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Why is a window replacement so expensive? 4 factors that impact price

January 19th, 2022 | 12 min. read

Why is a window replacement so expensive? 4 factors that impact price

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A rectangular window close to a ceiling with a red/brown trim and sunlight streaming in. There are graphics of money spilling out from the window.

If you’re thinking about replacing just a few or all your home’s windows, finding the right window for you can be stressful.

You’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost, how the window will perform and look, and how long they will last. 

Depending on your goals for your new windows, you might be looking for the best window and best contractor on the market. 

When you start to research for high-quality window replacement contractors in your area or even schedule a consultation with one, you may be presented with a quote for your project and wonder, “Why is it so expensive?” 

It can be jolting to look at a quote that is noticeably higher than other quotes or advertisements you see for window replacements. However, it’s important to understand what’s behind the cost of a premium window replacement so you can feel more comfortable going into your project. 

Southwest Exteriors has been an exterior remodeling contractor in San Antonio since 1989. We specialize in high-quality window replacements and offer the best windows on the market paired with a professional installation. 

We know that we are not the least expensive option out there, and we don’t claim to be. We also know that the cost of your window replacement project is a large deciding factor for many homeowners when choosing a contractor. 

To put our cards on the table, if you know you want a high-quality window replacement that will last in your home, it will be on the higher end of the cost range.  

This article will outline the four largest factors that separate a high-quality window replacement from a low-quality one. Then, you can understand why some contractors are more expensive than others and can ensure your project meets your needs. 

After reading, you will know what’s behind a high-quality window replacement and what sets it apart from a less expensive, low-quality one.  

Factor 1: The quality of the window glass 

The first major differentiator between a high-quality window and a low-quality one is the quality of the glass. 

When you look at your window, the first thing you probably see is the glass. Glass makes up over 95% of the entire window, so considering the quality of the glass for your new windows is a must. 

Many high-quality windows are made with Cardinal glass. Cardinal Glass Industries makes many types of glass, like Low-E coated, insulated, and laminated glass, for replacement windows. 

Some window manufacturers also manufacture their own glass for their products, like Pella, although it is rare. There are local window glass manufacturers, however, you must be careful if your window glass is made by a local company. 

Read real reviews of the product that prove the glass’ strength, durability, and longevity, or else you may find yourself with a cheap window glass. 

A high-quality glass is a large percentage of the overall cost of the window. However, glass is a crucial component to the energy efficiency, quality, and strength of the window. 

If you want a window that is going to protect your home from excess UV rays and solar heat, you need a glass that will do so. This is why windows with high-quality glass are more costly than a window with cheap glass. 

Ask your contractor who manufactures the window glass so you can do your own research on the glass and determine if it will perform how you need it to.  

Factor 2: The quality and durability of the frame

The second differentiating factor between a premium window and a lower quality one is the quality and durability of the window frame. 

There are many different types of window frames, like fiberglass, vinyl, wood, composite, and aluminum. No matter what frame material you choose, if you want your window to last, you need a window that is made with high-quality and durable material. 

For example, vinyl window frames have come a long way since they hit the market. Vinyl used to be known for bending and bowing under constant changing temperatures, leading it to crack and chip. Now, newly engineered vinyl has been created to negate these potential problems and make for a durable window frame. 

But, you must choose the right vinyl, just like any other material. If you choose the least expensive option out there, you can’t expect it to be the best-performing one. 

You can compare window materials to each other depending on durability. Wood has the potential to rot if not sealed properly, while fiberglass and vinyl are resistant to rot. 

A clad window provides added strength to a wood frame while also protecting the exterior of the frame from weather. 

Any window material can be made at a high-quality or lower one. This is why it is important to have realistic expectations in cost and durability when shopping for new windows. 

If you are looking for a replacement window that will last for 20+ years in your home, you will want to choose a window made of a high-quality material that is proven to last. 

Factor 3: Longevity of the window 

The quality of the window glass and frame come together to make up how long the window is going to last in your home. This is one of the biggest differences between a high-quality and low-quality window. 

While both a high-quality and a low-quality window may perform similarly right out of the box in their strength, looks, and energy efficiency, a lower quality window will wear and tear faster than a high-quality one. 

If you are looking for a long-term solution to your home windows, choosing a high-quality, durable replacement window may cost you more, but it is the better option for you. 

If you are flipping a house and just looking for the least expensive option to spruce up a home and aren’t concerned about the longevity of the windows, you might just want the least expensive option out there. 

Factor 4: The quality of installation and warranty

The fourth and final differentiating factor between a high-quality and lower quality window replacement is the quality of the overall installation, service, and warranty. 

The quality of installation comes down to the quality of your contractor. A high-quality contractor will deliver a professional window replacement done properly with the right equipment and practices. This, in turn, increases the cost of your overall project. 

Your window replacement installation will be backed by a warranty. Typically, the window has a warranty against manufacturing defects, and the contractor has a warranty for the installation. 

It is typical for window manufacturers to warranty their windows for 20 years (10 years for glass). However, windows that are less expensive may have a shorter warranty period because they are not made to last. 

Similarly, the contractor’s warranty on their installation will depend on the quality of the company and the installation. This will directly impact the cost as well.

Overall, a high-quality installation and warranty that will back your windows up for years in your home are going to factor into the total cost. 

Choosing the right window for your home remodeling project

Now that you know the four largest factors that separate a high-quality window replacement from a lower quality one, you can better understand why they differ in cost. 

Choosing the right window and contractor for your project all depends on what your goals are. If you are looking for a life-long solution, a high-quality window and contractor that will meet all your needs is the best option for you. But, it will be more costly. 

If you are looking for the least expensive, fastest solution to replacing your windows, you cannot also expect them to be the best quality. 

This is why it is important to have realistic expectations when it comes to budgeting for your window replacement project. Quality and cost have a direct relationship when it comes to replacement windows. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we offer the highest quality windows along with the best installation and service. Because of this, we fall on the higher end of the cost range for a window replacement. 

We pride ourselves on how we take care of San Antonio homeowners. When you replace your windows with us, you’ll have the best-looking home on the block. 

After learning about the major differences between a high-quality and lower quality window replacement, you’re probably wondering how much an average window replacement costs. 

This article will outline how much a window replacement costs and what variables affect the cost. Then, you can better understand how much your project may cost you.