Is It Cheaper to Replace All Your Windows at Once?

A full house window replacement costs tens of thousands of dollars. This is probably months or even years worth of savings.

Maybe only a few of your windows need replacing, but the people you’ve called for estimates say it’ll be more cost-effective to replace the whole house at once.

Is that true? Is it actually cheaper to do a full house window replacement instead of fixing the windows that are broken?

As a quick aside: A full house window replacement means to replace every single window in your house at the same time. A partial window replacement means to replace only a few windows.

Replacing all of your windows at once will save you money and time in the long run because you only need to pay for labor, installation, and warranty once. However, if you don’t have the budget for it, it doesn’t make sense to force yourself into doing a full house window replacing.

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Should You Replace All Your Windows at Once?

So let’s say you’ve looked at all of your finances, and your savings account looks good. You can replace all of your windows at once, but should you?

These are two very different things. Being able to do something versus it actually making sense to do it.

At the end of the day, it is your home, your budget, and your project. This article is meant to help you make that decision but not force you into any situation that you don’t want to be in.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the benefits of replacing all of your windows at one time.

First of all, there is a time when it makes sense to replace all of your windows. Look for the following signs.

Signs You Should Replace Your Windows

If your current windows fall into any of these categories below, then it will be beneficial to do a full house window replacement. That way, you can get all of the benefits of better sound reduction, better energy efficiency, and just better everything when it comes to windows.

Window technology has come a long way since your original home windows were installed.

All of Your Windows Are Single-Pane Windows

Single-pane windows were common and even the standard in the 1990s. Nowadays, however, double-pane and triple-pane windows are taking over.

Why?

They are packed full of features such as argon gas and low E coating that improve your quality of life.

Single-pane windows are outdated. At their age, they probably are not doing anything for your home other than providing a physical barrier between the inside and outside of your home.

They’re acting more like glass bug screens that block out a bit of wind. They probably also have air leaks and damaged seals too, which all contribute to poor insulation.

For more information on single-pane vs double-pane vs triple-pane windows, the linked article will highlight the differences as well as pros and cons.

Your Windows Are Over 20 Years Old

Whether you have double-pane or single-pane windows, if they are over 20 years old, it is time.

Windows have a lifespan of about 15-20 years, depending on the features and maintenance that went into them throughout their lifespan.

With windows this old, you probably are experience warped glass, broken seals, argon gas leaks, and more.

The next time you do a window replacement, you’ll get another 15-20 years out of them.

If you divide the total cost of the full house window replacement by the lifespan of windows, it’ll come out to about $1000 a year. Not too bad for all of the benefits, including:

  • Better air circulation
  • Easier to open windows
  • Lower energy bills
  • Better sound reduction
  • Better energy efficiency
  • More beautiful modern home

You Get Condensation In Your Windows

Condensation is completely normal on single-pane windows because there is a single piece of glass. As we mentioned before, if you have single-pane windows, getting a window replacement is totally worth it.

If you have double-pane windows and start seeing condensation between the two panes of glass, this is a problem.

You can use this guide to prevent and reduce condensation in your home. If none of these things work, it might be time to consider talking to window experts to see why this is happening.

Repeated condensation in your windows leads to unwanted moisture, mold, and mildew in your windows and walls. This is a problem for your house.

Your Windows Don’t Open

Every state has laws that require that you have a window that can open and close in every room in your house that can lead outside.

This is for your own safety and your family’s safety.

If your windows are not working as intended, or if it’s super hard to open them. this is another reason to replace these windows.

If you only have one or two that won’t open, this doesn’t warrant a full house windows replacement. Sometimes, it makes sense to only do a partial project. We’ll discuss that in the next section.

When Should You Replace Only a Few Windows?

So we’ve talked about the signs where doing a full house window replacement makes sense. But what about when it doesn’t?

Here are signs to look for when you only need a couple of windows replaced. You’ll be doing what they call in the industry a partial project.

Your Windows are Obviously Broken

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Do you look at your window and see broken glass? There are obvious signs to replace just a few windows.

This includes:

  • Broken glass
  • Water leak
  • Warped frame
  • Window isn’t opening
  • Broken window lock

If your windows don’t fit into any of the “Signs You Should Replace Your Windows,” but they still have issues, then it makes sense to just work on those windows.

If you have a small project, don’t hire a full professional window company. Instead, look for professional handymen or local contractors that have done window replacements before.

If you have smaller problems, such as air leaks, broken seals, less energy efficient windows, it might just mean your windows are getting old. In this case, it makes sense to get all of your windows inspected.

Gradual Approach Vs All At Once for Replacing Windows

So which one makes more sense for you? Doing gradual partial projects year after year as needed or all at once?

The answer is that “it depends.” Frustrating, I know. Like all things in life, there is no black or white answer. No right or wrong.

You’ll have to look at your budget, your constraints, and talk to your family about what decision makes more sense for you.

Doing a full house window replacement can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is a HUGE investment for windows. Are you planning on staying in your home for many years to come? Are there issues that need immediate attention?

The All At Once Approach

The all at once approach means you are doing it ALL. Yep, you’ll get a professional window company to come give you estimates, measure your windows, and then do it all in 1-3 days.

By the end of the project, you’ve got completely new windows all around.

For some, that may be 10 windows. For others, it might be over 30. It depends on the home, of course.

The benefits for this approach include:

  • More cost savings in the long run, over a long period of time
  • A full transformation for your home
  • Getting windows that all match each other
  • Doing the whole “contractor” thing just once instead of dealing with multiple crews and companies

When you do it all at once, you’re likely to get better warranty on the supplies and labor, since you’re going with one big company instead of 5 small ones.

Many large window companies also offer discounts for full house projects. To them, you’re helping them keep their crews busy with less down time. This means they can afford to give you more discounts.

You also contact contractors and companies just once. This lets you get all of the estimates within a short window of time. If you’re great at negotiating, you can use one estimate to bring the next one down.

If you’re looking at a very specific company, it’s smart to get multiple estimates and see how you can negotiate with the salesperson using the lower estimates.

And last, your home gets a complete makeover. All at once. It’s like walking into a store and coming out with an entirely new outfit instead of just another accessory to wear.

All of your windows will match each other with the same quality of installation done for each one. Your neighbors will look at your house and ask, “Did you get all of your windows done? It looks really good.”

And of course, if you’re investing this much into your home, hopefully you plan on living in it for a really long time afterwards.

If none of these benefits speak to you, it may be better to do the gradual approach.

The Gradual Approach

Unlike the all at once approach, the gradual approach means you do parts of your home at a time.

Maybe you prioritize the broken windows first. Maybe you do the front, then the sides, then the back of the home. The options are endless, well… not really. There’s not very many options.

The biggest downside to the gradual approach is that you don’t get the full house benefits that come with upgraded windows like:

  • Better sound reduction
  • Better energy efficiency
  • Better air circulation

Most of these benefits come with full house window replacements.

But you do save money in the short term! Each project will be smaller, which gives you more time to budget for each one.

Instead of paying tens of thousands one time, you are splitting up the projects into more manageable chunks.

There are downsides, however. These include having to talk to multiple contractors, getting estimates over and over again, negotiating over and over again, and having people in your home working on your windows multiple times.

I don’t know about you, but to me, this is a big hassle and an interrupter of my life.

So at the end of the day, it’s up to you. I’ve seen it done plenty of ways. Both work.

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