A new window costs an average of $200-500, and that is just the beginning. Windows play a vital part in your home’s planning and construction. Without windows, your house might as well be a plot of land. They bring light, air, and views into your home and improve its appearance and value.
However, the primary question remains: why are windows so expensive?
Windows are an essential part of any building or construction project. The way they are constructed depends on what the building will be used for and its kind. For example, jewelry shop windows are more expensive than pastry shop windows. However, to answer the question in the title, we can consider a few factors that influence the price of a window.
In building and construction, the materials used in windows are strongly influenced by climate. Therefore, there is a correspondingly greater need for window coverings in areas where temperature changes sharply from season to season. On the other hand, there is less need for insulation from the weather outside in tropical regions because the temperatures seldom change.
Window encasements are typically made of vinyl, steel, or aluminum. Of course, some of the older ones are made of wood, but those are becoming less common nowadays because of their high maintenance requirements. The material is also relatively weak and cannot stand simple burglary tools like crowbars, let alone natural disasters like hurricanes.
Vinyl (plastic) is the most used window encasement material in modern construction, being the cheapest of the contemporary options. However, it is also the weakest and cannot withstand a natural disaster or complex burglar tools like bullets.
Aluminum and steel
Aluminum and steel are both strong materials in their own right. They are both certified on several strengths and security levels, such as withstanding hurricanes and surviving complex burglary tools. As a result, window encasements from the materials are quite expensive.
Between the two, however, aluminum is cheaper, hence more commonly used in home windows construction. It is also lighter than steel, which makes most architects happy.
Steel, on the other hand, is more expensive and heavier than aluminum. This makes it an excellent choice for security windows.
There are also exceptional circumstances such as climate in the Caribean Islands that require homeowners to use different grades of stainless steel on their windows. In fact, buildings in most areas with a history of hurricanes are likely to have windows with stainless steel encasements.
Another positive characteristic of steel window encasements is that they are structurally more robust than aluminum ones. This increases the overall integrity of the structure and its durability.
The bottom line is that steel is heavy and difficult to work with. This makes windows made from the material expensive. This price goes even higher when the steel is painted or covered with outdoor approved materials.
Of course, the size of a window is one of the contributing factors to its price. Smaller windows are guaranteed to be cheaper than larger windows of the same type. However, the relationship between window size and cost is not as proportional as it sounds. Some companies charge the same price for different window sizes, especially for simple home designs.
Basically, the larger a window is, the more materials are required to make it, more so in security windows that need expensive materials like steel.
When you think of a window, you probably have a glass pane in mind. Most window companies have a series of offerings, usually double or triple-pane options for window glass composition. Some even take it a bit further and offer custom glass composition.
While all windows are technically custom because they are made to fit into a specific space, standard window companies will not make actual custom glass compositions. For this, you will need to shop in a security company.
Dense glass composition increases the glass integrity, making it more immune to impact. As a result, windows with custom glass composition are more secure but also significantly more expensive. However, the price is well worth it in some situations, such as where the window is needed in a high crime rate area.
Security companies produce glass with high composition in different densities by combining PVB (polyvinyl butyral) or polycarbonate with annealed, heat-strengthened or tempered glass to fortify it. However, these materials are not suitable for every use case, which makes custom glass composition something the buyer requires to discuss with the security company before they proceed to make it.
More specifically, hurricane-certified glass behaves differently on impact from foreign objects than security glass does in the same situation. Such services definitely require money, making custom glass composition very costly.
Another factor that affects a window’s cost is whether it is fixed or operable. Fixed windows are simply large sheets of glass that are fixed into place and are less complicated than their moveable counterparts, making them cheaper. There are also fewer materials and work that go into making a fixed window compared to an operable one.
Assuming that you are not a window installation expert yourself, you need to pay one to install the windows for you once you buy them. Some companies include this in the cost of the windows while others add it as an extra charge.
The installation cost will depend on how many windows you need to be installed and their sizes. Installation costs might also be affected by the distance from your house to the window manufacturer, as some may require you to pay for the transportation of the windows and personnel required. Most will, however, cover these costs themselves if the number of windows bought is high enough.
Windows are expensive because a myriad of products has to be included in each window to meet the building codes, thus making windows an essential part of the building. However, if security or natural disasters are not a significant concern in your area, you can find some reasonably priced windows.