities to look at are the energy-efficiency and functionality of the window.

Functionality

Just like the different material types a window can be made of, there are unlimited styles to choose from. Of course, the bigger your window is, the more it will cost, and depending on how many bells and whistles you are wanting to come with it, it’s going to cost you too. 

For example, a simple single-hung window that only allows the bottom half to slide up and down will be cheaper than a double-hung window where the top and bottom half can both slide up and down and the entire window can tilt horizontally. 

Choosing what material you want your window to be made out of and how you want to be able to use the window is most likely going to be the first two qualities to consider for what kind of window you want.

Energy-Efficiency

Unless you live under a rock, sunlight will always come through your windows and heat your home. Those who live in the south especially understand how frustrating and money-draining it can be to run your air conditioning all day during the brutal summers. 

Now, many love having natural light all over their home, but with that sunlight comes sun heat. Windows with energy-efficient qualities won’t block any sunlight from coming through your windows, but they will block the heat that comes with it. 

With many windows now, energy-efficiency is a huge factor when choosing what kind of windows you want to be installed. You can measure quantities such as UV, or ultraviolet, percentage, infrared percentage, and solar heat gain coefficient to determine how much sun heat and light rays are going to come through a window. 

All those complicated terms say is that you can measure the energy-efficiency of your windows.

Low-E, or low emissivity, glass coating was created to lower the amount of infrared and ultraviolet rays that can penetrate through a window. Though not all glass types allow for a low-E coating, the option to add more protection from sunlight will keep your home cooler and save you from higher energy bills in the long run.

Argon gas windows are becoming more popular as another way to make your home more energy-efficient. The clear gas is inserted between the panes of the window and acts as an insulator to keep both hot and cold air inside, and it is not toxic or harmful if it leaks. 

Both of these options for making windows more energy-efficient come with a price although you will see that money come back with lower energy bills in return. 

Customizations

Though there are many styles and color options for all your design needs, sometimes you need to put your own touch into whatever product you're paying for. If the thought of having creative freedom when designing something gets you excited, then you’re certainly going to want to leave room in the budget for that. 

After choosing a style and window material for a window replacement, you can customize things like the interior and exterior color, grid pattern of the window, screen upgrades, and any extra protective coatings. Anything that you add on top of what comes with a standard window will add to the final price.

Once you have chosen the window material and style and determined any upgrades or customizations you would like to add, the installation process will be the next cost factor to consider.

Installation

While the majority of what you pay for a window replacement consists of how much the actual window costs, the installation process must be considered as well. A window can be advertised as only $400 per window, but how much will it cost to install it, and what is the quality of that installation? 

Like most things with a higher price tag, what you pay for is what you get. You can pay someone to come and replace your window for $400, but the quality of the installation is just as important as the quality of the window. 

Things to consider when looking at an installation are the pre-measurement and inspection process, tools and materials used, and warranty coverage. 

Before a window is replaced, the best companies will take exact measurements of every single window space to custom order each window to their exact size. 

The older a home is, the more it shifts and moves with the earth. If a window size is 3 ft. x 5 ft. and that basic window is ordered without taking its exact measurements, the window will not fit. This can lead to extra caulking around the window to force it to fit in the space which will cause an inevitable replacement in the short term future. 

The type of caulk used to seal the window in place is an important thing to consider as well for the quality of an installation. If the caulk does not seal the window properly, a window will not be as energy-efficient as it should be and allow air to pass back and forth from the inside to outside. Water leakage can also occur with poorly caulked windows.

Did you know that caulk can have a lifespan, too? If the caulk does not have a long-term lifespan, then this will cause repairs or replacements to be made faster than you imagined they would. Caulk with a 50-year lifespan will obviously last in your window longer than a caulk with a two-year lifespan. 

Warranty

Just like how caulk has a lifespan, windows have a lifespan too. This is most commonly conveyed through company warranty. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.

Company A and Company B sell the same windows from the same manufacturer. You’re looking to replace 10 windows in your home and decide to look at how much it would cost for each company to do the job. 

Company A charges $12,500 for 10 aluminum 3 ft. x 5 ft. windows. They offer a lifetime warranty for the entire time you will be living in your home.

Company B charges $8,000 for the same exact job, but only offers a three-year warranty. If anything happens to your windows after those three years, you’re on your own. 

Which option seems like a better deal? Unless you aren’t planning on staying in your home for more than a few years, Company A offers you a better deal. They give you the security of knowing you will not have to pay if anything goes wrong with the windows like cracking, breaking, or seal failure. 

Wrapping it all up

When looking to replace your windows, the type and quality of the window will be the biggest part of your overall cost. Upgrades and customization as well as the installation process are vital qualities to pay attention to in order to get the product and service that is right for you. 

It’s important to do your research and be smart with the company you choose. Resources like Angie’s List, Google Reviews, and Yelp can help you see real reviews from clients who have used the company and service you’re looking for. Consider what qualities of the company are most important to you such as company values, reviews, and reputation.

At Southwest Exteriors, craftsmanship, cleanliness, communication, and compassion are most important to us, and we want to make sure you are cared for, whatever your needs may be. 

Ready to replace your windows? Call Southwest Exteriors at 210-361-9766 or fill out the form on our webpage to speak with a representative and set up a free consultation. Virtual consultations are available as well for your safety and convenience.