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Your California Home Remodel: Installation Costs for New Windows
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Your California Home Remodel: Installation Costs for New Windows

From frame material to cost of labor, here are the factors which are likely to affect the cost of your window replacement project.

Dikran Seferian


7 min read

May 25, 2022

It goes without saying that a renovation project can revitalize your home. While a fresh paint job or new flooring are certainly effective ways to revamp your living spaces, let’s not underestimate the impact of new windows — especially on home value. And when you live in California, you know that home value is everything. 

As with any home improvement gig, installing windows will require you to do some number crunching. A lot of factors go into budgeting your new window installation project. From frame material to cost of labor, taking every detail into account can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of pricing.  

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Cost of Installing New Window: Frame Materials

The frame material you choose for installing a new window is one of the biggest factors that impact not only the pricing but also the aesthetic appeal. That being said, it’s always a good idea to replace your windows with those of the same material as your old ones (or of better quality) in order to maintain the value of your California home.

Vinyl Window Installation

Both affordable and low-maintenance, it comes as no surprise that vinyl is the most popular frame material. This highly sought-after material offers a good deal of energy efficiency while lending a timeless aesthetic with trims and profiles that can be made to look like wood. The cost of installing new vinyl windows typically ranges from $300 to $650 and varies from one manufacturer to another.

Wood Window Installation

Wood is among the most expensive options for frame material, ranging between $500 up to $2,000 per window. Keep in mind that installing wood frames may also be time-consuming due to all the sanding, priming, and painting that may be involved. Besides other factors such as window size and design, the price also depends on the species of wood being used. Oakwood, for instance, is relatively costlier than pine.

Pricing aside, wooden window frames offer a unique appearance to just about any California interior. Certain historical neighborhoods in the Golden State (and across the US) even have codes that require wood framing for both replacement and new construction windows.

Although higher on the price spectrum, wood window frames lend a natural aesthetic to your home.

Installing Fiberglass Windows

Not only do fiberglass window frames share the same benefits as their vinyl counterparts in terms of durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic value, but they also tend to be more sturdy. Regardless of this extra advantage, however, fiberglass isn’t all that common of an option as it tends to average upwards of $900 for every new window installed.

Installing Composite Windows

Composite frames consist of a mix of PVC polymers, offering the same aesthetic versatility of wood and the durability of vinyl. Although they can cost nearly $1,200 on average, they are incredibly easy to maintain after installation. Windows with composite frames are also energy efficient, meaning that you can save a great deal of money down the line.

Aluminum Window Installation

You can expect to spend anywhere between $450 to $1,500 for aluminum frames. Although the material is still available as an option for installing new windows, it tends to lack in the efficiency and insulation department, making it less of an ideal choice if that’s what you’re looking for in a window. Since aluminum is relatively light, however, it can be ideal for large units that can get somewhat difficult to maneuver into place. Bear in mind that the easier the installation process, the smaller the overall cost. 

Cost of Installing New Windows According to Type

Home window installations are available in a slew of sizes and configurations. That being said, the pricing will naturally differ according to each type such as single-hung, sliding, or casement.

Single-Hung Window Installation

Also referred to as sash windows, single-hung windows are characterized by a fixed upper sash and a movable lower section. Depending on the features, such as the number of pane layers, expect to pay somewhere from $125 to $430 for installing a new single-hung window.

Double-Hung Window Installation

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 homeowner will normally spend between $170 and $625 to install a double-hung window. Bear in mind that the price also varies according to frame material, size of the window, and the glass unit.

Installing Casement Windows

Casement windows use hinges on the side of their frames and attach vertically to open outwards using a crank handle. Installing casement windows in your Golden State crib can cost anywhere from $200 up to $1000 per unit.

Installing Picture Windows

Picture windows are designed to offer a substantial view of outdoor spaces while letting in plenty of natural light — ideal for a California beach house. Typically featuring a single pane, these windows are often fixed and don’t consist of any mullions. Due to their simple design, picture windows are relatively the least expensive to install, costing as little as $75 for small units and up to $800 for larger ones.   

Picture windows are excellent at providing panoramic views of your outdoor landscape.

Sliding Window Installation

Also known as gliding windows, 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 around $165 for installing a standard sliding window and up to $850 for high-end varieties. 

Bay and Bow Window Installation

A common element in Victorian houses, bay windows still maintain their popularity to this day. The window features three separate frames: a larger one in the middle and smaller ones on the flanks. When it comes to installing bay windows, you’re looking at an average of $615 to $2,600 per unit. As for bow windows, which are similar to bay windows but have five sides or more, the pricing ranges between $1,000 to $5,000 for a new install. 

Cost of Installing New Windows Per Glass Unit

Windows tend to alter how homeowners see the outdoor world, and the type of glass plays an important role in that regard. The glass and the number of panes it comes in for a window determine its energy efficiency and light or heat reduction. 

Installing Single-Pane Windows

Single-pane windows consist of one glass layer that you can find in various colors, styles, and treatments. They can be tinted, tempered, and shatterproof. As the least expensive option for windows, single-pane glass averages around $150 per unit. However, it is worth mentioning that contractors aren’t legally allowed to install single-pane windows in California since double-pane windows have become the standard. While homeowners can still opt for single-pane, it is generally not recommended. 

Double-Pane Window Installation

An upgrade from single-pane windows, the double-pane variety features two layers of glass with air between panes. This layer of air allows the window to be more energy-efficient and reduces the chance of condensation. Double-pane windows will sometimes contain argon gas, which is more heat resistant, to boost efficiency. Double-panes naturally cost more than their single-pane counterparts, averaging around $300 for basic window designs. 

Triple-Pane Window Installation

If two panes aren’t enough for your California home, you can opt for triple-pane windows for maximum energy efficiency, condensation prevention, and noise reduction. Due to the high cost of construction, triple-pane units aren’t a standard option and are often produced for a custom order. Triple-panes window installation may cost up to $1000. 

Triple-pane windows allow you to maximize energy efficiency while minimizing noise from the outside.

Reflective Window Coating

We all love the California sun, but the heat it radiates doesn’t always sit well with our living spaces. That’s where reflective coating comes in. The coating on windows is meant to minimize glare and prevent UV damage to furniture. It also reduces the amount of heat that enters your home, helping to keep the indoor temperature cool during the summer. Depending on the type of coating, size of the window, and how complex the design is, window coating prices can range from $300 to $600 per unit.   

Spectrally Selective Window Coating

Spectrally selective coating, or tinting, allows for as much light to pass through while blocking 70% of penetrating heat. This option is especially ideal for California’s coastal weather. The prices vary according to window design, size, number of panes, and the type of coating. On average, spectrally selective coating on windows costs between $400 to $900.

Low-E Coating

Low-E windows contain a microscopic sheet of metal on the inner side of the double or triple-pane glass. This not only helps in blocking UV rays but is also useful in maintaining a moderate indoor temperature. Regardless of window size, you can apply a low-E coating to just about any glass pane. Depending on your window’s size and design, expect to spend $280 to $670 on average. 

Argon-Filled Panes

An alternative to standard glass windows, the argon upgrade applies to double and triple-pane units. The space between the panes is filled with argon gas and sealed. The natural gas, argon, is six times denser than air. It, therefore, provides a great deal of energy efficiency by blocking the flow of heat for the average price of $450 to $850 for a new window installation. It’s worth keeping in mind that besides allowing you to cut down on energy costs, such upgrades will even pay off when you decide to place your home on the real estate market in the future. 

Other Factors to Consider When Installing New Windows

A number of other factors can impact the cost to install new windows. These include labor costs, the brand, and the location of the project. 

Labor Cost

In most cases, the cost of labor for a window installation service ranges around $45 per hour, and even more if you live in Los Angeles. Bear in mind that many window installers will charge a flat rate, with each project taking an estimated amount of 1.5 hours — depending on the complexity of the install. Custom designs, for example, may take up to six hours; the same goes for installing windows in old homes.

The cost of labor mainly depends on the duration of the window installation project.

Window Brand

Although a window’s frame material, type, and glass unit are the main factors in determining the cost of a new install, the pricing may also vary across brands. Pella’s Architect Series 850, for instance, ranges from $850 to $1,500 whereas the Architectural Collection E-Series by Andersen runs from $900 to $1,400 — keeping in mind that the two product lines are similar in design and frame material.

Location of Installation

The location can not only impact the new window installation cost but the duration of the process as well. Installing a unit on the second floor, let’s say, would take more time and resources than installing one on the first floor.

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