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    There are several reasons you might be considering replacing your windows and doors, though functionality is likely one of the biggest factors. When old windows and doors no longer open and close easily, you become more vulnerable to weather damage and security issues. 

    Dated windows and doors may also start to look shabby, detracting from your home’s curb appeal. Some old windows develop so much condensation between the panes of glass that it blocks full natural light from coming into the home. No matter your reason for an upgrade, read on for the best door and window brands today, average replacement costs and more.

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      How to choose an installer

      Most homeowners will need an installer for their new doors or windows. To find the best option, ask around — referrals from local friends and neighbors are best because you want an installer familiar with local building codes.

      Here are a few quick tips for finding a good installer:

      • Ask for referrals from friends and neighbors
      • Read customer reviews on sites like ConsumerAffairs
      • Look for affiliations with reputable window and door manufacturers

      Once you’ve narrowed your list, it’s time to ask each installer a few more specific questions:

      • Are they licensed and insured?
      • Have they been trained or certified to install particular brands?
      • How many years of experience do they have installing windows and doors?

      When to replace your windows and doors

      The consensus among installers and manufacturers is that replacement windows last 20 to 30 years. How long yours last depends on a number of factors, including the material they’re made of, weather conditions where you live, how much you use the windows and how well you maintain them. Vinyl windows require the least care and stand up to the harshest cold-weather conditions, but wood windows can last just as long with proper care.

      Exterior doors should also last about 30 years. Yours may last even longer if there’s an overhang protecting it and you keep up with regular maintenance, such as replacing weatherstripping and gaskets. Note that exterior frames need to be replaced more often than the doors — they may need replacing after about 10 years.

      Signs that it’s time for replacement windows and doors include the following:

      • Loss of structural integrity
      • Loss of functionality
      • Notable airflow when closed
      • Shabby appearance
      • Condensation
      • Noise

      Replacing old windows can have multiple benefits. Edie of Michigan lives in a 110-year-old house and told us that seasonal cleaning of her old windows, the classic wood-sash style with metal storm windows, was a real chore.

      “Mainly for my partner, who had become our dedicated window washer,” she said. “Finally, in spring of 2021 I said, that’s it; I’m getting pricing on new windows.”

      The new windows tilt in for easy cleaning, and they have fitted screens to keep insects out during summer months. But the real bonus is that they’re fully functional. “I had never opened a window in the kitchen,” Edie said. “They were painted shut!”

      Types of windows

      Windows come in several different shapes, styles and sizes. Depending on the style of your home and your budget, you may have a specific style of window in mind to fit your home’s aesthetic. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but typical window options on the market today include:

      • Double-hung windows: With two sashes that slide up and down independently, double-hung windows are the most popular type of residential window sold today.
      • Casement windows: Popular on contemporary-style homes, casement windows crank open and are particularly well-suited for hard-to-reach installations, such as in front of a kitchen sink.
      • Bay windows: These windows project from the house at an angle to provide wide-angle views and architectural interest.
      • Bow windows: Projecting out from the house in a gentle arch, bow windows provide a panoramic view of the outdoors.
      • Picture windows: Picture windows are stationary windows that add great views and aesthetic value — but they don’t open. They’re often flanked by narrow casements or double-hung units.
      • Hopper windows: Tilt-in hopper windows are typically installed in basements and crawl spaces. The narrow sash locks at the top and tips in toward the interior when unlatched.

      Window replacement costs

      How much window replacement will cost you depends on lots of variables, so there’s a lot of misleading cost advice out there, according to Andrii Gurskyi of Mr. Glazier, a window replacement company in New York. “Most sources don’t include installation costs,” he said. “This leads to surprise costs for customers.”

      You can expect to see a difference in the cost of standard sizes versus custom sizes.

      “The starting price for a custom window is no less than $400, plus installation costs of a minimum of $350 per window. However, it is important to note that these are just estimates, and homeowners should seek quotes from multiple vendors or contractors for a more accurate cost analysis,” Gurskyi said.

      Whether you go with standard or custom sizes, installation costs are likely to be the same — and they very much depend on the cost of labor in your area. Gurskyi emphasized the huge range in window costs: “Based on average prices in the New York City market provided by contractors, the cost of replacing a single window ranges from $700 to $3,000.”

      Keep in mind that New York City is costlier in general than rural areas due to higher labor, transportation, storage and parking costs. Costs also tend to be higher in places that see severe weather conditions because of the need for sturdier materials and specialized installation techniques, Gurskyi said.

      Other factors that affect the cost of replacement include the window material, style and size. Wooden windows and doors tend to be the most expensive, while vinyl is the most affordable. Edie, the homeowner in Michigan, paid $2,000 (not including installation) for six vinyl windows that were all the same size: 34 inches by 62 inches. She opted for vinyl because she “wanted well-insulated, double-paned, double-hung” windows.

      Types of doors

      Your replacement door options depend in large part on whether you need exterior or interior doors. This likely also affects your total replacement cost.

      Exterior doors

      Exterior doors are typically installed in the front and back of your home. They’re fitted with locks and usually made out of a heavier material than interior doors. Some common types of exterior doors include:

      • Wood-panel doors
      • Solid-core flush exterior doors
      • Stave-core doors
      • Fiberglass exterior doors
      • Glass exterior doors
      • Steel exterior doors

      Interior doors

      Interior doors are installed in doorways. They’re often made out of solid wood with a traditional frame-and-panel design, but lightweight options are also available. Common styles of interior doors include:

      • Solid wood interior doors
      • Solid-core interior doors
      • Hollow-core interior doors
      • Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) doors
      • Laminate interior doors
      • Glass interior doors

      Door replacement costs

      As with window replacement, door replacement costs vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of door, the material and the framing requirements. The cost of replacing a door may range from $900 to $5,000 in the New York metro area, according to Gurskyi, though these numbers are likely on the higher end of the price range due to the city’s costly nature.

      A standard door is 80 inches high and available in three widths: 30, 32 or 36 inches. If the opening you’re buying for is another size, you’ll probably need a custom door and frame. The price you get for a custom door depends mostly on the type of material and the labor costs in your area.


      What kind of windows are the most energy-efficient?

      According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most important factor for energy efficient windows is the glazing. While vintage windows were single-glazed, new replacement windows are available with double- and even triple-glazed options (also referred to as double-pane or triple-pane windows).

      An easy way to make an energy-efficient choice when shopping is to look for the ENERGY STAR label. You may also be eligible for a tax credit after you purchase ENERGY STAR-certified windows and doors.

      Should I replace my windows all at once?

      If you can afford the upfront cost, there are benefits to replacing your windows all at once. If all the windows look the same, your curb appeal is likely to shoot up, and the windows will age at the same rate.

      It will also save you money. The cost of a window replacement project typically includes structural repairs to rotted frames, insulation and waterproofing, and it’s more efficient to tackle these as a single project. Then there’s the disposal of construction debris and other cleanup costs. When you replace windows piecemeal, you pay these costs multiple times.

      If it’s not in the budget to replace windows all at once, break the project up. Replace ground-floor windows in round one and second-story windows a few years later. Or if curb appeal is your goal, do the front windows first. And if only one or two windows are giving you trouble, it might make sense to get a quote from a handyman.

      When is the best time of year to replace my doors?

      If you’re replacing all your windows at once, you might think it’s best to do the job in spring or summer to minimize exposure of your home to the elements.

      Spring and summer are the busiest times for window replacement companies, but professional installers work in all seasons and know how to maximize homeowner comfort by working on one window at a time and sealing off each room they’re working in. Winter is the offseason for window replacement, so you’ll have fewer scheduling conflicts if you wait for the colder months — and you’ll likely see sales and special discounts this time of year.

      Should I hire a company to replace my doors or windows?

      When it comes to window and door replacement, you can pay the company you purchase the window or door from to do the installation, or you can hire a general contractor. The best option for you depends on your project.

      If your replacement windows are the same size as the old windows and if you’re not dealing with major construction issues, such as wood rot or leaks, a window installation company certified by the manufacturer should have the technical expertise to do the job right — plus you can count on the company to return if there’s a problem.

      However, if there are larger construction issues with your home or if you’re changing the configuration of window and door openings, it could make sense to hire a trusted contractor to take care of everything. The main priority is to ensure whatever installer you hire is licensed and insured and has the experience and skills to do the job. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals, check reviews online, and get references before signing a contract.

      Not sure how to choose?

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        Window and door company reviews

        FAS Windows & Doors

        FAS Windows and Doors is the largest volume residential door and window dealer in Florida. It was founded by a father and son team in 2005 and offers both replacement and new construction products.

        • Live chat available: Customers can talk with a specialist through the company's live chat feature while browsing the website to find the products they need.
        • Free Quotes: FAS offers free, fast quotes via their user-friendly website.
        • No installation option: Consumers who plan to use their own contractor to install windows or doors can purchase products without installation services.
        • Hurricane safe: The company focuses on Florida and sells products that meet requirements for hurricane safety.
        • Free in-home consultation: An FAS representative will visit the customer's home to determine which products will best meet their needs prior to purchase.
        • Life-sized models: Consumers can visit showrooms in Orlando or Tampa to see exactly how doors or windows work by opening, closing or walking through life-sized models of various styles and types of these products. Company representatives regularly exhibit at local home and garden shows, providing a relaxed, no-pressure way to view their products.
        Read 262 Reviews
        NewSouth Window Solutions

        NewSouth Window Solutions is run by two former salesmen from Champion Window Manufacturing in Ohio. The company has four locations—Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota, West Palm—and sells factory-direct replacement and new windows and doors throughout Florida.

        • Offers energy-efficient windows: Those who are concerned about the environment can get the latest materials and technology, such as energy-efficient windows and smart home technology.
        • Offers patio doors: Outdoor patios are very common in Florida, consumers can get doors that completely enclose and protect these structures from rain and wind.
        • Factory-trained window installers: NewSouth installs all windows for owners and hires installers that have been factory trained using Florida Building Commission protocols.
        • Weather-resistant products: Owners can purchase doors or windows that are highly resistant to damaging rain, wind or floods.
        • Lifetime warranty: All products sold by NewSouth Window Solutions are backed by a warranty on both materials and installation. Easy financing and multiple-window discounts are available.
        Read 818 Reviews
        Renewal by Andersen

        With locations across the United States, Renewal by Andersen, a division of Anderson Corporation, offers start-to-finish window and door replacement with a focus on energy efficiency.

        • Windows: Renewal by Andersen offers a variety of window styles including picture, sliding, awning, casement and bay. The company also offers 15 different styles of specialty windows with custom options.
        • Patio doors: Renewal by Andersen has several styles of patio doors to choose from including hinged French patio doors and sliding doors. The company offers free consultation with a representative.
        • Product visualizer: Renewal by Andersen’s product visualizer takes a picture of your home and superimposes a custom window over it, allowing you to see how a new window would look before you purchase.
        • Mobile app: The company’s mobile app generates a 3D model of your home based on pictures you upload. You can then visualize different styles of windows all around your home.
        Read 2046 Reviews

        Milgard has been building doors and windows for over 50 years. It has certified dealers in 18 western U.S. states, including Hawaii and Alaska as well as in Alberta, and British Columbia, Canada. The company prides itself on personalized customer service by offeringface-to-face and online guidance to consumers.

        Read 2610 Reviews
        Home Depot Windows & Doors

        With more than 2,000 locations, Home Depot  an established do-it-yourself home-improvement store  with a vast inventory.

        Read more about Home Depot Windows & Doors

        Pella has a 90-year history of designing and building high-quality, energy-efficient windows and doors. The company has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Energy Star Partner of the Year nine times, most recently in 2016.

        Read more about Pella
        Andersen Windows

        The Andersen Corporation is the largest door and window manufacturer in the United States. The company has been in business since 1903.

        • Wide product offering: Andersen designs and manufacturers an extensive line of high-performance, energy-efficient windows and doors. It has four brands: Andersen vinyl-clad wood windows and patio doors; Renewal by Andersen, a line of low-maintenance replacement windows; Silver Line vinyl windows and patio doors; and American Craftsman vinyl windows and doors, which are sold exclusive through Home Depot.
        • Sells internationally: Andersen sells windows in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America as well as in the United States.
        • Large online library: Customers can read about how to choose the right products, how to install them and more on the company's website.
        • Trains installers: Consumers must contract separately with third parties for installation, and Andersen offers certification in installing its products. The only exception is for Renewal replacement windows, which are installed by Andersen’s own group of highly trained contractors.
        • Lots of options: Owners who want to create a custom look can easily mix and match shapes, materials and sizes from the large catalog of available windows.
        • Online parts store: Owners who want to repair or replace windows and doors can find and purchase parts online through this company's website.
        Read 674 Reviews
        Ryan Windows & Siding

        Established in 1991, Ryan Windows and Siding is a family-owned business that serves customers in the greater southeast Minnesota region.

        Read more about Ryan Windows & Siding
        Kolbe Windows and Doors

        Kolbe Windows and Doors was founded in 1946 by brothers Herb and Ervin Kolbe, who were Wisconsin dairy farmers. Working out of their mother’s washhouse, they began repairing broken window frames and building new window sashes. Today, the company has grown into an international window and door company with seven locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado.

        Read more about Kolbe Windows and Doors

        Article sources
        ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
        1. U.S. Department of Energy, “ Window Types and Technologies .” Accessed March 20, 2023.
        2. U.S. Department of Energy, “ ENERGY STAR .” Accessed March 20, 2023.

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