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Compare Window Replacement Prices in California for Your Next Home Project
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Compare Window Replacement Prices in California for Your Next Home Project

Dikran Seferian

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6 min read

May 26, 2022

It goes without saying that property value means everything in California. As a homeowner in the Golden State, you probably put a great deal of effort into the curb appeal of your house. While keeping your driveway sleek and your landscape well-maintained definitely helps, a fresh set of windows can do wonders in boosting the value of your home while refreshing your living spaces

When the time comes to replace your windows, it can be a good idea to do some number crunching before you go “window shopping” (pun very much intended). Of course, the pricing depends on a handful of factors such as the frame material, the type of window, and the cost of labor. Taking all of these factors into consideration will help you budget your window replacement project accordingly. 

Cost of Replacing a Window in California Per window Type

Home window replacements are available in various designs. That being said, the price you’ll pay (including installation) will naturally differ according to each type of window.

Single-Hung Window Replacement

Also referred to as sash windows, single-hung windows are characterized by a fixed upper sash and a movable lower section. Compared to the national average of $120 to $510, the cost of window replacement (single-hung) in California ranges from $130 to $530 — depending on the features such as the number of pane layers. 

Double-Hung Window Replacement

Double-hung windows look a lot like their single-hung counterparts from a distance. As opposed to the latter, however, both the upper and lower sashes are movable. The average California homeowner will normally spend $145 to $730 for double-hung replacement windows. Keep in mind that the price also varies according to frame material, size of window, and the glass unit.

Common in many California homes, double-hung windows feature two movable sashes that you can open.

Replacing Picture Windows

Picture windows are designed to offer a substantial view of outdoor spaces — especially if you own a beach house — while letting in a lot of natural light. Typically featuring a single pane, these windows are often fixed and don’t consist of any mullions. Picture window replacements cost anywhere from $345 to $1260 in California. 

Replacing Casement Windows

Casement windows vertically attach to the side of the frame via hinges, and normally open outwards using a crank handle. The cost of replacing a casement window in California can range between $220 for standard units up to $1,500 for high-end varieties. 

Bay and Bow Window Replacement

A common element in Victorian houses, bay and bow windows still maintain their popularity to this day. The window features three separate frames with the one in the middle being larger than those on each side. When it comes to replacing bay and bow windows in California, you’re looking at an average of $900 up to $4,930. 

Sliding Window Replacement

Sliding windows are no different from other varieties in that they are available in a range of sizes, styles, and of course, prices. The windows consist of two sections, one or both of which slide horizontally. You can expect to pay $320 for a standard sliding window up to $1,300 for high-end options. 

Cost of Replacing a Window in California Per Frame Material 

The biggest factor that impacts both aesthetic appeal and replacement cost is the frame material you go with for your window. That being said, it’s always a good idea to replace your windows with those of the same material or of better quality in order to maintain home value.

Vinyl Frames

Being both stylish and low-maintenance, it comes to no surprise that vinyl is the most popular frame material. This sought-after material offers a good deal of energy efficiency while lending a timeless aesthetic with trims and profiles that can be made to resemble wood. Vinyl replacement windows cost between $790 to $1,100 on average. Replacing 20 windows in a 2000-square-foot house in California can cost anywhere from $15,700 to $22,000 (including cost of labor)

Wood Frames

Among the most expensive options for frame material is wood, ranging between $900 to $1,400 per window. Besides other factors such as size and design, the price also depends on the species of wood being used. Oakwood, for instance, is relatively costlier than pine. Pricing aside, however, wooden window frames offer a unique aesthetic to just about any California living space.

Wood windows have a unique appeal that corresponds with just about any interior design.

Aluminum Frames

Aluminum frames are easily the most affordable of the bunch but not the most versatile. They tend to lack in the efficiency and insulation department, making them less of a practical choice. Should that not be an issue, however, you can replace aluminum windows for an average of $100 to $420 per unit — which is ideal if you’re on a tight budget. 

Fiberglass Frames

Although fiberglass window frames share the same benefits as their vinyl counterparts in terms of durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic value, they tend to be more sturdy. As a homeowner in California, you can expect to pay between $460 to $1,600 for replacing a fiberglass window.

Composite Frames

Composite frames consist of a mix of PVC polymers, offering the same aesthetic versatility of wood as well as the durability of vinyl. Windows with composite frames are also energy efficient, meaning that you can save money down the line. Composite replacement window prices in California typically range from $345 to $1,400 per unit. 

Other Factors to Consider When Replacing a Window in California

A number of other factors can impact the average cost for replacing windows in California. These can include anything from energy efficiency upgrades to the complexity of the project. 

Glass Unit and Energy Efficiency

Should you consider maximizing the amount you can save on your utility expenses, you may want to go for a couple of energy efficiency upgrades. These include low-E coating, spectrally selective tinting, and double or triple-pane glass units. 

Having your replacement windows tinted can be worth the extra cost considering the heat-blocking qualities.

While many window companies tend to offer their windows as a package deal that includes the frame and the glass unit, others will sell the components separately. In the former case, most windows are available with two panes of glass which not only allow for better insulation, but also reduce noise coming from the outside. You can go the extra mile by going for argon-filled windows for added insulation and low-E coating for protection against UV rays. 

Of course, these additional features and upgrades will have an impact on the replacement window cost, with the increase in price depending on the type of glass you’re going for. While you can find a more budget-friendly option in basic single-pane windows, going for double-pane varieties with other upgrades will allow you to cut down on energy bills down the line, albeit the bigger price tag upfront. 

Cost of Labor

After deciding on the replacement window of your choice, the next step is where the hard work comes into play: the installation. While certain replacements can be done as a DIY project, it is generally recommended to hire the services of a professional window installer. Initial consultations are almost always free of charge. The actual process of replacing the windows, however, is a completely different story because of the amount of time, effort, and skills involved. 

Window installers in California will normally charge a minimum flat rate of $45 an hour, and up to $65 in some cases. Depending on certain factors such as the number of windows to be replaced, it may take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days for a window contractor to finish the job. A good rule of thumb is to add $150 to $700 for labor, basing your estimate on the scope of work involved.

Window installers have the skills and expertise needed to carry out a replacement project.

Complexity of the Project

Number of units aside, certain windows tend to be trickier to replace than others. A relatively complex installation will naturally take more time, resulting in a higher cost of installation. The same goes for projects that require special equipment or when the window is in a hard to reach spot. Replacing a unit on the ground floor, for instance, wouldn’t take as much time and resources as replacing one on the second or third floor. 

The complexity of the work also has to do with whether you’re going for a full-frame installation or an insert — the latter being more cost-effective. In most cases, the option you prefer pretty much depends on your budget. A full-frame installation involves replacing the whole window and requires the contractors to remove the old one completely. This obviously takes more time, effort and resources to finish. The quicker and more affordable option, if possible, is to go for an insert. Also known as a pocket installation, an insert basically involves placing a new window inside the existing frame. 

Where You Live in California

Another factor that can largely influence the average cost of window replacement is the area you live in. While the price of the windows themselves may more or less be the same whether you live in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Southern California, or anywhere else in the Golden State, the main difference is in the labor costs. This is mainly because the cost of living varies from one city to another. Window replacement companies in Los Angeles, for instance, may charge more than those elsewhere.

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