Storm Window Costs
Storm window costs range from $75 to $225 installed per opening. This includes both the single glazed window and frame, as well as the installation. We'll give you both a price breakdown for this window option, but also go over the pros and cons associated with this relatively cost effective option.
Price Range: $75 to $225 installed
Basics Of Storm Windows
Storm windows are mounted either on the inside or the outside of an existing window in order to provide both an added layer of protection, as well as to bolster the thermal efficiency or insulation of the window opening. Storm window frames can be made from a number of materials to match the existing windows and aesthetics of a home, including vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass or wood. From a cost perspective, they are a much less expensive option than replacement windows. They may not, however, be the best looking or best long term solution for a home.
Product Prices: $50 to $150 (Window Only)
Entry Level: $50 to $75
Mid Range: $75 to $100
Premium: $100 to $125
Pricing On Installation: $25 to $100
Inserts: $25 to $50 per opening
Standard: $50 to $100 per opening
Replacement On An Historic Home: $50 to $100 an opening
Completed Project Prices
Entry Level: $75 to $125 per window installed
Mid Range: $125 to $175 per window installed
Premium: $175 to $225 per window installed
Advantages Of Storm Windows
Less Expensive Than Replacements
While the most you will probably pay for a storm window is $225, the upper end of the vinyl replacement window market is more like $850 per opening. The upper end of the wood clad window market is more like $1200 per opening. Multiply this cost savings across 15 windows and you are talking about a lot of money.
Most storm windows have single glazing, which provides improved insulation for a home. Is it going to be as good as a high quality vinyl window, no. The added layer or barrier will improve the performance numbers of the opening, although without knowing anything about the product or installation methods it is impossible to say how much improvement a homeowner will achieve.
Storm / Window Protection
Having an added layer of protection will protect better against storms that could cause damage to the exterior window (or with an exterior storm window add a barrier to protect the prime window against damage from a storm). Either way an added layer of protection will help against storms entering the home and causing real damage.
Preserve The Look Of The Orignal Windows
Certain homes, espeically historical or older homes, have very specific type of glass (leaded, stained, real divided lite) that adds to the overall aesthetic and charm of the home. The downside may be that they simply don't perform up to snuff when it comes to efficiency and keeping the house well insulated. An interior storm window can preserve the look of this type of home, while increasing the performance numbers and strength of the window openings.
Disadvantages Of Storm Windows
Two sets of windows means double the maintenance requirements for cleaning or any repairs etc. The proximity of the windows together can make it a challenge to clean as opposed to a single window. Depending on the frame material you choose, the windows may have to be painted periodically.
Less Thermal Qualities Than Replacements
This happens both at the opening or frame which presumably has issues since a homeowner is considering replavcing the window, as well as at the glass. Most storm windows are single glazed, which are simply not as energy efficient compared to a well made replacement window. Between the air infiltration at the frame and the loss of heat at the glass, you are definitely not getting the best long term solution in terms of energy efficiency.
Not The Best For Resale Value
This is probably not the most important factor, but storm windows may not be the best selling point, especially if the buyer is thinking of staying in the home long term. They might see the storms as a well made band aid that they are going to have to rip off and foot the bill for well made replacement windows.
Possible Condensation Issues
Exterior storm windows are really not supposed to be perfectly airtight; instead they should allow moisture and water vapor to escape. If instead they are caulked shut and the inside window is not airtight (this is again a fair assumption since the homeowner is addressing a problem with the windows), condensation can build on the inside and create mold, can warp and without proper maintenance become rotten. This takes you back to the maintenance issue since the homeowner has to monitor the state of the windows with that much more vigilance.
Not The Best Looking Window
Many storm windows don't look great because they don't always match well with the home. Wood frames can be painted to match the exterior color but then you have the maintenance requirement of painting and the issues of water drainage that can get trapped at the bottom rail (and the sill of the existing window). Most storm windows have weep holes and an aluminum shim on the bottom rail, which is a must to prevent rotting. Vinyl that matches the home is a good option, but not always feasible due to the lack of available frame colors. Aluminum is a good option for an exterior storm because it doesn't have to be the best insulator, but does provide an effective wind break and a breathable air pocket. At the end of the day, this is the make or break for many homeowners - finding a well made storm that looks good with the home.