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What is the cost to Replace Sliding Glass Door with a Window?

Sliding glass doors were all the rage in the later years of the 20th century but now they have become tired and old-fashioned. Replacing sliding glass doors with a window is one option but what are the costs?

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Essentially, replacing glass doors with a window is costly as it is essentially an oversized window and there will be other expenses like making good the walls. This will be reflected in the labor charges.

Typical Window Replacement Costs Price per Window
Average window replacement cost $200 - $1,800
National average window replacement cost $100 - $650
Average labor costs $100 - $300
Install French Doors $400
Labor estimate to install French Doors $75 - $180 per door

A good rule of thumb would be to double or triple the cost and treat the project as if you were installing two or three windows to fill the space.

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What factors affect the cost of replacing a sliding glass door with a new window?

There are lots of different considerations and factors which will impact the cost of a new window in place of a sliding glass door. Here are some of the things to think about:-

  • The size of the new window
  • The style of the window
  • How complex the design is and the window openings
  • Labor charges to remove the old door and install the new window frame plus any making good
  • Construction work to make the opening smaller to fit your choice of window design if required
  • The disposal costs of the old sliding door
  • Charges for permits
  • Third party costs, for instance, scaffolding for first floor access if the sliding doors led from a bedroom to a balcony
  • Zip code – costs vary hugely across the States and even within a state or smaller regional area

Reducing the costs of replacing sliding glass doors with a window

The biggest hit when thinking about replacing sliding glass doors with an oversized window or several windows is the sheer space that you need to fill.

It is an option to cost out the expense of filling in some of the area with a solid wall so essentially making the space smaller or by inserting skinny walls as a feature between separate window units.

You will need to work with a good builder or window designer who can cost up a range of different options.

Using cheaper materials and/or glazing can reduce the cost as can removing glazing layers so going from quadruple to just triple glazing or from triple glazing to double glazing.

Good thermally insulated glass is expensive, but it will save you money on your energy costs keeping the room cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Large windows which fill the space left by sliding doors will not benefit from cheaper glazing or glass which is not well insulated. The room will become a complete cooker in the summer and freezing in the winter with such a large, thermally inefficient window.

Window grants

Some windows attract grants if the glazing and the frame materials are energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions from the house. There are some key points to understand about window grants and these are:-

  • Grants are available at federal, state and local level
  • Your window installer may not know about all the grants that could be available so don’t rely on them – do your own research
  • Not all window types and designs attract energy efficient grants
  • Not all schemes which are designed to improve household energy usage will include windows
  • The scheme is not likely to pay for the entire cost of the window
  • You may have to pay all of the charges upfront and then claim back from the scheme with a receipted invoice
  • Some grant schemes are only aimed at low-income families and people who are retired
  • Eligibility does not guarantee acceptance if the scheme is full or exhausted and out of funds
  • Some grants will add restrictions to what you can do with the property and if you breach these then you may need to repay the money. Typically, these revolve around improving the house with new windows and then selling it on
  • Always read the small print and don’t rely on your window installer or builder’s summary of the scheme

A good place to research any schemes or grants which may help with the cost of a new window is online. Local community forums or hubs on socials can signpost small schemes that sometimes get missed however, most window contractors are pretty au fait with what’s out there. New windows are not cheap, and any free money can help to persuade a customer to sign on the dotted line. However, don’t rely on your window contractor to know about every last scheme – do your own research to make sure you don’t miss out.

What are the advantages of filling in the space with a solid wall to make the new window smaller?

The actual window will be much cheaper to install because it will be smaller although you will need to offset the building costs of creating a new wall and the internal decoration.

Within the room, this can create more wall space for furniture or storage units, and it can be an opportunity to completely revamp the interior for a new look or layout.

How to fund the cost of replacing a sliding glass door with a window

If you are planning some refurbishment or renovation, then your replacement window may just be one element of a new scheme you have planned for improvements at home.

Many people raise funds for expensive improvements via their mortgage company if they have enough equity in their property and can demonstrate that they will be able to afford the higher monthly repayments.

It is also a possibility to re-mortgage elsewhere with a new lender which can release capital funds and capture a better interest rate.

Many window contractors are hooked up with third party finance companies and can offer funding subject to status. Their rates are not always the most competitive, so it pays to shop around. This also will not help if this new window in place of sliding doors is only a small element of an otherwise non-window related project.

What is the best window design to choose?

This is dictated to some degree by personal taste and the style of the house. A window to replace sliding glass doors is generally classified as an oversized window however, there is a skill in filling in such a large space with something aesthetically pleasing, functional and practical. There are lots of different options but here are some key points to consider:-

  • Do you want the window as basically a wall of glass like a big picture window or do you want to be able to open it?
  • Do you need wall breaks to help support the window due to the size of the opening?
  • If you want the window/s to open at different points, where and how?
  • Uninterrupted glass so a picture window will need a careful choice of glazing to regulate hot and cold temperatures, and this could also require a tint to manage the problem of too much light

One sensible option is two double-hung casements either side and a picture window in the middle. However, these will still be very tall as most sliding doors are fitted floor to ceiling so you could consider some building works to reduce the height and/or width of the aperture.

Is there a compromise or blend between a door and a window design?

There are other alternatives to sliding doors which act as a compromise, they are more window in design so can provide the look you want but still give you all the advantages of a door or doors you can open.

Bi-fold doors – these open to one side usually in two halves, they are sometimes called accordion doors as they fold into pleats similar to the musical instrument. They can be glazed and paned to give the appearance of a window and the accordion style offers lots of different options for part opening in terms of ventilation and access.

French doors – actually, French windows, these have a very traditional look and are the perfect combo between a window and a door. Simple in design, they are usually two leaves and swing out from the center line. If the space left by the previous sliding doors is very large, consider a double set of French windows split by a skinny wall, the symmetry and style can look really effective.

Dutch doors – sometimes also called stable doors, these are two doors split in the middle and allow separate opening of the top and bottom parts, so they are really versatile particularly if you have got pets. The bottom section can be solid or glazed depending on preference. Dutch doors are narrow and more door than window so you will need building works to reduce the aperture as the original sliding doors will have been much wider.

How to find the best window installer

Replacing glass sliding doors with a new window can be a fairly straightforward task which a competent and experienced window installer will be able to handle. However, if you are going for a very complex design or you want to fill in the aperture to make it smaller, then you will probably need a builder. If you are not sure, then you should obtain quotes from both as this will help you to decide what is the best design for your home and your budget.

Start by asking around friends, family and neighbors for a recommendation. You can use forums and groups on social media but some people just suggest their friends or family so try and filter the responses, so you only consider contractors who have actually done work for the person recommending them.

There are lots of online platforms which will take a few details and then bring up a suggested list of window installers in your area who may be able to help you. Some of these are just glorified advertising portals but others can really provide a good starting point in your quest for a good window contractor. Try for free no obligation quotes from window fitters in your area.

Checkout this video which gives you a sense of the work involved n replacing your door with a window:

 Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any drawbacks of replacing a sliding glass door with a window?

Sliding doors are usually considered a home feature and this is because they increase light and visibility and normally offer access to the garden or a patio area. Losing this feature can be disadvantageous unless it is carefully planned. A large replacement window can seem to tempt with a lovely view but there is no access to the great outdoors. Remember why sliding doors were put there in the first place. A folding door or French window can be a good compromise because access to the outdoors is retained and they give the appearance of a window when closed with a softer and better design aesthetic – the best of both worlds. There are so many different door/window combi designs that you are bound to be able to find one that suits your taste and your budget, and which can upgrade outdated sliding doors to give your home a fresh new look.

How can you cover the window to protect privacy?

Depending on what you opt for, there are plenty of options within the curtains and blinds sector to ensure privacy when you want it. Gone are the days of one long floor to ceiling curtain on a straight pole which was traditionally used to cover glass sliding doors. When you consider the design of the window you want, always spare a thought for how you will cover what is potentially a pretty large window otherwise you could end up having to choose something which really spoils the effect.

Do you need planning permission to change glass sliding doors for a new window?

Not usually as the impact in terms of privacy and the appearance of the property largely remain the same. If you are thinking of installing a pair of bay windows or bow windows which will abut and not sit flush with the wall then it might be worth checking first that this installation is not infringing any local regulations.