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What types of windows can I afford?

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Whatís the saying ó the eyes are the window to the soul? Well if thatís the case, your windows are a view into the soul of your house. They impact nearly everything, from curb appeal to temperature, lighting, and aesthetics. Needless to say, when it comes time to replace your windows, youíll have many decisions to make.

While windows can last many years, efficiency of new windows improves every year. You can make a big difference in energy costs by upgrading to a more efficient new window. However, you also need to consider your personal style and budget. Window type, frames, and glass are the major factors that will affect your cost. Hereís a look at their pros, cons, and expense ranges.

Window types and cost

Double-hung: $150-$650

This common format allows both sashes to move up and down. Some can also swing inward for cleaning.

Single-hung: $100-$400

In a single-hung window, only the bottom sash moves up or down.

Fixed or picture: $65-$700

These single-pane windows do not open.

Casement: $150-$1,000

Casement windows are opened with a hand crank.

Sliding: $150-$800

Sliding windows work like double- and single-hung types, except side-to-side rather than up and down.

Custom: $500-$13,000 and up

A contractor designs these for your particular needs.

Egress: $650-$2,500

These styles are often code-mandated for basement living areas to provide an escape route in an emergency.

Bay: $600-$2,500

Bay windows include a large main unit with two smaller ones on either side.

Bow: $1,000-$4,500

These use several separate windows for a curved look. A bow window is an expensive option that can offer a spectacular view.

Glass types

Glass costs affect price differently based on your frame and window type, so instead of cost ranges, weíve arranged these in order of least costly to most expensive.


This is the least expensive option, but itís also the simplest. Donít expect much light blockage or efficiency.


These will cost more, but offer higher efficiency. Gas filling between panes will invisibly block heat and rays. Triple-pane For when two panes just arenít enough! These cost more but are even more efficient.


Low-emissivity glass treatment blocks ultraviolet and infrared rays without sacrificing visible light and keeps hot and cold air on the side where they belong. It falls into the middle of the price range.


This heat-treated glass is extremely strong, but itís also costly.


Laminated windows are among the most expensive, but theyíre also quite strong.

Frame types and cost:

Vinyl: $250-$600 Vinyl windows are low-maintenance, high-efficiency, and durable. However, they offer the least attractive look.

Fiberglass: $600-$900

Fiberglass has similar properties to vinyl, but costs a bit more, so itís less common.

Aluminum: $400-$1,200

This material is uncommon because itís less efficient, costs more, and isnít easy to paint.

Composite: $300-$1,100

Want the best of both worlds? Composite windows blend PVC with wood for a good-looking and robust frame that requires less maintenance.

Wood: $600-$2,000

If not taken care of, wood frames can lose integrity and efficiency under pressure from the elements. If youíre willing to pay the price in both cost and maintenance, though, they look great!

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