Determining the cost of a window replacement can be trickier than trying to predict next week’s weather. That is because there are several factors that come into play. Besides the quality of the new windows and the type of installation, the condition of your home and the existing windows you have will also greatly affect the final price.
Perhaps, what is more, important before you sign a contract, is that you understand exactly what you are getting for the money you pay. There are window companies all across Canada that prey on unsuspecting homeowners and exploit this lack of knowledge for profit.
So what do you need to know about window prices?
Let’s start with a very simple breakdown of average window costs. Remember, size, the number of panes, and any additional upgrades determine how windows are priced:
- Bedroom or Kitchen window prices range between $900 and $3600 on average.
- Bow or Bay window prices range between $2,800 to $4,500
- Living room window prices range between $2,100 to $3,700
- Standard size patio door prices range between $1,700 and $3,100
- Basement window prices on average are between $600 – $1100
Straight-forward stuff so far, but how do you know that you are getting quality in return for your investment.
- Replacement windows are a long-term investment. It may seem frightening when you have to spend thousands of dollars to get new windows in the entire house. But if you consider that quality windows should last you around 25 years, the processes and components involved have to be at a certain quality standard.
- Installation type makes a difference. There are only two types of window installation: full-frame and retrofit. A full-frame installation is more thorough and is usually recommended for residential replacement windows, but it can also cost up to 20% more. Remember, correct installation is essential to the longevity and performance of your new windows.
- Window type matters. Customers and even window companies sometimes debate whether to get triple-pane or double-pane windows. What is more important, is that windows you get are ENERGY STAR rated and are considered efficient in your local climate zone. In order to be considered efficient in Regina, windows must meet requirements for climate zone 2, and have a minimum ER rating of 29.
Which installation type is right for you?
As it is, there are two main types of window installation in Canada: a full-frame (brick to brick) replacement, and retrofit (insert) window installation. These installations differ in how thorough they are, and as a result, there is a price difference as well. On average, a full-frame replacement costs roughly 15-20% more than a retrofit. So which installation should you pick?
In reality, you may not have much of a choice. In a retrofit installation, the existing frame of the window remains intact. The old window sashes are removed and replaced with new sealed units. This installation type is not advisable if the wood framing around your windows has moisture or mold damage. Unfortunately, that is often the case with older prairie homes. In this case, a full-frame replacement is recommended. A retrofit will simply be a band-aid solution that will need to be remedied again when the frames fully rot out.
A full-frame replacement takes care of all the structural issues in the frame surrounding the window. A good installer will fully remove the existing window, clear the opening and look out for signs of moisture damage. A new frame, window, jambs, and brickmoulds are then put in and sealed off from the elements. This makes sure that the window is protected and sealed from the outside and inside.
Unfortunately, not all homeowners can recognize the difference between two installation types. Beware of companies that will try to pass off a retrofit as a full-frame replacement: they are charging double for half the work.
Casement vs. Sliding Windows
Just like there are two types of window installation, there are two main types of vinyl windows when it comes to pricing your replacement: crank (casement or awning) and sliding or hung windows. Crank windows can cost up to 20% more than sliding ones. But why?
The answer is simply that they are more efficient. Modern crank windows use compression seals in the area where the moving sash meets the frame. These are areas where drafts and leaks are most likely to occur. A compression seal creates an airtight unit when the window is closed and prevents warm air from escaping your home. Slider windows and old casement units rely on weather stripping, which is not as effective and, therefore, makes for a less efficient window.
Another advantage of crank windows, is the ease with which they can be opened and closed. Many people don’t consider it, but sashes in modern vinyl windows can get quite heavy, especially if it is a triple-pane unit. In sliding windows you have to move the sash by hand, which can be difficult as is, and especially so if the window is in a harder to reach area over a sink. Casement and awning windows rely on crank technology to move the sash. Crank windows require roughly 1/10th of the force to operate. Because you’re not pulling on the sash all the time, the window also won’t deform or bow as it can sometimes happen with sliding windows.
How to make sure you’re buying a quality product
If you really want value from your replacement, and would like to ensure that windows actually add comfort to your home, consider getting windows that are ENERGY STAR rated. In Canada, Energy Star outlines three distinct climate zones. In order to be considered efficient in each zone, windows must meet specific rating requirements. In order to be considered efficient in Regina, windows must have a minimum ER rating of 29 and qualify for climate zone 2.
Unfortunately, many companies lie about the quality of their windows or try to convince customers that they don’t actually need windows for Zone 2.
Fortunately, all companies whose windows are Energy Star rated can be found on this Natural Resources Canada website.
Buying rated and tested windows is the best way to make sure that you’re paying for a quality product.
Hopefully, you understand a little more about your options when it comes to window replacement. What’s most important here is not that you pay less or more than the next person. It’s that you pay the right amount for the type of windows and work that will get done on your house.
You can see how we price our windows, and our past full-frame and retrofit projects.
Be sure to check out these window replacement articles:
How To Pick A Window Company
One Thing You MUST Know Before Scheduling A Window Replacement Quote
Egress Windows: Absolutely Everything You Will Ever Need to Know