Whether you go to a big “windows company” or local contractor, you will get prices for new vinyl windows ranging from $200-1000 to install a simple double hung window.
While $200 for a new window (installed) is really cheap, and $1000 is way too expensive, the devil is always in details. So let’s take a look at how much new windows cost – both for the unit itself, as well as the installation. For now we will stick to VINYL, but other materials usually cost more by a difference in the price of windows itself, as installation is nearly the same.
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$189 and $200 Windows Gimmick (SCAM)
Basically no company can make money selling vinyl windows for $200 installed, because the cost of materials, installation (big contractors hire sub-contractors, and pay them for each window installed), sales commission overhead, and profit will be more than $200. So there are VERY serious restrictions on what you actually get for $200, based on the size of the window (measured in United Inches or U.I., which is the sum of height and width of the window) which are typically UNDER 79 U.I., while typical home window is over 89 U.I.
These restrictions work so that most clients CANNOT get windows for $200, because they will need bigger unit than is included in this price. These windows also DO NOT include any energy saving upgrades that are important and are often required by local building codes.
Also not included in $189 or $200 replacement window price tag are the following NECESSARY items:
- Window Insulation
- Wrapping of exterior frame
- Window Stops
- Low E / Argon
- Welded Frame / Sashes
These windows also do not include nice to have things like Grids, Good locks, decent weather stripping, etc.
For $189 you can get a basement size lowest quality “window” that will not be any better than old single-pane windows you want to replace in the first place.
Bottom line – most homeowners will not get for the advertised $200 price.
So here is how $189 / $200 windows work:
Big window companies typically use a big supplier (such as Alside) for their windows. They cannot use a smaller local company, as they cover big territories, and logistics of dealing with small manufacturer would kill profit margins. Sears (and according to our sources Window World) as well as other “contractors” used Alside (as of 2012) for their vinyl windows, and I also installed these same windows for my customers, so we will use them (and their prices) for the purpose of this guide. Other manufacturers offer nearly the same lines and prices, so it is not that important who made the windows (except for Anderson – they make their own windows and charge much more for them, compared to other manufacturers. We used Alside prices in our Replacement Windows Cost Calculator.
Alside basically has 3 lines of windows, and a couple of more “lines” that are a mirror image of these 3 main lines, with just few small differences in design, and a different name.
Ultra Maxx / Sheffield (High End) – Fully welded frame and sashes, thick vinyl frame walls, good insulator, available with triple-glazing and Crypton / Argon gas. Can have an equivalent of up-to 6.7 R value.
Excalibur II (Mid-range) – welded sashes and frame, better insulator, thin vinyl walls, double glazing only. These are OK, but not great.
Century (Low End) – mechanically constructed frame and sashes, thin vinyl walls, low-end insulator. I would not install these windows for a client, and these are usually put in rental properties.
All of the above can be outfitted with Low-E, and Argon insulation gas for better energy efficiency.
If you got a price for a new window in the range of $200, you are getting a “Century” type window, under 79 U.I. without any options (and probably without insulation). Here is more info about Alside windows.
The reason I list Alside windows here (and not Anderson or Pella or other brand) is because I worked personally with Alside and Installed them for all of my clients. In my house however, I installed windows from a local window company in Smithfield RI (i don’t even remember the name of that company). I installed my windows before I started installing windows for clients.
Replacement Window Prices:
The replacement windows described below are VINYL. High end FiberGlass or Wood windows will typically cost $300 more that min-range windows.
If you go to any Alside location, there is a windows catalog available, which includes LIST PRICES for all windows, options and accessories. Contractors get their OWN prices, which are much lower than a list price – typically a percentage off list. I get about 65% off list price, which is VERY good (I compared my prices with other contractors). Big clients get (by my estimate) 70-75% off, depending on volume.
Here is how much you will pay to install new replacement windows, how much each window costs and how much your contractor is paying SUB-contractors (if subs are involved):
|Low End Window||Mid-range Window||High End Window|
|Total Cost to Install||$352||$470||$590|
|Cost of Window||$109||$189||$278|
|Sub’s cost to install||$60-80||$65-85||$65-85|
|Contractor Profit (before expenses)||$163||$196||$227|
In the table above, we used high cost for subs to minimize confusion. Also, in this price table, the installation includes installing fiberglass insulation between the window and window opening, and reusing old window stops.
Each window comes with LOW-E + Argon Gas and has double pane, with standard weather stripping and insulators for each window line.
Low end windows have MECHANICAL Frame + Sashes.
Mid Range windows have Welded Frame + Mechanical Sashes.
High End windows have Fully Welded Frame + Sashes.
These prices are for VINYL replacement windows only.
These prices do not include exterior frame copping (metal wrap) which costs $50-90 depending on contractor, window size and how high off the ground window is. Also not included in these prices: Grids or Triple Pane glass. Triple pane is optional only in High End windows and costs $30-40 per window.
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